Guide To University Grading System For International Students – UniScholars


Most universities and colleges worldwide use a variation of a university grading system scale ranging from 0 to 100, a letter grade from A to F, or a percentage from 0 to 10. For example, The United Kingdom’s system uses a first-class mark, the United States uses letters, and the Swiss and Germans use numbers from 1 to 6. Let’s dive deep into this system to have a better understanding.

What are the Different Types of Grading Systems?

Several distinct grading systems meet international standards. There are seven distinct categories:

  1. Grading Percentage– from 0 to 100 %.
  2. Variations and Letter Grading  – Grade A to Grade F.
  3. Standard-referenced Grading – Standardised evaluation of students by comparing them with assigned letter grades.
  4. Grading students as “masters” or “passers” until they attain a set standard of proficiency. 
  5. Common Scale– Pass or Fail 
  6. Absolute Standards of Grading (Rating of Expectations) – The evaluation of student success in relation to a predetermined level of performance.
  7. Narrative Grading – Reporting on learners’ progress

Global Grading system 

US University Grading System

When contemplating studying in a different country, most people immediately think of the United States. 

  • Not many people realise that the minus and plus signs next to an A, B, C, etc., also factor into the final grade in the US university grading system, which has traditionally relied on GPAs and letters disguised as grades. 
  • By dividing the entire number of grade points by the total number of credit hours, the GPA can be between 0.0 and 4.0. 

Let us look at the chart featuring the American university grading system to understand it better.

Letter Grade GPA Percentage
A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.7 90-92
B+ 3.3 87-89
B 3.0 83-86
B- 2.7 80-82
C+ 2.3 77-79
C 2.0 73-76
C- 1.7 70-72
D+ 1.3 67-69
D 1.0 63-66
D- 0.7 60-62
F 0.0 Below 60

UK Grading System

The UK ranking scheme is one of the world’s most powerful systems. The university grading system of the UK is universally accepted. 

In the UK, your final overall result is calculated after completing your coursework and assessments.

First-class honours at graduation are rare and prestigious, but second-class honours are the norm and yet well appreciated. The following table provides a detailed analysis of the evaluation criteria: 

Grade Percentage Grade Definition Honours Degree Foundation Degree
A 70% – 100% Excellent to Outstanding First Distinction
B 60% – 69% Good to Very Good Upper Second (2:1) Merit
C 50% – 59% Satisfying Lower Second (2:2) Pass
D 40% – 49% Sufficient Third 3 Pass
E 30% – 39% Unsatisfactory Fail Fail
F 0 – 29% Unsatisfactory Fail Fail

Australia Grading System

Australia, like Canada, has a regionally distinct grading system. While local grading systems vary, the most frequent kind of assessment shares commonalities across countries. 

Let’s check out the most popular method used down under.

Grade Scale Scale 2 Description Division US Grade
HD 7.00 83.00 – 100.00 High Distinction (A+) A+ A+
D 6.00 – 6.99 73.00 – 82.99 Distinction (A) Second Class, Upper Division A
C 5.00 – 5.99 63.00 – 72.99 Credit (B)Second  Lower Division B
P 4.00 – 4.99 50.00 – 62.99 Pass (C) Pass (C)Third Class C
N 0.00 – 3.99 0.00 – 49.99 Fail F

In addition to the grading mentioned above scales, you may also see other types of grades in university, such as 

  • NGP (Non-Graded Pass): for when a qualitative rather than quantitative grade is desired; 
  • NGF (Non-Graded Fail): for when a qualitative rather than quantitative grade is desired; 
  • F1 (Pass Conceded): if your grade is between 53% and 55%. 

Canada Grading System

Canada has one of the most unique grading systems, and it differs by province or territory. Therefore, finding the province or territory you wish to study in is an important first step before making any study plans. Depending on the university’s location, it uses both a letter grade system and a numerical grade system. 

Each province or territory in Canada can implement its evaluation method. University grades in Canada range from A+ to F, or from 9.00 to 1.00, on either a numeric or letter scale. 

Check out these tables to see how various Canadian provinces and territories grade applicants:

British Columbia

Grade Percentage (%)
A 86-100
B 73-85
C+ 67-72
C 60-66
C- 50-59
F 0-49
I (Incomplete assignments) 0-49
W The student dropped out of class during the semester.
P Despite eligibility, the student’s grades are currently unavailable.


GPA Description Equivalent Letter Grade
4.5 Exceptional A+
4.0 Excellent A
3.5 Very Good B+
3 Good B
2.5 Satisfactory C+
2 Adequate C
1 Marginal D
0 Failure F


Letter Grade Grade Points Approximate Percentage
A+ 4.3 90-100%
A 4.0 85-89%
A- 3.7 80-84%
B+ 3.3 75-79%
B 3.0 70-74%
B- 2.7 65-69%
C+ 2.3 60-64%
C 2.0 55-59%
C- 1.7 50-54%

Netherlands Grading System

In the Netherlands, grades range from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the lowest possible grade and 10 the highest. 

Grade  Percentage
0-1 0-5%
2 5-15%
3 15-25%
4 25-35%
5 35-45%
6 45-55%
7 55-65%
8 65-75%
9 75-85%
10 85-100%

**Note** – A grade of 8 or higher is similar to a 4.0 in most American countries because grades of 9 and 10 are rarely given in the Netherlands.

These scholastic marks have a corresponding percentage value at the university level:

  • 1 means 0-5% correct 
  • 2 means 5-15% correct 
  • 3 means 15-25% correct 
  • 10 means 95-100% correct 

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

Extra decimals (7.5 or 9.49) or fractions (+ or -), each representing a quarter, could also be used.

  • The cutoff for passing is 5.5 (5.4 is failing). 
  • 6 if you don’t round up (5 is Fail)

Spain Grading System

Spain likewise uses a 1-10 scale for its grading system. However, instead of a percentage, a German term has been associated with each of the numbers.

Number Spanish Word & Its Meaning
0-4.9 Suspenso (Fail)
5-6.9 Aprobado  (Approved / Pass)
7-8.9 Notable (Good / Remarkable)
9-9.9 Sobresaliente (Outstanding) 
10 Matrícula de Honor ( Honorary)

The University grading system in Spain utilises a 10-point scale that can be expressed as a percentage. These academic marks can be used to determine a final class standing. Here are a few examples:

University Grades Description in Spanish Grade Conversion
10 with distinction Matrícula de Honor 4
9 – 10 Sobresaliente 3
7 – 8.9 Notable 2
5 – 6.9 Aprobado 1
0 – 4.9 Suspenso 0

Features of a Good University Grading System 

The following is a list of characteristics that can assist us in determining which types of university grading system have the potential to be regarded as “good.”

  1. Students, parents, and educators benefit from an open, transparent grading system.
  2. A good grading system provides uniformity and fairness in evaluating student performance, just as in any other aspect of life.
  3. For the system to be fair, it must be able to identify which students have unique needs or are struggling academically.
  4. Parents and teachers can determine whether students require learning or behavioural support using a good grading system, which measures academic progress separately from character traits and behaviours.
  5. Grading systems that are effective don’t demotivate students. Instead, they enable them to understand their aptitudes, and they can excel in both academics and the real world.


Before taking up higher education at an overseas university, it’s important to understand the courses and university grading system. After that, you must prepare documents such as a statement of purpose [SOP] and meet the requirements for admission. Many students give up midway through the application process since it requires dedication and guidance. Once you familiarise yourself with the university grading system, you can make informed decisions about your education and work towards achieving your desired grades.

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