Ordinary Wizarding Levels or O.W.L.s are the examinations that students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry typically take in their fifth year. Each O.W.L. exam is on a specific subject that the student has been studying. For each subject the student takes both a theory exam (with a written paper) and a practical exam. At the end of their exams each student is given a grade for each O.W.L. that they took, and this grade determines whether they can go on to the harder, more advanced level of N.E.W.T.s.
Pass Grades, in order from highest to lowest:
- Outstanding (O)
- Exceeds Expectations (E)
- Acceptable (A)
Fail Grades, in order from highest to lowest:
- Poor (P)
- Dreadful (D)
- Troll (T)
 Compulsory O.W.L.s
When students arrive at Hogwarts they take the following classes straight away and are not allowed to drop their subjects until after their O.W.L.s:
 Optional O.W.L.s
During the students' second year at Hogwarts, they have the option of choosing further subjects to study in their third year until their O.W.L. exams. The typical number of additional subjects taken seems to be two, however there is no limit and it is possible for students to take 12 O.W.L. subjects in total.
 Known Results
 Exam Procedure
The examiners for O.W.L.s are brought in from outside the school by the Wizarding Examinations Authority. Griselda Marchbanks was the head of the Authority when Harry Potter's year took their exams, and Tofty was another examiner.
The theory exams are taken inside the Great Hall at Hogwarts. A large number of magical items are banned from the exams, including Auto-Answer Quills, Remembralls, Detachable Cribbing Cuffs and Self-Correcting Ink. A teacher starts the exam by turning over a large hourglass.