Australian Grading System Explained: A Complete Guide

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


The grading system in Australia can be confusing for international students, as it varies from country to country.


Understanding that different universities, institutes, and states in Australia may utilise different grading systems is crucial. Therefore, checking with your educational institution or university to understand their grading system is always recommended.


This post explores the grading systems used in Australian universities, colleges, high schools, and vocational education and training (VET) providers. Additionally, it will explain what constitutes a good GPA and provide insights on GPA conversion.


It will help you navigate the various grading systems in Australia and provide information on determining a good GPA and converting it accurately.



Undergraduate & Postgraduate Courses University Grading System


The table below shows Australia's most common University grading system for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

You will also find equivalent American grades mentioned next to the Australian grades.


Universities might have minor variations in their grading scales depending on where they are located. We will discuss these differences further below.



Grade Name

Percentage (%)

GPA Scale

US Equivalent

HD High Distinction 85 - 100 7    A +
D Distinction 75 - 84 6 - 6.99 A
C Credit 65 - 74 5 - 5.99 B
P Pass 50 - 64 4 - 4.99 C
F Fail 49 and below 0 - 3.99 F




Grading System Differences Among Australian States



1. New South Wales (NSW)


New South Wales is a renowned study destination in Australia, housing multiple prestigious universities.


Charles Sturt University, Macquarie University, Southern Cross University, University of New England, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, The University of Technology Sydney, and Western Sydney University.


These universities follow the grade scale below to assess student performance.


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 globally recognised for its exceptional education system, which includes approximately nine prestigious universities.


Deakin University, Federation University Australia, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne, and Victoria University.


These universties adhere to the grading system illustrated in the table below.



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 is home to several prestigious universities that enjoy high rankings on a global scale.


Bond University, CQUniversity, Griffith University, James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, and the University of the Sunshine Coast.


The grading system followed by universities in Queensland is outlined in the table below.




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)


South Australia is known for its prestigious universities.


Torrens University Australia, University of Adelaide, and University of South Australia.


The below table shows the grading scale used by universities in 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)


Western Australia is home to multiple universities.


Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, and the University of Western Australia.


The following table showcases the grade scale used by universities in 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 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 illustrates the grading system followed by both institutions.



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 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



Honors Degree Grading


If you aspire to pursue an honours degree in Australia, the grading system may differ from that of a standard undergraduate degree.


Honours programs typically require an extra year of study, and the grading criteria for such degrees are presented below.



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



VET (Vocational Education and 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 Name

Percentage (%)

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



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 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 in Australia?


The grade point average (GPA) is a measure of your overall academic performance, which is determined by averaging all your grades. The GPA calculation is based on a four or seven-point grading scale.


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


In Australia, the standard formula for calculating GPA is as follows:


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


GPA represents the Grade Point Average.



What Are ATAR Scores In 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'.


ATAR scores play a crucial role in the Australian education system. 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.


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


In summary, the ATAR is a significant measure in the Australian education system, representing a student's performance compared to their peers and opening doors to various opportunities.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On The Australian Grading System



1. What Is A Good GPA In University Australia?


What GPA is considered good in Australian universities depends on the grading scale used by each university.


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


In universities following a GPA scale of 7, a GPA between 6 and 7 is excellent, also 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 by your 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 are Enrolled at a University Where a GPA of 4 is The Highest: 


  • A GPA of 4 corresponds to the highest grade (HD), while 0 represents the lowest grade (Fail).



If You are Studying at a University Where a GPA of 7 is The Highest:


  • 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. 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.. 


  • DI (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.


  • PS (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%.



5. 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).



6. 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)



7. 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).



8. 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.



9. 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.



10. 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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