Australian Grading System Explained: A Complete Guide

International students want to know the a-e grading scale percentages in Australia and ask themselves what is a good GPA in Australia.


The academic grading system varies from one country to the other. In Australia, international students may find the grading system quite complicated and difficult to understand at first.


Many overseas students often get stressed about the ‘D’ grade, which they consider to be a bad grade. But actually, it means a distinction grade.


It’s very important to understand that every university, institute, or state, may have a different grading system in Australia. Therefore, it’s always suggested to check with the specific educational institute or university about the grading systems they follow.


In this post, we’ll discuss and guide you through the Australian grading system for Universities, high schools and vocational education providers across the country. You will also learn what a good GPA is (Grade Point Average) in Australia.



Basic Grading Scale For Univerisites In Australia


You’ll find a table below that demonstrates the general grading system common among most Australian universities. It’s important to note that these universities might have minor variations in their grading scales. 


The university grading scale below is relevant to both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. You will also find equivalent American and British grades mentioned next to the Australian grades.


Astralian Grade Grade Name Percentage (%) GPA Scale US Equivalent UK Equivalent
HD High Distinction 83 - 100 7    A + First Class
D Distinction 73 - 82.99 6 - 6.99 A Second Class
Upper Division
C Credit 63 - 72.99 5 - 5.99 B Second Class
Lower Division
P Pass 50 - 62.99 4 - 4.99 C Third Class
N Fail 0 - 49.99 0 - 3.99 F Fail



Honors Degree Grading


However, if you are looking to pursue an honours degree, the grades might look different. When compared to a standard undergraduate degree, honours degree involves an additional year of study. Here’s what the honours degree grades look like:


Australian Grade Grade Name Percentage (%)
H1 First Class Honours 80 and above
H2A Second Class Honours - A Division 74 - 79
H2B Second Class Honours - B Division 70 - 74
H3 Third Class Honours 65 - 69
P Pass 50 - 64
N Fail 49 and below



Grading Systems In Different States And Territories of Australia



1. New South Wales (NSW)


The state of New South Wales is a popular study destination in Australia. It is home to several famous universities like the University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, and Macquarie University. 


The table below shows the grade scale followed by the educational institutions of New South Wales:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale (%) US Equivalent
HD High Distinction 85 - 100    A +
D Distinction 75 - 84.99 A
CR Credit 65 - 74.99 B
P or PW Pass 50 - 64.99 C
F Fail 0 0 49.99 F


Note: There is another grade known as Pass Conceded (PC), which allows progression to some other course under mitigating circumstances. 



2. Victoria (VIC)


Victoria is known for its renowned education system worldwide. It boasts around 9 different universities that include Monash University, Deakin University, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. 


The table below shows the grading system followed by the educational institutions of Victoria:


Australian Grade Grade Name US Equivalent
A      A +
B   A
C   B
D   C
E Lowest grade needed to pass D
F Fail F



3. Queensland (QLD)


Queensland has some of the top-ranking universities in the world including Griffith University and the University of Queensland.


The table below shows the grade scale followed by the educational institutions of Queensland:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale US Equivalent
HD High Distinction 7    A +
D Distinction 6 - 6.99 A
CR Credit 5 - 5.99 B
P Pass (the lowest passing grade) 4 - 4.99 C
F Fail 1 - 3.99 F



4. South Australia (SA)


The state of South Australia has some of the best universities in Australia, which includes the University of Adelaide, Carnegie Mellon University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia. 


The table below shows the grade scale followed by the educational institutions of South Australia:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale US Equivalent
HD High Distinction 85 - 100   A +
D Distinction 75 - 84.99   A   
C Credit 65 - 74.99   B   
P1 Pass Level 1 55 - 64.99   B - 
P2 Pass Level 2 50 - 54.99   C   
F1 Fail Level 1 (the lowest passing grade) 40 - 49.99   C - 
F2 Fail Level 2 30 - 39.99    F   



5. Western Australia (WA)


The state of Western Australia consists of several universities. Some of them are: University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, and Murdoch University.The table below shows the grade scale followed by the educational institutions of Western Australia:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale US Equivalent
HD High Distinction 80 - 100 A
A Excellent Achievement 80 - 100 A
B High Achievement 70 - 79.99 B
C Sound Achievement 60 - 69.99 C
D Limited Achievement (lowest grade needed to pass) 50 - 59.99 D
E Fail 0 - 49.99 F



6. Australian Capital Territory (ACT)


The two major tertiary institutions of higher education in the Australian Capital Territory include the University of Canberra and the Australian National University. The table below shows the grade scale followed by the educational institutions of the Australian Capital Territory:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale US Equivalent
A Extremely High Standard of Achievement 85 - 100 A
B High Standard of Achievement 70 - 84.99 B
C Acceptable Standard of Achievement 50 - 69.99 C
D Limited Standard of Achievement 25 - 49.99 D
E Very Limited Performance 0 - 24.99 F


Note: Additionally, there is also an ‘S’ grade, which is used when unavoidable circumstances  prevent students from being granted A to E grading scale percentages in Australia.



