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Grading System in UK 2024

Grading System in UK

The grading system in the United Kingdom can vary depending on the educational level and institution. However, the most common grading system in the UK is based on letters, with A, B, C, D, and E (or sometimes F) grades, along with ungraded or fail (U) for unsuccessful performance. Below is an overview of the grading system in the UK for various levels of education:

  1. General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE): GCSEs are typically taken by students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland at the age of 16. The grading system for GCSEs consists of letter grades from A* (the highest) to G (the lowest). There is also a “U” grade for ungraded or fail. GCSE Grading System 
  2. A-Levels: A-Levels are advanced level qualifications typically taken by students in the UK at the age of 18. The grading system for A-Levels is also based on letter grades, with A* being the highest grade and E being the lowest passing grade. A-level Grading System
  3. Scottish Qualifications: In Scotland, the grading system is different. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) uses a letter-based system where “A” is the highest grade, and “U” represents ungraded or fail.
  4. Higher Education: In universities and colleges in the UK, undergraduate and postgraduate programs often use a different grading scale. The most common grading system for higher education is as follows:
    • First-Class (1st): This is the highest grade and indicates outstanding performance.
    • Upper Second-Class (2:1): This is a good grade, often referred to as “Upper Second” or “2:1.”
    • Lower Second-Class (2:2): This is a passing grade, often referred to as “Lower Second” or “2:2.”
    • Third-Class (3rd): This is a lower passing grade.
    • Pass (non-honours): This indicates a passing grade without honors.
    • Fail (no honors): For unsuccessful performance.

It’s important to note that some universities may use variations of this system or use a different grading scale, such as a percentage-based system. Additionally, postgraduate programs may have different grading criteria, and some institutions may use a distinction, merit, and pass system for postgraduate degrees.

It’s crucial to check the specific grading system used by the institution or examination board in question, as there can be variations within the UK’s educational system.



Peter N. Djangmah is a multifaceted individual with a passion for education, entrepreneurship, and blogging. With a firm belief in the power of digital education and science, I am affectionately known as the Private Minister of Information. Connect with me

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