Definition of O level in English:

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O level


1 [mass noun] (In the UK except Scotland) a qualification in a specific subject formerly taken by school students aged 14-16, at a level below A level. It was replaced in 1988 by the GCSE.
Example sentences
  • I myself did not know much about the People's Charter until I studied for my O level economic and social history examination.
  • ‘My only academic achievement after leaving school was in 1969, when I gained an O level in English at Shipley College at the age of 23,’ said Mr Walsh.
  • Maybe I'm wrong - I did fail my maths O level in 1975, but since then I have learned to use a calculator.
1.1 [count noun] An O-level exam or pass.
Example sentences
  • When GCSEs were introduced, the O-level pass was phased out and replaced by a ‘near miss’ score, grade N. Grade F was also replaced by a grade U (ungraded).
  • The fourth is Enhanced Child Relief for a working mother with 3 GCE O level passes in one sitting.
  • It requires three GCE O-level passes in one sitting.


1940s: short for ordinary level.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: O level

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