Let's start with background: I'm European, don't know much about undergrad educational systems, and especially grading, outside my own area. So, I receive a CV from an Indian undergrad with the following section:

             enter image description here

Now, I have no idea whether the scores displayed here are dismal, average, good or excellent. Wikipedia doesn't know what CGPA is, except in Nepal (and the student in case was not educated in Nepal), so I turn to you, Academia Stack Exchange, to help me solve this riddle!


10 Answers 10


Two factors can be used to get a broad idea about an Indian engineering student - one is the college and the second is the CGPA.


The Indian Institute of Science and Indian institutes of technology are top technical institutions in the country. Of late, multiple IITs have been set up, leading to (arguably) diminishing quality. The original seven IITs boast of excellent faculty in most departments and are understood to be better than the newer ones.

Besides, there are regional colleges like National Institutes of Technology and Anna University and BITS which are also among the top engineering colleges in the country.

Grading System:

Most of the above colleges use the CGPA system for grading. Students are awarded grades ranging from S (=10) to D (=6) in various courses that they enroll over a period of 4 years. In a course, the top performers could expect an S, the students who have scored 80%-90% could score an A and so on. Obviously, the exact grades depend on the instructor and the overall performance. A student that scores S in all his courses over 4 years ends up with the perfect CGPA of 10.0. A 9-10 CGPA indicates mostly excellent track record and so on.

It should be clear that the CV in the question reflects a mediocre score in a top college.

  • 2
    The IIT in question is Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar. Out of caution, I hid all information that could lead to identification on the CV, but given the size of the place I don't think revealing it threatens the anonymity of the question…
    – F'x
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:50
  • 18
    @F'x: It is one of the newer IITs which are finding it particularly difficult to attract good faculty. With this info, the last line in my answer should be "mediocre score in a mediocre college." :)
    – Bravo
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:56
  • 4
    @F'x I agree with Bravo except for the fact that IIT-B is "mediocre". It is still quite good in comparison with other universities in India.
    – user107
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 16:47
  • 6
    I disagree with Nunoxic above. IIT B is a new university and hasn't proved itself in terms of research and teaching versus many other non-"Indian Institutes of X". I argue that it has the potential to do well but until then is quite in the middle of the pack.
    – Shion
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 18:39
  • 3
    I too disagree with Nunoxic above. Not only is it spankin' new (i.e. a university made up from thin air 5 years ago), it hasn't even gained any reputation in terms of academic output, research, etc. So far, it is just riding on the coattails of the original 5 IITs, which definitely are top class.
    – user6431
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 0:11

I'm from India and I must say that getting into IIT's is a pretty much of a big deal here. You can be sure of the fact that the kid is hard working. But a GPA of 6.96 ~ 7 is Okay-ish. Average. 9-10 is brilliant. 8-9 is about average and very good. You can ask what other things he excel in. Extra activities he participate in etc..etc.. Report cards don't show someone's potential. Do they?


I am a graduate from BITS Pilani, India. We have a 10-point Cummulative GPA. Here is a table converting the CGPA to GPA enter image description here

Source: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-convert-indian-gpa-percentage-to-us-4-pt-gpa-scale-124249.html This has some detailed insights into the CGPA and the method.

Hope this helps.

  • 7
    Your source cites wes.org/gradeconversionguide/index.asp as source. According to this page it is more like: 70-100 -> A in US, 50-69 -> B in US, 35*-49 -> C in US, 0-32 -> F in US. (Maybe it changed since last year...) Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 9:23

I completely agree with all the answers that an Indian student can be judged keeping in mind both the college and the grades. IIT's (Indian Institute of Technology) are among the best schools of India. For the grading scheme however, the following guide is issued by the University Grants Commission(India) which is in charge of the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in India.

    Letter Grade    Grade Point
    O (Outstanding)     10
    A+(Excellent)       9
    A(Very Good)        8
    B+(Good)            7
    B(Above Average)    6
    C(Average)          5
    P (Pass)            4
    F(Fail)             0
    Ab (Absent)         0

The Universities can decide on the grade or percentage of marks required to pass in a course and also the CGPA required to qualify for a degree. You might also see some students mentioning their SGPA. This is how CGPA and SGPA is generally computed:

Computation of SGPA and CGPA

The SGPA is the ratio of sum of the product of the number of credits with the grade points scored by a student in all the courses taken by a student and the sum of the number of credits of all the courses undergone by a student, i.e

SGPA (Si) = ∑(Ci x Gi) / ∑Ci

where Ci is the number of credits of the ith course and Gi is the grade point scored by the student in the ith course.

The CGPA is also calculated in the same manner taking into account all the courses undergone by a student over all the semesters of a programme, i.e.

CGPA = ∑(Ci x Si) / ∑ Ci

where Si is the SGPA of the ith semester and Ci is the total number of credits in that semester.

