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7 University Grading Systems Around The World

If you’re an international student, you will definitely meet students with different certificates. Some higher than yours and others lower than yours. Therefore, it is important to understand the grading systems around the world.

Many universities require a specific GPA for new students, see below different grading scales accepted internationally.

We have made out time to compile the different Grading Systems around the World and these International Grading System depend on the institution and sometimes on the faculty of the institution.

Since 1785, when one professor at Yale wrote in his notebook that 58 of his seniors were Optima, second Optima, Inferiores, and Pejores, the school wasn’t the same again.

With grades or ranks noting how good your work is, quantitatively or qualitatively, there’s no wonder a certain consensus wasn’t developed between all 196 countries. Heck, there isn’t even a consensus if there are 196 countries, even.

But have no fear: we’re here! Centralizing and managing to categorize the Grading Systems around the World of some of the most popular international destinations for students, we hope to give you an insight into how institutions and professors will grade your awesome papers and thesis.

Although this guide was current at the time of posting, please remember to consult your local department of education and/or homeschool group for the most up-to-date grading standards for your country, state, or city.

Remember, if your student wishes to go to college, the standard you must ultimately meet is that of the college admissions department. It’s important to plan ahead for success.

Below are the different Grading Systems around the World with their different International Grading System or grade scales: Grading System in the USA, German Grading System, and so on.

Grading Scales from 1 to 10

Grading System in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the most sought-after countries for international students, be if for Bachelor’s degrees or for Master’s. Tuition fees are low, the disciplines are diverse and the city life is… well, it’s very Dutch.

The International Grading System follows a basic 1 – 10 scale, with one being the worst and 10 being the most you can get. The grades can also correspond to a percentage equivalency, meaning that:

  • 1 – 0-5% correct;
  • 2 – 5-15% correct;
  • 3 – 15-25% correct;
  • 10 – 95-100% correct.

Additional decimals could be used (7.5 or 9.49, if your teacher is a sadist), or fractions, like + or -, which means a quarter.

Also, passing grades are as follows:

  • 5.5: the passing border (5.4 is a fail);
  • 6: if no decimals are used (5 is a fail).

Grading System in Spain

Like the Netherlands, Spain uses a 10-point system, that can be converted into percentages. These grades can be translated into ranks. For instance:

  • 10 with distinction: “Matrícula de Honor” (Honorary);
  • 9 – 10: “Sobresaliente” (Outstanding);
  • 7 – 8.9: “Notable” (Remarkable);
  • 5 – 6.9: “Aprobado” (Pass);
  • 0 – 4.9: “Suspenso” (Fail).

These grades will be converted in the transcript of records according to this list:

  • “Matrícula de Honor”: 4;
  • “Sobresaliente”: 3;
  • “Notable”: 2;
  • “Aprobado”: 1.

Grading Scales from 1 to 6

The Grading System in Germany

If a slightly terrifying teacher comes to your desk and throws a paper with a 1 on it, saying “Sehr gut!”, don’t complain. Firstly, because they feed on anger and you’re only making him stronger, second: it means you did really well. The grades look like this:

  • 1 or 1-: Very Good;
  • 2+, 2 or 2-: Good;
  • 3+, 3 or 3-: Satisfactory;
  • 4+ or 4: Sufficient;
  • 4-, 5+, 5, 5-: Below Requirements;
  • 6: Fail.

Grading System in Switzerland

Yeah, Switzerland doesn’t fall far from the European Founders tree. The grading system is between 1 and 6, with 4 as the passing mark. The grades are as follows:

  • 6 – Excellent;
  • 5.5 – Very good;
  • 5 – Good;
  • 4.5 – Relatively good (e.n.: also known as the passive-aggressive grade);
  • 4 – Pass;
  • 3.5 – Fail;
  • 3 – Poor;
  • 2.5 – Very poor;
  • 2 – Extremely poor;
  • 1 – No performance;
  • 0 – Absence without good cause, cheating or attempt to cheat.

Miscellaneous Grading Systems

Grading System in the U.K.

The United Kingdom has a very specific grading system. Using Honours, letters, and certain percentages, that’s additional to the GPA, the U.K. has its own conversion scheme, which we looked at separately.

But, as a rough guide, you should know that you can finish a Bachelor’s degree in the U.K. with:

  • First-class honors – typically 70% or higher;
  • Second-class honors, upper-division – typically 60 – 69%;
  • Second-class honors, lower division – typically 50 – 59%;
  • Third-class honors – typically 40 – 49%;
  • Without honors – awarded an ordinary degree, sometimes known as a “pass”.

Grading systems outside Europe

Grading System in Australia

Ok, so. Australia is special. Universities here use two grading systems, both letter-based. The most common structure you will find is ordered like this, from the best to the worst:

  • HD (High Distinction, not high definition), which means 85% or above;
  • D (Distinction; stop giggling), which means 75 to 84%;
  • Cr (Credit), equal to 65 to 74%;
  • P (Pass): equal to 50 to 64%;
  • F (Fail): equal to 49% or under, which means: get out!

Seeing how Australia can’t stray from the Empire, is also adopted the United Kingdom’s marking system, which translates to:

  • H1 (First Class Honours): 80% or above;
  • H2A (Second Class Honours – A Division): 75 – 79%;
  • H2B (Second Class Honours – B Division): 70 – 74%;
  • H3 (Third Class Honours): 65 – 69%;
  • P (Pass): 50 – 64%;
  • N (Fail): below 50%.

But wait, there’s more! You can also encounter special grades, like:

  • NGP (Non-Graded Pass), for when it’s important to have a quality grade, not quantitative;
  • NGP (Non-Graded Fail), for when it’s important to have a quality grade, not quantitative;
  • F1 (Pass Conceded): if your grade is between 53 and 55%.

And, now, for another country… Just kidding! Australia also has GPAs (Grade Point Averages). This grading system is most known from the U.S., but in Australia is quite rare, used mostly in the selection for entry courses for Medicine or Law.

The most common formula for an Australian GPA is: Sum of (grade points x course unit values) / total number of credit points attempted, with the grades being converted in numbers like this:

  • High Distinction = 7;
  • Distinction = 6;
  • Credit = 5;
  • Pass = 4;
  • Fail level 1 = 1;
  • Fail level 2 = 0.

As a quick and easy guide, GPAs mean:

  • High Distinction: 4.0
  • Distinction: 3.0
  • Credit: 2.0
  • Pass: 1.0

Grading System in the USA

The U.S. has a long history of GPAs and letters under the guise of grades, but not many people know that the – and the + next to an A, B, C, etc. has a ponder on the final grade, as well.

The GPA, with its formula of dividing the total sum of grade points to the number of credit hours, can range from 0.0 to 4.0.

And that’s the only sneak-peak we will give you because the U.S grading system merits an in-depth analysis all on its own.

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