Australian Grading System Explained: A Complete Guide

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


Grades in Australia can confuse students because each university location might have its own grading system.


It's good to check with your specific university or school to understand how they grade. Our blog discusses Australian universities' grading systems for different states and territories in Australia, including for colleges and high schools.


We also explain GPAs (Grade Point Averages) and ATAR scores (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) to get a better understanding.


You've come to the right place if you're seeking clarification on Australian grading systems.


Let's get started!



Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses


While most universities use similar grading scales (F - HD), some might employ different percentage scales (49 -100).


The grading scale in the table below is the most commonly used in Australia for undergraduate courses (Bachelor's Degree Programs) and postgraduate courses (Master's Degree Programs).


You also find equivalent American (US) and British (UK) grades mentioned next to the Australian grades. These universities might have minor variations in their grading scales.


We will further discuss the specific grading systems and scales used for each university location in Australia later in this blog.


Grade Grade Name Grade Scale (%) GPA US Equivalent UK Equivalent
HD High Distinction 85 - 100 7 A + First Class
D Distinction 75 - 84 6 - 6.99 A Second Class - Upper Division
C Credit 65 - 74 5 - 5.99 B Second Class - Lower Division
P Pass 50 - 64 4 - 4.99 C Third Class
F Fail 49 and below 0 - 3.99 F Fail



Honors Degree Grading


Compared to a standard undergraduate degree (Bachelor's Degree Program), an honours degree involves an additional year of study.


To earn an honours degree, you must do independent research in your field after finishing your third year of a bachelor's degree, with supervision.


Here's what the honours degree grades look like:


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



VET Education (Vocational Education & Training) Grades


The Australian Vocational Education System offers various qualifications such as Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, and Certificates (ranging from I to IV).


In this system, most VET qualifications are characterised by a binary grading system, indicating whether a student is competent (Pass) or not competent (Fail) in their studies.


While some institutes may provide graded scores similar to university grades, vocational courses' primary focus is assessing competency levels.


The table below outlines the grading scale employed by Vocational Education Institutes.


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



University Grading Systems as per Australia's States and Territories



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:


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 00 - 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:


Grade Grade Name US Equivalent
A Highest Grade 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, University of Queensland, and Griffith University.


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

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:


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:


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 prominent universities in the Australian Capital Territory are the University of Canberra and the Australian National University.


The table below shows the grade scale followed by universities in the Australian Capital Territory.


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: 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 in Australia has two prestigious universities: Charles Darwin University and Flinders University.


The below table shows the grading system followed by both institutions.


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 of Tasmania is home to only one University, the University of Tasmania (UTAS), but it also hosts the famous TasTAFE.


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


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



High School (Secondary School) Grading System in Australia


In Australia, the education system encompasses Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary levels, covering Years 1 to 12. While each state and territory may have minor variations in their high school grading systems, grades typically range from A to F.


International students can commence their education in Australia from age 6, and student result reports are typically provided to parents at least twice a year.


Whether you are a domestic or overseas student pursuing studies at the primary, secondary, or senior secondary level (high school), the following grades apply.


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%



What Is a GPA (Grade Point Average) Scale in Australia?


Before enrolling in an Australian course, it's vital to understand GPAs (Grade Point Averages). GPAs are numerical assessments of academic performance, calculated using the formula:

GPA = (Sum of (Grade Point x Credit Points) ÷ Sum of Credit Points).


Australian universities use either a 4-point or 7-point GPA scale. This standardised system facilitates the comparison of students' academic performance in Australia.


Here's a table that shows how GPAs work in Australia on both scales:


Grade Scale (%) 7 - Point
GPA Scale
4 - Point
GPA Scale
US Equivalent UK Equivalent
85 - 100 7 4 A + First Class
75 - 84 6 - 6.99 3 A Second Class - Upper Division
65 - 74 5 - 5.99 2 B Second Class - Lower Division
50 - 64 4 - 4.99 1 C Third Class
0 - 49 0 - 3.99 0 F Fail



What Are ATAR Scores In Australia?


ATAR scores play a crucial role in the Australian education system when you are a high school or secondary school student.


For instance, if a student receives an ATAR score of 80, it means they have outperformed 80% of all other students in their final year across Australia.


The ATAR, or Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, is a score ranging from 0 to 99.95, increasing by increments of 0.05. The highest rank is 99.95, followed by 99.90, and so on. Any rank below 30.00 is not specifically reported and is indicated as 'less than 30'.


Furthermore, exceeding a certain ATAR level can provide students with Government-sponsored opportunities.


The ATAR represents a student's performance compared to their peers and opens doors to various opportunities.



How Does The Education System Work in Australia?


The Australian education system encompasses School Education (kindergarten to grades 6-7, secondary school to grades 7-10/8-10, and senior education to grades 11-12) and Tertiary education (higher education and vocational training).


