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, 2013 at 11:27
  • 3
    None of these apply to post-grad degrees. This question is off-topic here.
    – 410 gone
    Feb 24, 2013 at 11:59
  • 2
    What's the other system you want to convert to and from? There isn't some default obvious system.
    – Tara B
    Feb 24, 2013 at 12:39
  • @EnergyNumbers: The 2:1 part could be an entry requirement for a postgrad degree.
    – Tara B
    Feb 24, 2013 at 12:40
  • 2
    @EnergyNumbers: "Overruled." This would be relevant for admissions and hiring decisions.
    – aeismail
    Feb 24, 2013 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


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? Feb 24, 2013 at 15:40
  • 7
    No. Different grading systems are different.
    – JeffE
    Feb 24, 2013 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, 2013 at 21:16
  • 2
    @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, 2013 at 21:29
  • 4
    @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. Feb 25, 2013 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, 2013 at 9:57
  • @DanielE.Shub - It happens :)
    – eykanal
    Feb 25, 2013 at 12:21
  • 3
    @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, 2013 at 17:21
  • @DanielE.Shub there is some misleading information in your answer and it is not complete.
    – Magpie
    Feb 25, 2013 at 18:45
  • What about the E which is called the Elephant mark which is anything less than 40%
    – Autistic
    May 2, 2016 at 12:05

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