UK grading system

Can anyone explain to me the UK grading system fully compared to that of Canada’s (which is basically percentage and letter grade). I tried looking everywhere on the internet and can’t find anything.

I’m applying to dental schools and I don’t understand the whole A level/O level thing (what is AAB compared to BBC?) Are those supposed to be the number of letter grades? If so, are they for high school or post-secondary? I have my BSc so I would be looking for a university equivalent.

You guys are smart people (hopefully well travelled), so if someone could explain it to me completely and fully it would be greatly appreciated.


Dental schools in the UK admit you straight from high school - it’s not a postgraduate degree. A levels are the public examinations which school leavers take at around age 18. If they’re looking for AAB it means they expect you to score a grade A in two subjects, and a grade B in a third subject.

I’m not sure how professional schools in the UK like dentistry, medicine and law compare applicants from the US who already have bachelor’s degrees with applicants from the UK, who are schoolleavers. Perhaps best to contact the school concerned?

A-levels (and AS-levels) are optional secondary pre-university qualifications. School pupils can choose to take them after completing their GCSE exams at 16. Most who do take 3-4 A-level topics for two years, and the results are graded with letters.

University admissions boards usually specify grade requirements as a general requirement (e.g. AAB), a points requirement (e.g. 18 points, where A = 6 and so on) or a more specific mix – e.g. some degrees require A in maths and B-grades in any other subject.

The best thing you can do is contact one of the institutes in question - they will most likely have dealt with issue before (after all - they will have had students from abroad before) so should be able to give you some very clear, no-nonsense advice.

Thanks guys. I appreciate your answers and advice.