The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) unifies accredited institutions, allowing for easy transfers. Study durations vary:




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



1. What Is A Good GPA In Australia?


To find out what a good GPA in Australian universities is, you need to understand the grading scales:

  • In universities with a GPA scale of 4, a GPA between 3 and 4 is exceptional, equivalent to a Distinction or Higher Distinction grade.


  • In universities with a GPA scale 7, a GPA between 6 and 7 is excellent, equivalent to a Distinction or Higher Distinction.



2. What Is The Highest GPA In Australia?


The highest GPA achievable depends on the grading scale implemented the university.


To determine the highest GPA at your university, it is essential to consult with the institution. In Australia, there are two distinct GPA scales, one ranging up to 4 and the other up to 7.


Below are the highest GPAs for each grading scale: 



  • If You Study at a University With a GPA Scale of 4: A GPA of 4 corresponds to the highest grade (HD), while 0 represents the lowest grade (Fail).


  • If You Study at a University With a GPA Scale of 7: A GPA of 7 signifies the highest grade (HD), and 0 signifies the lowest grade (Fail).


To determine which grading scale applies to your academic program, it is crucial to inquire with your school.



3. Is A GPA of 5.5 Good In Australia?


In Australia, a GPA of 5.5 is regarded as excellent and above the average level. It falls within the upper and higher range when compared to lower GPAs.



4. Are There any GPA Calculators?


Yes, there are GPA calculators available in Australia. Many universities and educational institutions provide online tools or calculators that allow students to calculate their GPA based on the grading system used by their specific institution.


These calculators consider each course's credit hours or weightage and help determine the overall GPA.



5. What Are The Grades at University In Australia?


You can find below the most common grades for universities in Australia:


  • HD (High Distinction): To achieve this grade, you must attain a score between 85 and 100%. It signifies an exceptional level of learning outcomes.. 


  • D (Distinction): Falling within the score range of 75 to 84% earns you a Distinction. This grade indicates a very high standard of learning outcomes.


  • CR (Credit): Scoring between 65 and 74% grants you a Credit grade. It reflects an excellent level of learning outcomes.


  • P (Pass): When you demonstrate an acceptable standard of learning outcomes for a unit, you receive a Pass grade. The score range for this grade is between 50 and 64%.


  • FA (Fail): If you fail to meet the satisfactory learning outcomes for a course or assignment, you will receive an "FA" grade. The score range for this grade is between 0 and 49%.



6. What is a High Distinction (HD) at Uni in Australia?


A High Distinction (HD) mark or grade in Australia is awarded for outstanding academic performance, often with a percentage grade of 85% or above. It is considered a top-level grade indicating excellent mastery of the subject matter.



7. What is a Distinction (D) at Uni in Australia?



A Distinction is granted to students in Australia who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, usually with a percentage grade ranging from 75% to 84%. This grade signifies a commendable accomplishment and reflects a firm grasp of the subject.



8. Is 50% a Passing Grade in Australia?

In Australia, a passing grade is generally 50%. However, passing grade requirements may vary among institutions and courses.


It's advisable to check the grading policies of the institution or course in question, as they may have different thresholds for passing grades.



9. Can You Convert ATAR To GPA?


No. ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) and GPA (Grade Point Average) are different grading systems used for different purposes and cannot be directly converted.


The ATAR is used primarily for university admissions in Australia, while GPA measures academic performance based on a specific grading scale.


10. What Grade Is 60% In Australia?


In most Australian states, attaining a score of 60% in a course or assignment is considered a passing grade (P).


However, it differs in Western Australia, where earning 60% results in a credit grade (C - Sound Achievement).



11. What Grade Is 70% In Australia?


In Australian universities and colleges, scoring 70% typically corresponds to a Credit (C), Distinction (D), or High Achievement (B) grade. However, it's important to note that the grading system in Australia may vary across different states.


Below are the grades assigned to each state of Australia for achieving a score of 70%:


  • New South Wales (NSW) - Grade: CR (Credit)

  • South Australia (SA) - Grade: CR (Credit)

  • Western Australia (WA) - Grade: B (High Achievement)

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Grade: B (High Standard of Achievement)



12. What Grade Is 70% in High School?


In Australia, for Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary education (High Schools), obtaining a minimum score of 70% in a course, subject, or assignment is considered a "B" grade (Good).



13. Is 80% an "A" in Australian High Schools?


In high schools throughout Australia, a grade of "B" (Good) is awarded for attaining a minimum score of 80%. To receive an "A" grade (Excellent), students must score 85% or higher in any given subject, course, or assignment.



14. What Percentage is an "A" in Australia?


Generally, an A grade in secondary or high school in Australia falls between 85% to 100%.



15. Is 75 % an "A" Grade In Australia?


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



16. Is a "C" Grade a Pass in Australia?


In Australian high schools, a "C" grade is considered satisfactory.


However, in universities, the grade is called a "Credit", reflecting an excellent learning outcome. This applies to New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia universities.


In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the "C" grade is known as the "Acceptable Standard of Achievement." Meanwhile, in Western Australia (WA), it is called a "Sound Achievement."





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.


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