UK Grading System: All about UK University Grading System

UK Grading System: All about UK University Grading System

UK Grading System: All about UK University Grading System
Bijay PoudelFri Dec 23 2022

Every nation with a well-regarded educational system adheres to a standardised academic grading system. 

All parties involved—institutions, recruiters, legislators, sponsors of funding for education, student loans, and, most importantly, students—can access academic success thanks to the British grading system. 

If you intend to study there, you should be familiar with the UK grading system.

Understanding the eligibility and application requirements for the universities you hope to be admitted to is more accessible, thanks to the UK university grading system. 

To select appropriate courses and subjects, Indian students applying to UK institutions must thoroughly understand the current UK grading scheme. Let's read this article to learn more about it.

Understanding the University Grading System UK

In the United Kingdom, universities typically use a grading system to evaluate students' course performance. 

The specific grading system may vary slightly from one institution to another. Still, generally, grades are based on a percentage or numerical score that reflects the student's performance on exams, assignments, and other coursework.

Here is a general overview of the grading system used in universities in the UK:

  • First-Class Honours (1st): This is the highest possible grade and indicates exceptional performance. A student receiving a First-Class Honours is typically awarded a 70% or higher percentage score.
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1): This grade indicates excellent performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 60% or higher.
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2): This grade indicates good performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 50% or higher.
  • Third-Class Honours (3rd): This grade indicates satisfactory performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 40% or higher.
  • Pass: This grade indicates that the student has met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a 40% or higher percentage score.
  • Fail: This grade indicates that the student has not met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a percentage score below 40%.

UK Grading System in Compulsory Education

In the United Kingdom, the grading system used in compulsory education (primary and secondary school) differs from the one used in universities.

In primary and secondary schools, students are typically graded using a letter-based system, with grades ranging from A to G. The specific grading criteria may vary from school to school. Still, generally, the letter grades are assigned as follows:

  • A: Excellent
  • B: Good
  • C: Satisfactory
  • D: Minimum pass
  • E: Almost minimum pass
  • F: Fail
  • G: Inferior

It is worth noting that the grading system used in compulsory education in the UK has undergone some changes in recent years. In 2013, the government introduced a new grading system for primary schools, which uses a scale of 1 to 9 to evaluate student performance. 

Under this system, a grade of 9 indicates the highest level of achievement, while a grade of 1 indicates the lowest level of achievement.

In addition to letter grades, UK compulsory education students may be awarded achievement levels or assessment bands to indicate their progress. 

These levels or bands are typically assigned based on the student's performance on standardised tests or assessments and may be used to measure the student's progress over time.

It is worth noting that the exact percentage scores associated with each grade may vary slightly from one institution to another and may also depend on the course's specific requirements.

UK Grading System in Higher Education

In the UK, admission to pre-university and subsequent higher education programs is highly competitive. Therefore, focusing on accurate assessment and evaluation of students' performances was significant in the UK's university grading system. Let's investigate the grading procedures employed in this instruction.

A-Levels are required for high school graduation in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Most institutions recognise the A-Level as a test of an applicant's suitability for subjects, courses, and programs.

40% is the cutoff for passing. A, B, C, D, and E are the advanced level grades, from best to worst.

U is the grade after E. Students who achieve 80% in all six modules and 90% in at least two modules are given the grade A* as of 2010.

Grade E has a minimum percentage equal to about 40%.

Grade

Percentage Score

Grade Definition

A

80%

Pass

B

70%

Pass

C

60%

Pass

D

50%

Pass

E

40%

Pass

F

Unclassified

Fail

UK Undergraduate Grading System

In the United Kingdom, the grading system for undergraduate (bachelor's degree) programs is similar to that used for higher education. 

Grades are typically assigned using a percentage-based system, with the specific percentage scores associated with each grade varying slightly from one institution to another.

Here is a general overview of the grading system used for undergraduate programs in the UK:

  • First-Class Honours (1st): This is the highest possible grade and indicates exceptional performance. A student receiving a First-Class Honours is typically awarded a percentage score of 70% or higher percentage score.
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1): This grade indicates excellent performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 60% or higher.
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2): This grade indicates good performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 50% or higher.
  • Third-Class Honours (3rd): This grade indicates satisfactory performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 40% or higher.
  • Pass: This grade indicates that the student has met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a 40% or higher percentage score.

UK Masters Grading System

In the United Kingdom, the grading system for master's degree programs is similar to that used for higher education. 

Grades are typically assigned using a percentage-based system, with the specific percentage scores associated with each grade varying slightly from one institution to another.

Here is a general overview of the grading system used for master's degree programs in the UK:

  • Distinction: This is the highest possible grade and indicates exceptional performance. A student who receives a Distinction is typically awarded a 70% or higher percentage score.
  • Merit: This grade indicates excellent performance and is typically awarded for a percentage score of 60% or higher.
  • Pass: This grade indicates that the student has met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a percentage score of 50% or higher.
  • Fail: This grade indicates that the student has not met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a percentage score below 50%.

It is worth noting that the exact percentage scores associated with each grade may vary slightly from one institution to another and may also depend on the course's specific requirements. 

In addition to traditional grades, some master's degree programs in the UK may also use other forms of assessment, such as essays, presentations, and group projects, to evaluate student performance.

Fail: This grade indicates that the student has not met the minimum requirements of the course and has been awarded a percentage score below 40%.

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