Curious About the UK Grading System 2024? Have Got You Covered.

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UK Grading System 2024: All You Need to Know

To study in the UK, you must understand its grading system. The UK's education system is comprehensive and well-structured. Thus, almost every university in the UK follows the same scoring approach to evaluate students' academic achievements. Hence, to shed light on the British grading system, we have outlined various pointers about it in the following sections. Keep reading to learn more!

What is the UK Grading System?

The  grading system of the UK is a measure taken by British-based institutions to assess a student's potential to evaluate if they can secure a seat in a UK college. It has been a part of every institution in the country to estimate a scholar's talent and grades in their previous course.

So, if you're planning to study in the United Kingdom, GPA is a term you will hear or come across very often during the admission process. "What does GPA actually refer to?" that's what you might be thinking right after reading the term, correct? Don't trouble yourself - go through the following sections and spot what this term implies and learn about grading system in UK universities within this blog.

Suggested: Top picked UK Universities for International Students

Understanding the UK Grading System in Compulsory Education

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is an academic test taken in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and other British territories. It is a crucial part of the British education system to assess students' eligibility in the age group 15-17 for further studies or college after leaving high school or for other job opportunities.

Meanwhile, there are two different types of GCSE scoring methods applicable in the UK university grading system. Lets explore them:


  • Firstly, the GCSE grading system in England follows the new numerical scoring approach, i.e. 9-1.
  • In which the lowest possible grade is 1, while a score of 9 is the highest achievable grade marked by them.
  • Also, a student will need an average of 4 grades to pass the exam.


  • Secondly, Northern Ireland and Wales follow an old letter-based GCSE scoring approach.
  • In which the letter A* on the grading scale is the highest possible score, while G is considered the lowest grade in the GCSE test.

Moreover, the C letter is the sign of an average achieved score in the exam.

Next, let's differentiate between the old and new British GCSE grading system.


Unsure, How UK Grading System Works in Academic Journey?

So, For Professional Guidance on UK Grading System and Process to Convert Local Grades into British Grades, Visit Today and Talk to Experts. Talk to an Expert Now!

What Are the 9 to 1 GCSE Grades in the UK? Old vs New

The 9-1 GCSE grading scheme was launched in 2017, replacing the old A-G letter-based scoring method. Here's how the new grades compare with the old ones:

New Grades (England Grades) Old Grades (Welsh and Northern Irish Grades)
9 A+
8 A+
7 A
6 B
5 (Strong Pass) C
4 (Standard Pass) C
3 D / E
2 E / F
1 F / G

You must have read about the GCSE grading system in the previous section. So, in the current scoring scale, a score of 9-7 is identical to A* and A, and A 9 denotes that the student's performance was exceptionally well on the test. While the term U refers to "Ungraded" or "Unclassified" - no grade awarded or failure in the test.

Moving further, is the comparison chart of grades 5-4 a little confusing for you? If yes, scroll down as we've listed some points to give you detailed information on these 2 terms, strong and standard pass.

What is GCSE Strong Pass?

A score of 5 in GCSE is called a Strong pass, which sits between grades B and C. It denotes that the test-taker passed the exam.

What is GCSE Standard Pass?

The term standard pass denotes grade 4 indicates that you technically passed the exam. But this might not be a high enough score to get your desired college after high school.

Further, most colleges require a 5(C) or above grade in a minimum of 5 subjects, including English and Math, to get a successful enrollment. Therefore, let's dive into the grading system in the UK used in different education backgrounds.

A-Level UK Grading System in Higher Education

To gain admission to British colleges, the UK university grading system puts a priority on submitting valid assessments to evaluate students' performances. Let's learn more about this term!

Also known as the Advanced level exams and the most well-known qualifications in the UK. There will be some subject exams which should be taken by the students in the final year of their secondary school before attending university. Also, A-level exams are mainly conducted in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

  • Most UK-based universities ask for good scores in A-level exams to grant prospective students admission.
  • Also, the candidate should achieve a min of 40% or more to secure a seat.

Let's understand it more via the below table.

A-1 Grade Letter Percentage Score and Grade Meaning
A 80% = Pass
B 70% = Pass
C 60% = Pass
D 50% = Pass
E 40% = Pass
F Unclassified or Fail

So, the A grade denotes that the student has achieved at least 80% in their chosen subjects, while less than 40% is marked as a fail in the exam. The purpose of the A-1 test is to prepare students for college and gain the required skills to succeed in their chosen courses. Now, after getting the desired grade, what is next? How do UK universities evaluate student's performance based on these scores? Worry not, as the following section answers these queries.

UG Degree Grading System in the UK

The British education system is known for its unique grading scale to assess a student's capability to get a degree from the UK.
Also, there are distinct stages in UK grading system to analyze the academic performance of UG students. These are:

  • First-class Degree (Distinction)
  • Upper Second-class Degree (Merit)
  • Lower Second-class Degree (Pass)
  • Third-class Degree (Pass)
  • Fail

Let's understand each of them to develop more insights into the British-based university grading system via the following table.

First-class Degree (Distinction)
  • It is classified as the highest grade accomplishment in a UG degree.
  • It means the applicant has obtained 70% or higher in their UG degree, also called an 'A' grade.
Upper Second-class Degree (Merit)
  • The upper second-class degree, also labelled as 2:1, is usually identical to 60-69%.
  • It refers to the student who has performed well but needs improvement in a few subjects.
Lower Second-class Degree (Pass)
  • Also identified as 2:2 with a score somewhere between 50 and 59%.
  • It is considered as a lower academic achievement than other mentioned degrees above.
Third-class Degree (Pass)
  • The minimum score, as categorized by the UK grading system for UG degrees, ranges from 40-49%.
  • Students with this grade might face several limitations in pursuing PG courses or other career paths in future.
  • Students who score less than 40% or who do not meet specified requirements to pass their degree course are labelled as failing exams.
  • But that doesn't mean students would lose hope: instead, they must retake the subjects they failed to get a passing grade in their degree certificate.

