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Why is a 2:1 'good' when it's technically average?

You hear a lot of people saying getting a 2:1 at uni is good, but isn't it technically just average?

So why do people say it's good?

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Original post by jackien1
You hear a lot of people saying getting a 2:1 at uni is good, but isn't it technically just average?

So why do people say it's good?

Hey @jackien1!

I know it's very subjective but I personally see it as a great grade. :smile:

I think the main reason it is seen by many as good, is how a lot of jobs and postgraduate study require a 2:1 or above to be considered.

Courtney -- Official Student Rep :smile:
I wouldn't say it is average, there are high 2:1's and low 2:1's depending on the percentage of both 2nd and final year. It is one of the common grades to achieve and shouldn't be bad as it is close to a first class degree.
i see a 2.1 as someone who grasps the subject, understands it and can write competently about it. Without any brilliant insight into the topic or out of the box thinking. (which is pretty much the description in our marking guide)

(I am a 2.1 type of student)
Things are marked differently at uni. In school it’s fairly easy to get over 70%, at uni it’s considerably difficult.
Original post by jackien1
You hear a lot of people saying getting a 2:1 at uni is good, but isn't it technically just average?

So why do people say it's good?

The problem is that the 2i band is far too broad, and encompasses much to wide a spread of attainment. After all, the large majority of students end up with a 2i. The difference between a 60 and 69 is huge in terms of attainment, with a 60 being much more like a 2ii in terms of regurgitation and limited analysis/criticism. At the other end of the scale, a 69 share much in common with a I class result in terms of wider reading and sophistication of argument. Yet they both get the 'same' classification.

I like GPA for this very reason - the granularity makes it easy to separate out the wheat from the chaff.
Original post by jackien1
You hear a lot of people saying getting a 2:1 at uni is good, but isn't it technically just average?

So why do people say it's good?


Its generally the minimum mark for most graduate schemes and post-grad study. So its seen as the standard to open doors after undergraduate study.
Reply 7
I think there should be an extra level of distinction betwixt high 60s and low 60s

I gave out a lot of desmonds, though
Reply 8
Original post by gamergirl46
I wouldn't say it is average, there are high 2:1's and low 2:1's depending on the percentage of both 2nd and final year. It is one of the common grades to achieve and shouldn't be bad as it is close to a first class degree.

In the mathematical sense of the word average, a 2:1 is the average grade. I'm not saying being average is bad, it's being average. I'm a 2:1 student myself but find it weird when people congratulate me on getting a 2:1 because it's just average to me.
Original post by mnot
Its generally the minimum mark for most graduate schemes and post-grad study. So its seen as the standard to open doors after undergraduate study.

I see, so it's seen as good because of what it does (i.e. open doors) as opposed to it being good in and of itself.

edit: do employers care about whether or not you got a high or low 2:1?
Original post by jackien1
In the mathematical sense of the word average, a 2:1 is the average grade. I'm not saying being average is bad, it's being average. I'm a 2:1 student myself but find it weird when people congratulate me on getting a 2:1 because it's just average to me.

I see, so it's seen as good because of what it does (i.e. open doors) as opposed to it being good in and of itself.

edit: do employers care about whether or not you got a high or low 2:1?

It depends.
Some do, some dont.

Id say most general grad schemes just ask for a 2.1 overall, but more competitive jobs often look at what else students have done academically & some post grad roles need strong undergraduate performance.

It worth saying tho getting a 2.1 is not a trivial exercise, you'll need to engage both with competence and effort into your degree, but it is imo substantially easier to scrape a 2.1 then it is to scrape a first.
(edited 3 years ago)
To the companies which it truly matters, they'll ask to see your transcripts anyway.
Original post by Reality Check

I like GPA for this very reason - the granularity makes it easy to separate out the wheat from the chaff.

This, we should just move to GPA system, every credit studied counts.
This rewards students exactly with what they deserve.
Original post by mnot
This, we should just move to GPA system, every credit studied counts.
This rewards students exactly with what they deserve.

Exactly - and it also stops the 'why bother with first year' mentality which often leads on to a terrible second year in terms of motivation and preparatory study.
Some unis like Birmingham tell you your GPA as well as degree class, which distinguishes high 2:1 from low 2:1 students. There's some appetite for it, but there needs to be more standardisation of this across the HE sector before employers are going to start using it in job adverts.

Seeing a ridiculous amount of firsts on social media at the moment as classifications are starting to be awarded for the academic year. Hopefully there'll be something to tackle the grade inflation at some point in the near future.
Original post by Reality Check
The problem is that the 2i band is far too broad, and encompasses much to wide a spread of attainment. After all, the large majority of students end up with a 2i. The difference between a 60 and 69 is huge in terms of attainment, with a 60 being much more like a 2ii in terms of regurgitation and limited analysis/criticism. At the other end of the scale, a 69 share much in common with a I class result in terms of wider reading and sophistication of argument. Yet they both get the 'same' classification.

I like GPA for this very reason - the granularity makes it easy to separate out the wheat from the chaff.

I got 80 in my undergraduate degree and I wasn't bothered that I was considered of equal classification to those who attained 70. We are both classified as having gotten a first and I could, if I wanted to, choose to write my grade in the GPA form '80/100' on my CV and it will be obvious in my transcripts if I wanted to apply to a postgraduate course.

We should honour the British tradition which has worked so well for us in the past. If anything, I support @gjd800's stance: 'I think there should be an extra level of distinction betwixt high 60s and low 60s', this works perfectly. But, subtle difference of 1-4 points are no great indicators of differences in how well you can perform in the job market.
I think it is a good grade, but like others have said it is an incredibly broad class of degree. I got a first at university and those who had similar grades to me but got a high 2.i were way different to those who got a low 2.i.
2:1 was a good degree, but more and more and more are given. It's a side effect of more students, people caring more about their degrees and the changed relationship between unis and students.
I did my first degree in a department that was proud to say they hadn't given a First in a decade. I doubt that would fly now.

Reply 17
First is 70%. It's surprisingly hard to consistently score 70% or higher across the board.

There's also what people more informally call "high 2.1" and "low 2.1" degrees.
Reply 18
Original post by Reality Check
Exactly - and it also stops the 'why bother with first year' mentality which often leads on to a terrible second year in terms of motivation and preparatory study.

This is a killer tbh. Worst mindset ever.

As soon as you hit second year it's "what the **** is all this ****???"
Original post by Sam.C.Mat
2:1 was a good degree, but more and more and more are given. It's a side effect of more students, people caring more about their degrees and the changed relationship between unis and students.
I did my first degree in a department that was proud to say they hadn't given a First in a decade. I doubt that would fly now.



Sad to look at the sharp trend really. Disappointed at places like Surrey that give out so many.

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