I've tried googling around for this but I haven't really understood how the British grading scheme works. I am specifically interested in knowing the following things:

  1. What is a 2:1?
  2. What is a level A?
  3. How can I convert from and to A, B, C grades to numerical grades?
  • 1
    For the second point, perhaps it refers to A levels? – gerrit Feb 24 '13 at 11:27
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    None of these apply to post-grad degrees. This question is off-topic here. – 410 gone Feb 24 '13 at 11:59
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    What's the other system you want to convert to and from? There isn't some default obvious system. – Tara B Feb 24 '13 at 12:39
  • @EnergyNumbers: The 2:1 part could be an entry requirement for a postgrad degree. – Tara B Feb 24 '13 at 12:40
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    @EnergyNumbers: "Overruled." This would be relevant for admissions and hiring decisions. – aeismail Feb 24 '13 at 13:11

The UK system uses the notation of 1st, 2.1, 2.2, 3rd as degree classifications. Most individual modules/classes are grade on either an A, B, C, ... scale or a percentage scale. I believe the conversion of A-=70=1st and B-=60=2.1 is pretty universal. At reasonable universities, approximately 10% of students get a first and 60% get a 2.1.

Under no circumstances would I advise converting your own marks on an application. State the marks you got and if it is a particularly bizarre system provide a link where they can get more information.

  • So you mean 70 out of 100? – user1301428 Feb 24 '13 at 15:40
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    No. Different grading systems are different. – JeffE Feb 24 '13 at 18:14
  • @JeffE In my department we mark work with letter grades which are internally converted to number grades and eventually lead to degree classifications, so within our system the 3 systems are the same. Since a large portion of our assessment is double marked by an external assessor, the 3 systems are designed to be similar across the UK. – StrongBad Feb 24 '13 at 21:16
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    @DanielE.Shub: Right, but that equivalence doesn't extend outside the UK. Even with raw numbers, a score of 70% (7/10 or 21/30 or 70/100) reflects different levels of mastery in the UK, in India, in Israel, and elsewhere. As you say yourself: Under no circumstances would I advise converting your own marks on an application. – JeffE Feb 24 '13 at 21:29
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    @user1301428, given that you're being asked for a 1st or 2-1, I'm going to guess that you're applying for a postgraduate programme at a UK university. If that's true, contact the admissions department, they will know what you need when applying from outside the UK. As JeffE says, the systems are not necessarily comparable and you risk seriously disadvantaging yourself if you don't do it right. – Luke Mathieson Feb 25 '13 at 2:28
  • An A is 70% upwards (this is also known as a 1st)
  • A 2:1 is 60%-69% (also known as a B or upper second)
  • A 2:2 is a C 50%-59% (lower second)
  • A 3rd is 40-49% (a d)
  • 1
    Apart from much better formating, there seems to be little substantive difference between your answer and mine. – StrongBad Feb 25 '13 at 9:57
  • @DanielE.Shub - It happens :) – eykanal Feb 25 '13 at 12:21
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    @DanielE.Shub - Unfortunately, your formatting was such that I had trouble understanding what you were saying. Magpie's I understood at a glance. Formatting can be important! – Rex Kerr Feb 25 '13 at 17:21
  • @DanielE.Shub there is some misleading information in your answer and it is not complete. – Magpie Feb 25 '13 at 18:45
  • What about the E which is called the Elephant mark which is anything less than 40% – Autistic May 2 '16 at 12:05

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