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All you need to know about the British grading system

Written by ESC Admin on 07 Jan 2021 Posted in Blog

British grading system

If you’ve studied in Britain and want to enroll in a university from another European country, you will discover that grading systems can be very different. Some use letters, others use numbers or percentages, and scales vary from 1-5, 1-10, 0-20, and so on. Any university may use a conversion system of its own. The UK grading system is not very different from the Chinese, Indian, US or EU grading systems. The top grades go to individuals who succeed and get really high percentages and anyone who manages to reach the minimum grade percentage needed is given the pass grades. That's where the similarities end, though.

Whereas other systems use the alphabet to indicate the student's accomplishments, a class grade order is used by the UK system. This system dates all the way back to the invention of the university itself and represents the British class system's archetype.

The British undergraduate grading system

In the UK, two forms of undergraduate (Bachelor's) degrees are offered by universities: honours and ordinary (regular) degrees. The most famous are Honours degrees. With various marks or classes, you can complete an Honours degree. You will earn 4 forms of Honours certification on the basis of your marks when you graduate:

  • Fifth Class Honours (First or 1st): The grade A equal. With an overall mark of 70% or above, you need to complete your studies. It is an excellent academic achievement and is an asset when applying for a master's degree or a career.
  • Honours of the Upper Second-Class (2:1): The grade B equivalent. To earn it, you need an overall grade of 60-69 per cent. This form of degree is a common prerequisite for acceptance when applying for a Master's programme.
  • Lower Honours Second-Class (2:2): Grade C equivalent. You need a mark of 50-59 percent to achieve this degree. It is not as prestigious as the first or 2:1 degree, but some Master's programmes still accept it.
  • Honours of Third-Class (Third or 3rd): The grade D equivalent. It is given with an overall mark of 40-49 per cent to students who finish their studies. While it's still a pass, when applying for a Master's degree, it would be very hard to compete with other candidates.
  • If your total mark is less than 40 percent, you fail. Equivalent to a F being obtained.

Ordinary degrees are less common, but some universities offer them as individual degrees. They can also be awarded to students who complete an Honours degree, but in order to earn one of the Honours certificates without meeting the minimum criteria.

The British postgraduate grading system

The ranking scheme is similar to the Honours for Master's degrees, albeit with some variations. The minimum passing mark is 50% instead of 40%. This is how the total requirements look:

  • Distinction: 70-100%
  • Merit: 60-69%
  • Pass: 50-59%
  • Fail: Below 50%

According to the Higher Education Statistics Department, the number of students earning first-class honours has recently risen from 26 percent to 28 percent. Thus, this is all about the UK grading system that students need to know.

 

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