Further, lets understand the UK grading system for UG degrees in detail with the following table:

Learn About UG Degree Grading System of UK

With this table, you must have insights into different scoring systems and what they state. Did you find any other terms, including distinction and merit grade UK? Are you aware of them? If not, going through the next section would be a great move!

Masters Degree Grading System in the UK

British university scoring system for PG degrees follows a structural procedure that typically ranges from Distinction Grade UK (Highest Marks) to the Borderline Pass (lowest grade). Distinction is awarded when you score 70% or more grade while merit grade in UK is given to those who achieve a score between 60-69%.

Thus, instead of first, upper, lower, and third-class degrees for UG, there are only 3 categories for a master's degree.
So, let's go through the table below, which is an analysis of the UK Master's grading system:

Percentage Scores Grade Meaning
70% or Above Distinction
60 - 69% Merit
50 - 59% Pass
40 - 49% Passed on Borderline

So, the next question that pops into your mind may be, "How students are assessed in UK universities?", right! So, the subsequent section provides this answer. Keep reading on!

Suggested: Top UK Universities for Masters for International Students

What Are the Assessment Criteria at UK Universities?

There are numerous ways of assessing a student's learning. Some of the strategies opted by UK universities are:

  • Book Reviews to ensure that the students have acquired the required knowledge and skills for the learning outcome of the module.
  • Dissertations are the research conducted by the students in their final year of college.
  • Portfolios should contain student's work throughout the academic journey. For example, mainly in art or fashion courses of study.
  • Written Examinations are taken to identify a student's knowledge and learning of a subject.
  • Oral Presentations and Commentary assess their knowledge and ability to communicate clearly in English without fumbling.
  • Coursework can be written or practical, such as essays, project work, assignments, presentations and lab reports during a student's academic study.

Thus, these are the mandatory things UK universities consider to evaluate every scholar's capability. Meanwhile, are you familiar with GPA in UK, such as if their universities use this system to measure their academic achievements? Read on the upcoming section to get this answer!

Suggested: Popular Courses for Students to Study in the UK

How is GPA Measured in UK Universities?

GPA is abbreviated as Grade Point Average. Technically, this scoring system is unique to American universities and colleges to evaluate a student's academic performance. UK institutes don't really use this grading system.
However, a rough conversion of the UK grading system to GPA looks like this: (See the table below )

British Grades and Their Degree Classes GPA Conversion
Above 70% (First-class Honours) 4.0
60% - 69% (2:1 Upper Second-class) 3.3 - 3.9
50% - 59%(2:2 Lower Second-class) 2.7 - 3.2
40% - 49%(Third-class) 2.0 - 2.6
Below 40% (Fail) 1.0 - 1.9

Meanwhile, the approach behind calculating GPA is pretty simple. The formula is:

GPA= Total Grade Points Earned / Total Credits (depending on the course you've selected)

With this equation you can easily find out your GPA score. Further, lets move on and check out scoring approaches of different countries in following few sections.

UK Grading System VS Indian Grading System

Every year, many Indian students choose the UK to seek further studies. But it's crucial to stay aware of their scoring techniques.

Since, Indian grading format follows a 10-point grade average system, while the British scoring scheme is based on percentage criteria or a 100-point system.
Let's understand via this table:

UK Grading System (Percentage Scoring) Indian Grading System (10-Point GPA)
Above 80% 10
75% - 79.99% 9
70% - 74.99% 8
60% - 69.99% 7
50% - 59.99% 6
45% - 49.99% 5
40% - 44.99% 4

Moving on and differentiate the British grading system from ETCS in the next section.

UK Grading System VS ETCS Grades

ETCS is the common grading system in Europe named as European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ETCS). This method was designed to ease the process of converting scores from one local grading system to another.
The table below is a demonstration of degree grades UK and their coequal in the ETCS system.

UK Degree Class and Percentage Score ETCS Grade
First-class Degree (70% - 100%) A
Upper Second-class Degree (60% - 69%) B
Lower Second-class Degree (50% - 59%) C
Third Class Degree (40% - 49%) D
Fail (0 - 39%) E / F

The last section of the blog states the comparison between US and UK scoring methods.

UK Grading System VS US Grading System

Another popular type of grading system other than the UK is the US scoring method. Let's explore how these 2 functions are corresponding equivalent via this tabulated demonstration.

UK Degree Class and Percentage Score US Grade
First-class Degree (70% - 100%) A
Upper Second-class Degree (60% - 69%) A-/ B+
Lower Second-class Degree (50% - 59%) B / B-
Third Class Degree (40% - 49%) C+ / C / C-
Fail (0 - 39%) F

With the blog coming to an end, hopefully, we've covered everything about the UK grading system in detail. For a better understanding of scoring methods, connect with experts. They will get back to you in no time!

To sum up, learning the local grading system used by the university or the country you want to study in can be an excellent step. It is also crucial to know how to convert your academic grades according to the university standards. So, if you wish to study in a British college, then understanding the UK grading system is a significant effort you can make. Moreover, if you're unsure of the process, don't hesitate to take professional advice.


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