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Pre-U is a relatively new qualification, born in 2008 and regulated by the University of Cambridge International Examinations, it already has a large number of secondary education providers switching to Pre-U from A-Level.


Well there are a number of reasons. Firstly, universities want to see ‘better equipped’ students, with a more independent style of learning. 140 universities across Britain now accept Pre-U. These include Cardiff, Durham, Imperial and Newcastle University. Secondly, unlike A-Levels the Pre-U grading scale is divided into three separate bands; Pass, Merit and Distinction. In fact a D1 grade (Distinction 1) extends beyond the A* grade, i.e it carries more merit.


A mixture of private independent, grammar and comprehensive schools and sixth-form colleges are offering Pre-U. Schools including Oundle, Dulwich, Watford Grammar, Charterhouse and Westminster. The general consensus amongst these Schools is that A-Levels are becoming devalued, especially when universities are considering applicants. Universities are looking for a new avenue to pick the top students. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Universities to distinguish between two students who have the same A-Level results. Personal statements of course help, a good personal statement is key. But results are more important and the introduction of the Pre-U examinations could be what the Universities will start to use to separate similarly graded students.

The Pre-U course helps to prepare students for University ‘better’ than A-Levels do.

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