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What Exactly are university degrees (2.1, 2.2)?

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    I see a lot of people asking/saying they got a 2:1 or a 2:2, but what exactly is it? how do they affect your chances of getting a job? how hard is it to obtain those levels? What's the difference between an Honors degree and a non-hons and how does it affect your chances of getting a job?

    I found this, but doesn't explain much:

    Honours degrees are in bold:

    * First-Class Honours (First or 1st)
    * Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1)
    * Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2)
    * Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd)

    * Ordinary degree (Pass)
    * Fail (no degree is awarded)
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    It's just another grading system for your degree, just up the scale a little.

    Our teachers have always explained in like this:

    First-Class Honours (First or 1st) = Grade A**
    Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1) = Grade A*
    Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2) = Grade A
    Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd) = Grade B
    Ordinary degree (Pass) = Grade C

    As you'd imagine achieving a First is very very difficult, like an A** would be in A level (especially as it doesn't exist, lol) but it is attainable with lots of hard work, if not extra work, and an extreme passion for the subject. The average result of degrees in the UK is a 2:2...that's what most get, depending on their subject of course.

    A Non-Hons has no grading system like this: you either pass and get a degree or don't.
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    UCL (unofficially) explains the classes in terms of grades like this:

    1st = A (70%+)
    2:1 = B (60-70)
    2:2 = C (50-60)
    3rd = D (45-50)
    Pass = E (40-45)

    Fail

    Most people consider 2:1 to be their target, and I think the majority of students end up wtih this. Universities award very few first class degrees.
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    (Original post by Kink)
    The average result of degrees in the UK is a 2:2...that's what most get, depending on their subject of course.
    Do you have any sources for this? Because certainly at UCL and King's about 75% of students get 2:1s... actually I've forgotten where I read that, but I'm sure it's right.
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    (Original post by Onearmedbandit)
    UCL (unofficially) explains the classes in terms of grades like this:

    1st = A (70%+)
    2:1 = B (60-70)
    2:2 = C (50-60)
    3rd = D (45-50)
    Pass = E (40-45)

    Fail

    Most people consider 2:1 to be their target, and I think the majority of students end up wtih this. Universities award very few first class degrees.

    70% of what? Getting 70% on a test, averaging 70% overall after 3/4 years doing that course?
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    An average across the 3/4 years.
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    (Original post by Onearmedbandit)
    Do you have any sources for this? Because certainly at UCL and King's about 75% of students get 2:1s... actually I've forgotten where I read that, but I'm sure it's right.
    Knowing my sources, I might be slightly wrong, my teachers are probably envious that in reality, more students are getting a 2:1...
    But it is generally agreed that most get a second class degree isn't it?

    Does anyone knows if it is the top ten unis that get the most 1sts? Or is is spread over the country more evenly than previously thought?
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    The majority get a 2.1. The odd very clever person gets a first (10% max), the rest get a 2.2. Nobody gets a third or below really. The benchmark for a first is generally 70%. 75% is about as high as anybody ever gets.
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    (Original post by jhomie)
    70% of what? Getting 70% on a test, averaging 70% overall after 3/4 years doing that course?
    That depends on your university and course.
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    (Original post by Kink)
    Knowing my sources, I might be slightly wrong, my teachers are probably envious that in reality, more students are getting a 2:1...
    But it is generally agreed that most get a second class degree isn't it?

    Does anyone knows if it is the top ten unis that get the most 1sts? Or is is spread over the country more evenly than previously thought?
    Yeah most people get 2nd class degrees. Now that I think about it I believe that 75% thing I pulled out was specifically for law at Kings and UCL, so might not be very representative of the rest of the country.

    I don't think top 10 unis give out more firsts than other universities (though I may be wrong). It's probably because the difficulty in attaining a first goes up in proportion with the calibre of student a particular university attracts.
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    At the University where I did my undergraduate degree, the first year did not count for anything.

    Every year you do 120 credits worth of modules.

    The classification would be worked out from the best 100 credits from the third year (lowest module or 20 credits dropped) and then an average of the second year 120 credits would be taken and count as 40 credits.

    So all in all the classification was based on the percentage mark of 140 credits (in effect the second year counted as a 1/3 of the degree and the third year 2/3.

    DIONYSUS- Most people do not indeed get more than 75%, but in our year when we graduated 4 people were indeed above that, for instance I got a First with 87% average. In fact I am now commencing a PhD at Sheffield.
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    (Original post by Dionysus)
    The majority get a 2.1. The odd very clever person gets a first (10% max), the rest get a 2.2. Nobody gets a third or below really. The benchmark for a first is generally 70%. 75% is about as high as anybody ever gets.
    So nobody ever gets 80%+ or even 90%+ for that matter?
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    (Original post by EierVonSatan)
    Its very subject dependent, people in maths/physical science can get such marks (though I don't know anyone who got 90% outside of math), its much rarer to see someone achieve 80%+ in arts based subjects...due to the fact you can get 100% in an objective exam, impossible to do the same in a subjective essay
    What about economics and psychology? Economics contains maths and psychology contains a bit of science. So are you more likely to get 80%+ in a science degree than in an arts-based subject, i.e. you are more likely to get a first?
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    (Original post by Onearmedbandit)
    I don't think top 10 unis give out more firsts than other universities (though I may be wrong). It's probably because the difficulty in attaining a first goes up in proportion with the calibre of student a particular university attracts.
    They do - Oxford last year had almost 30% firsts.
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    Would you still be able to obtain a first if you did retakes at university?
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    (Original post by Hannahhhh)
    Would you still be able to obtain a first if you did retakes at university?
    Hypothetically yes, but since retakes are capped at 40 it would make it extremely difficult after the first year (which often doesn't count). However I have come across some departments that don't allow you to graduate with a first if you've failed a module, so check with your university.

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