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A* required for top universities

Following the leap in UCAS applications this year more universities will be raising the entry requirements to their institutions.

The coalition have proposed plans to alter the admissions procedure to avoid relying on predicted exam results.

A* grades are being required by some of the UK's leading universities to secure a place on some of their most competitive courses.

Four universities, Imperial College London, University College London, Warwick University and Cambridge University implemented the grade as part of their entry requirements.

The A* Grade was introduced last year to help distinguish exceptional students after more than a quarter of A-level students were awarded an A grade. Students must achieve an average of at least 90 per cent across their A2 examinations to secure the top grade.

Last this month, Cambridge announced that its standard offer would be A*AA for 2011 entry. The University of Oxford will also be asking for A* grades for most of its science and maths courses. Both universities will require at least two A* to study combined degrees in maths and philosophy. Bristol, Exeter and Sussex will also demand A* grades for entry to some of their courses.