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GPA (US) and Degree Classification (UK)

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    In the UK, undergraduate degrees are graded 1st , 2:1, 2;2 etc and potential employers/grad schools look at it. While in the US, potential employers/grad schools look at your GPA. Could someone give me a vague idea how the US system correspond to the UK system (ie. what GPA is the equivalent of 1st, 2:1 etc)? Thx.
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    This has been the bane of my existence!!!

    I'm an American who is starting a masters in the UK. The range I saw of a 2:1 varied from 3.6 (Oxford) to 3.25 (King's College London).
    Based on my view of how 1st and 2:1s are distributed, this is my personal breakdown.

    3.7-4.0 1st
    3.3-3.69 2:1
    2.7-3.29 2:2

    So generally, A- to A is a first, B+ to A- is a 2:1. I know some say a 2:1 is a 3.5 GPA, however that's 0.2 above a B+, which is probably the most common GPA in the US, just as 2:1 is the most common degree class in the UK.

    Hope that helps
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    I am not an expert on the American undergraduate system and all of what I know is what I heard from my American friends at Harvard Law School. As far as I know US colleges do grade undergraduate degrees based on GPA. I believe the highest is summa cum laude and phi beta kappa (equivalent of a first?) followed by magna cum laude (equivalent of a 2:1?) and cum laude (equivalent of a 2:2?). Shady Lane might want to clarify :p:
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    (Original post by MMM)
    I am not an expert on the American undergraduate system and all of what I know is what I heard from my American friends at Harvard Law School. As far as I know US colleges do grade undergraduate degrees based on GPA. I believe the highest is summa cum laude and phi beta kappa (equivalent of a first?) followed by magna cum laude (equivalent of a 2:1?) and cum laude (equivalent of a 2:2?). Shady Lane might want to clarify :p:
    Summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa are university honors, not actualy grades or GPAs. Actually PBK is a private organization that takes members based on GPA. My university didn't even do summa cum laude/cum laude so I don't know what they mean (I went to Stanford).

    So yeah, go by my original post.
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    I know someone who graduated "magna cum laude", it just means they got one of the highest marks in their year (varies from place to place, he was at Duke).
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    So in America you actually get a precise average grade? eg. 3.67, rather than a general 2.1 which can be anything from 60-69 unless you uni has one of these different classification systems.

    So say you get 70% in an exam. How do they transform that into a GPA grade? Do they just divide by 25? If so, does that imply that a 1st in America requires (on Shady's estimate) a score of 92.5% in an exam?
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    (Original post by rhododendron)
    So in America you actually get a precise average grade? eg. 3.67, rather than a general 2.1 which can be anything from 60-69 unless you uni has one of these different classification systems.

    So say you get 70% in an exam. How do they transform that into a GPA grade? Do they just divide by 25? If so, does that imply that a 1st in America requires (on Shady's estimate) a score of 92.5% in an exam?
    In the US we tend to expect higher percentages on exams. In the UK 75% is good. In the US that's a C!

    So if you get a 70% in a class, your grade for that class is a C-, or a 1.7 GPA. And the range of 1st (3.7-4.0) requires between 90 and 95% in your classes.

    Here's it laid out:
    A+ 97-100% 4.3 (some universities don't do A+ tho)
    A 94-96% 4.0
    A- 90-93% 3.7
    B+ 87-89 3.3
    B 84-86 3.0
    B- 80-83 2.7
    etc.
    Your total GPA is the number of grade points you have averaged over the number of course units you took.

    That's why it's so hard to convert into degree classes. However I believe B+/A- is equivalent to a 2:1.
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    So do US students work harder, or are their exams easier than those of their UK counterparts?

    Also, do they just give out a grade for work eg. A- without a %? Even for quantitative subjects?
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    (Original post by rhododendron)
    So do US students work harder, or are their exams easier than those of their UK counterparts?

    Also, do they just give out a grade for work eg. A- without a %? Even for quantitative subjects?
    The exams are easier...in the sense that we are expected to know 87% or more of the material in order to get a good grade.

    Well actually it's more complicated...
    I realized I've left out what happens when a class is graded on a curve. That requires looking at the statistical distribution of scores, determining standard deviation and a mean, etc. Then, it doesn't matter what percentage you get, if you get 1 standard deviation above the mean you typically get an A-.

    And grades are almost always corresponding to a percentage.
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    Thanks for the explanation shady ;thumbsup;
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    (Original post by rhododendron)
    So do US students work harder, or are their exams easier than those of their UK counterparts?

    Also, do they just give out a grade for work eg. A- without a %? Even for quantitative subjects?
    The exams are just graded differently. Writing an above average essay in the US will get you a grade in the high 80s. Writing the same essay in the UK will get you somewhere in the high 60s. It is also far easier to get an A in the US than it is to get a First in the UK, but it kind of evens out since Brits only have to take about 12 classes for their degree while Americans need somewhere between 30 and 40.

    (Original post by shady lane)
    The exams are easier...in the sense that we are expected to know 87% or more of the material in order to get a good grade.

    Well actually it's more complicated...
    I realized I've left out what happens when a class is graded on a curve. That requires looking at the statistical distribution of scores, determining standard deviation and a mean, etc. Then, it doesn't matter what percentage you get, if you get 1 standard deviation above the mean you typically get an A-.

    And grades are almost always corresponding to a percentage.
    Not too many universities grade on a curve though (though there are some professors who do so in each university). Thus some of the Ivies have reputations for being easy As. I recall hearing the average grade in Yale is nearly an A-.
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    I have an undergraduate GPA of 3.425. I am guessing that means, on the British system, I have a 2:1. I think. I am trying to confirm this.

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