University: Comparison of 'marks' between UK and US/Canadian schools

klutch

Courteous urinator
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
1,913
Location
Vancouver, BC
Car(s)
Do it for me.
Alright, so I went to the University of Birmingham for a semester, back in 2006, through an exchange program at my university here in Vancouver. I know I 'passed' the three classes/modules or whatever the hell you Brits call them. But until now, I never knew my marks. I'm applying to law here in Canada, and as such, they want transcripts from all of the post-secondary institutions I've attended, including Birmingham. My question is thus...how do 'marks' ascribed in British schools compare to those in North America? What constitutes a 'good' grade? All that's been indicated on the transcripts I've just received from Birmingham are the 'results' from the courses (PASS), and a 'mark', which I'm assuming is a percentage. I took a few political science courses, and I'm just wondering what an average grade is; I was told there would be some sort of conversion chart on the back of the transcripts, but there's nothing. I don't think these marks transfer directly to what is assigned here in Canada, ie. an 80 as indicated on the Bham transcript isn't an 80% at UBC, given that a passing grade at Bham is 40.
 

teeb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
Messages
3,497
Location
Bordeaux, France.
Car(s)
old Saab 9-3 coup?
Alright, so I went to the University of Birmingham for a semester, back in 2006, through an exchange program at my university here in Vancouver. I know I 'passed' the three classes/modules or whatever the hell you Brits call them. But until now, I never knew my marks. I'm applying to law here in Canada, and as such, they want transcripts from all of the post-secondary institutions I've attended, including Birmingham. My question is thus...how do 'marks' ascribed in British schools compare to those in North America? What constitutes a 'good' grade? All that's been indicated on the transcripts I've just received from Birmingham are the 'results' from the courses (PASS), and a 'mark', which I'm assuming is a percentage. I took a few political science courses, and I'm just wondering what an average grade is; I was told there would be some sort of conversion chart on the back of the transcripts, but there's nothing. I don't think these marks transfer directly to what is assigned here in Canada, ie. an 80 as indicated on the Bham transcript isn't an 80% at UBC, given that a passing grade at Bham is 40.
I would imagine it varies from university to university - it does in Scotland, at least.

This means you will probably have to dig on Birmingham Uni's website to find what marks mean / what the pass rate is / what percentages equal what grades.

edit - I know someone who goes to Brum uni, I'll ask her. May take a bit for her to get back, mind
 

LittleRed

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
168
Location
Englandshire
This is what my university (roughly!) says marks mean:

1st or A in lemans terms = 70% +
2.1 or B = 60% +
2.2 or C = 50% +
3rd or D = 40% +

If you have things called credits, which I'm not sure is what all Uni's have, that's basically a thing to say "Yes, I have done this whole course" so you don't leave university with any missing courses.

If you need it explaining any clearer, send me a message and I'll try and help
 

toma_alimosh

Also known as "Myke Hunt"
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
4,468
Location
The North American Foundry
Car(s)
2014 Volkswagen Jetta
It should all be different across. I took courses at 2 universities in Toronto and my sister went to the third university there and they all have different grading schemes. Even University of Toronto has different grading schemes from campus. Of course, there's a set conversion scheme, seeing as it's the same institution, but still ... it's not standardized in any way.

PS: klutch is back!!
 

darkshark0159

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
1,904
Location
Guildford, Surrey, Yoo Kay
Car(s)
Mercedes-Benz C240 W203, British Rail Class 450
You may need to submit your academic credentials to a company that is certified to convert them to "international standards". I forget what it is called, but you may want to look in to that. Some universities require it for incoming transfers from overseas.
 
Last edited:

gaasc

Desperately looking for a title
DONOR
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
8,281
Location
Honduras
Car(s)
3 of them
here they just give you percents and you pass with 70%. 85% if you want your half-scholarship
 

Peter3hg

Forum Addict
Joined
May 3, 2006
Messages
5,949
Location
Manchester, UK
Car(s)
Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Honda Hornet CB600S
In a lot of Universities over here, the maximum mark for a written type exam is essentially 80%. Nobody ever gets over that.
 

WillDAQ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
2,725
Location
Ukania
You have to remember that the standard requirement for jobs in the UK (when you need a degree for them) is a 2:1 or above. A 2:2 is considered iffy and a third will get you no where.

So in effect anything less than 50% or 60% is useless.
 

Hidden_Hunter

Needs more IceBone
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
8,614
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Car(s)
'13 BMW 125i, '26 Buick Standard Six
Here employers will often do their own fudging, eg a 'mark' from one university is not equal to that of another university.
 

LittleRed

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
168
Location
Englandshire
A's are super hard to get in degree terms, the majority of a university will get a 2.1 or a 2.2

Only one person out of 40something on my course got a 1st last year.

a 3rd isn't something you want, a lot of people in my uni see it as a fail.
 

shad_68

DOOD looks like a lady
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
3,145
Location
Dortmund
Car(s)
FiST in mah butt
I hope the classes are way harder there then because less than a 70% in major required classes is a fail for me.
Failure rates of 50%-70% are not unusual, even with 'only' 40% of the points necessary to pass.
If you get 70% in an exam, that's very good. 100% are realistically impossible, and if you get 90% or above you're a genius.
Of course, this only applies to my uni and more specifically, the Mechanical Engineering course, which is said to be pretty hard anyway.

In short: no, this is not the pathetic US public education system. :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

klutch

Courteous urinator
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
1,913
Location
Vancouver, BC
Car(s)
Do it for me.
I only took three courses; average between the three is like 65. I think I could have done a bit better...I spent all my time/weekends travelling instead of studying; I just wanted an excuse to use the UK as a touch-off point for those cheap Ryanair flights!

Anyway, I never thought I'd be interested in post-post secondary, but I'm totally geared towards getting into law now. They're going to want these transcripts, but I'm just having a hard time trying to figure out how these marks are going to affect my GPA from UBC once they average out. I don't know how to convince a potential law admissions council how the UK is a bit different, and essentially, harder to get a comparable grade to what you'd get in a North American university (for comparison's sake, its relatively easy to get a high B or low A in many university courses, translating to a 75 to 85 in terms of percentile mark).
 

phuckingduck

is awesome!
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
3,018
Location
Seattle, WA, USA
Car(s)
'03 Volvo S60 AWD
Top