I take a computer hardware course at KTH Institute in Stockholm in Sweden. The exam is day after tomorrow. The score required to pass is 75 %. I'm used to passing at 50 % and I wonder why the score is set so high to just pass the exam? Is it arbitrary or some method?


You can find the exam if you google for "KTH IS1200".

closed as off-topic by Stella Biderman, Buzz, Enthusiastic Engineer, user3209815, nengel Mar 14 '18 at 10:39

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  • 5
    Perhaps they want you to learn the material covered in the course. – Jon Custer Mar 13 '18 at 15:14
  • 3
    Your instructor is the best person who can tell you what her or his methods are. We can only guess what her or his motives are. It may be that it is a multiple choice exam and the instructor wants to correct for the chance that someone who answers randomly finds the right answer. – Maarten Buis Mar 13 '18 at 15:21
  • Surely you knew the grading criteria when you signed up for the course? Why is it suddenly a problem? Has it been changed just prior to the exam? If not, then you have to grit your teeth and get on with it... – Solar Mike Mar 13 '18 at 15:51
  • 2
    Because the teacher has decided that 70% is too easy and 80% is to hard. If they set the threshold to 50%they would ask more hard questions. I am not sure what more explanation you could hope for. – xLeitix Mar 13 '18 at 16:52
  • 1
    Congratulations! – Jon Custer May 26 '18 at 14:57

The passing percentage for a course is fundamentally arbitrary, and different countries and institutions have different traditions.

It should be clear that it's meaningless to talk about the passing percentage in isolation, since it's a percentage of something. An exam with a passing threshold of 75% isn't necessarily harder than one with a threshold of 50% - the difficulty also depends on the questions, the amount of time given, and so on.

  • 2
    +1 for "it's meaningless to talk about the passing percentage in isolation", which one would think is too obvious to have to say, but maybe not. (I say "maybe not" because I was expecting to see something in the original question about why this specific 75% is so different from the other 50%'s, and didn't.) – Dave L Renfro Mar 13 '18 at 17:01
  • @DaveLRenfro: I would think so as well, but that hasn't been my experience. I once witnessed an online discussion where (high-school aged) students from different countries realized that their countries had different thresholds for A's. The were a lot of comments along the lines of "I would have gotten an A if only I'd lived in such-and-such country" or "wow, it must be so hard to get an A in your country if you need to get 90%", but no one pointed out that the exams might vary as well as the thresholds. – Henry Mar 13 '18 at 18:10
  • This reminds me of the high school to college transition where (in North Carolina, during the 1970s) in high school you had to score at least 93% to get an A, but in college you only needed to score at least 90%. I seem to recall some people saying this was because college tests are harder . . . (Yes, but lowering from 93% to 90% didn't come anywhere near to closing the gap.) – Dave L Renfro Mar 13 '18 at 18:30
  • At the end, I scored 85 %. My friends didn't make it. – Niklas Rosencrantz May 26 '18 at 7:09

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