7. The Northern Territory (NT)


The Northern Territory of Australia is home to just one tertiary education institution i.e. Charles Darwin University. 


The table below shows the grade scale followed by Charles Darwin University of the Northern Territory:


Australian Grade Scale 1 Scale 2 US Equivalent
A 5 17 - 20 A
B 4 - 4.99 14 - 16.99 B
C 3 - 3.99 11 - 13.99 C
D 2 - 2.99 8 - 10.99 D
E 1 - 1.99 0 - 7.99 F



8. Tasmania (TAS)


The island state Tasmania is home to only one University which is the University of Tasmania, but it also hosts the famous TasTAFE.


The table below shows the grade scale, followed by the University of Tasmania:


Australian Grade Grade Name Grade Scale US Equivalent
EA Excellent Achievement 4 A +
HA High Achievement 3.5 - 3.99 A
CA Commendable Achievement 3 - 3.49 B
SA Satisfactory Achievement 2.5 - 2.99 C
PA Preliminary Achievement 2 - 2.49 D



VET (Vocational Education and Training) Grades


The Vocational Education System in Australia includes the Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Certificates (I to IV). Most of the VET qualifications only have two grades, which either means you are competent (Pass), or you are not competent (Fail). 


If your institute decides to give you a graded score, your scores can be similar to university grades. But mostly, vocational courses are based on competency levels. The table below shows the grades provided by the Vocational Education Institutes:


Grade Grade Name Percentage
NYC Not Yet Competent (Fail) 0%
C Competent (Pass) 100%



Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary Grades (High Schools)


In Australia, the Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary education system incorporate Year 1 to Year 12. Every state and territory has its own Australian grading system in high school, but in general, most of the grades fall between A to F.  


An International student can take up education in Australia after the age of 6, and a full student result report is given at least twice a year to their parents.


So, if you are an overseas student who wants to study at a primary, secondary, or a senior secondary level, then you will have the following grades:


Grade Grade Name Percentage
A Excellent 85% and above
B Good 70% to 84%
C Satisfactory 51% to 69%
D Limited 31% to 50%
E Very Low 26% to 30%
F Fail Below 25%



Use of the GPA (Grade Point Average) System and the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks) Scores in Australia 


GPA scores are not very common in Australian universities, but it is sometimes used for courses such as medicine and law


To calculate the GPA score, you need to multiply the sum of all grade points with the course unit values and then divide it by the total number of credit points. 



Formula To Calculate The GPA:


GPA = Sum of ( Grade Point × Credit Points ) ÷ Sum of ( Credit Points )


The standard formula for calculating an Australian GPA is the sum of grade points x course unit values / by the total number of credit points.

On the other hand, ATAR scores are an important component of the Australian education system. If a student’s ATAR score is 80, it means that he/she has performed better than 80% of the students on the same steam.


Also, if a student exceeds a certain ATAR level, he/she will be offered Government-sponsored opportunities.


So far, this is all that you need to remember, but if you want to learn more about the Australian grading system, you can visit the website of each educational institution.



Frequently Asked Questions On The Australian Grading System



What Is A Good GPA In Australia?


A GPA of 6 and 7 are considered top scores at Australian universities. Employers also like to hire students within this GPA range.


For example, a GPA of 6 means that you have achieved a Distinction overall in your course and a GPA of 7 means you ended the program with a High Distinction, which is the highest achievement.



What Is The Highest GPA In Australia?


The number 7 is the highest (HD) GPA in Australia, and 0 is the lowest (fail). The grade point average (GPA) is the average result of all your grades and is based on a 7-point grading scale.


Is A GPA of 5.5 Good In Australia?


This GPA is considered a good one. It is in the upper higher range compared to the average GPA's in Australia.



What Grade Is 60 % In Australia?


Achieving 60% is a pass (P) and an average score in Australia.



What Grade Is 70 % In Australia?


It is a Credit (C) or Distinction (D) grade in Australia. However, you must check with your University as the grading system in Australia differs in each state.



Is 75 % an A grade In Australia?


For primary, secondary, or senior secondary schools (high schools), achieving 75% is a "B" grade, which is good. For universities or colleges, achieving a grading score between 70 and 84 per cent is a Distinction (D) grade, the second best grade.


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