Illustration of Computation of SGPA and CGPA and Format for Transcript

Ilustration for SGPA

Course      Credit    Grade letter  Grade point     Credit Point
                                                (Credit x Grade)
Course 1      3             A           8             3 X 8 = 24
Course 2      4             B+          7             4 X 7 = 28
Course 3      3             B           6             3 X 6 = 18
Course 4      3             O           10            3 X 10 = 30
Course 5      3             C           5             3 X 5 = 15
Course 6      4             B           6             4 X 6 = 24
            -----                                    ------------            
              20                                              139

Thus, SGPA =139/20 =6.95

Illustration for CGPA

| Semester 1 | Semester 2 | Semester 3 | Semester 4 | Semester 5 | Semester 6 |
| Credit: 20 | Credit: 22 | Credit: 25 | Credit: 26 | Credit: 26 | Credit: 25 |
| SGPA:6.9   | SGPA:7.8   | SGPA: 5.6  | SGPA:6.0   | SGPA:6.3   | SGPA: 8.0  |


CGPA = 20 x 6.9 + 22 x 7.8 + 25 x 5.6 + 26 x 6.0 + 26 x 6.3 + 25 x 8.0
       _______________________________________________________________ = 6.73

Sources: http://www.du.ac.in/du/uploads/Guidelines/UGC_credit_Guidelines.pdf

  • for the sake of completeness, it should be noted that IITs are autonomous, they're independent of UGC.
    – whoisit
    Commented Apr 3 at 19:36

In my experience at a top European university, many grades even from top tier Indian universities don't have the same explanatory power as grades from European or American universities.

We regularly got applications with grades in the 9-10 ranges and 99.x percentile scores. However, many students we interviewed were not up to our standards. Basic knowledge even in core topics such as programming, cs theory, mathematics and statistics was lacking, and while we noticed that many 'famous' algorithms could be reproduced, tasks involving writing new algorithms for specific problems were generally not solved or solved inadequately.

Of course, the sample size was not large enough to form a proper sample, and there might have been a selection bias in what students even applied for a position with us. Still, all other things equal, I would rate an 9-10 / 99.x grade from a good Indian university about on par with at most a 'cum laude' degree (non-magna/summa) from a good European university.

My conclusion therefore is to invest additional efforts into the interview and selection process, and I would suggest to not consider any mid-range marks as in the application in question.


CGPA or Cumulative Grade Point Average should be considered in relation to the class curve. If we assume that the top edge of the curve denotes 8.2, then we should preclude that 6.96 as B+. And if we try to calculate this to the US GPA, 6.96/10.0 would co-relate to 3.3/4.0.


Yes IITs are good technical institutions in India. But you can't recruit a person simply because he came from a good college. He should possess the skills required for your job. That's the main thing you should look for rather on his background.

I would like to say that getting a good grade in IIT is very challenging. A 7 grader would be comparable to a 8.5 or even 9 grader in private colleges. IITs are not made by its faculties (which many IITs are facing shortage of and also of quality) or infrastructure but by students.


IITs (the original 5 at Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Madras, Kharagpur) are the best UG institutes in India bar none. There are more now but they don't have as good a reputation as the first 4 in the original list (Kharagpur has lagged somewhat recently). If this person is from one got an All India Rank under the General Category (not under any reservation/quota scheme) then you can be assured that he has raw intelligence and smarts.

Some IITs are notorious for rigorous grading very unlike ivy leagues in the US where grade inflation is rampant. GPA of 6.96 is mediocre but if it's in a hard stream such as Electrical Engineering or Comp Sci then it may not be that bad (one has to obtain an All India Rank within top 300-400 kids from all over India to obtain admission to these stream in the first 4 IITs). The peer group is simply extraordinarily competitive -- think of hand picking top few hundred students out of a country of billion and have them take tests under a common roof.

  • @MonkyPanda You had a suggested edit which suggested that the sentence "If this person is from one got an All India Rank under the General Category (not under any reservation/quota scheme) then you can be assured that he has raw intelligence and smarts." is "Totally wrong about quota scheme" in Edit Summary. Would you please explain?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 3:47

All schools are not same. Getting into IIT is very very tough. A CGPA of 6 is not the same ( simply because the cohort is far more competitive with an acceptance rate of 1%-2% esp at the 5 IITs) as CGPA of 6 at another school.


I presume one can easily search about the quality of the university and its faculty through the internet.

The problem might be how to interpret the score.
In such cases, it is best to ask the student for an official transript.

Official transcripts usually have all the information about how grading is done. It will describe the grading scale (e.g. 4-10), whether any courses are just pass/fail, whether there's some "exceptional" grade, and what does a grade number X usually mean.

Once you get a sizeable number of applications from such a university, you can interpret the results for yourself.

  • 1
    Sorry, but this doesn’t seem to answer the question, because a transcript doesn’t usually tell you if that grade is good or not for a certain university. Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 22:37

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