A Guide to Understanding the 13 Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide

Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide
Masters Degree

A Guide to Understanding the 13 Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide

Have you heard about the 13 weirdest grading systems worldwide? Worldwide, grading systems differ when you go from country to country. Some are pretty easy to understand, while others are more complicated. There are different kinds of grading systems. They differ both by type and by country.

After all, some countries have generalized grading systems. On the other hand, others have different ones in their country. Here are the 13 weirdest grading systems worldwide. UniApp has your back, so you can try to understand them if you encounter one of them at the top study destinations!

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The 13 Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide

Without further ado, let’s jump into the 13 weirdest grading systems around the globe. Like you, we were confused that even 13 grading systems existed! Shall we get started?

1. Balanced Grading System

The first type of grading system we will talk about is the balanced Grading system. If you have failed an exam during the time when you chose to study a master’s degree then there’s no need to worry. That is if your school implements this system. This system lets students retake exams or do assignments again if they have failed them.

Students can continue to repeat them. That’s until they pass them and show they have become well-informed on the subject. Schools that implement this system say it’s very successful. This is because it allows students to take a genuine interest in learning. They tend to want to improve themselves, while instructors can easily see where a student lacks. That means they can focus on helping them in their areas of weakness. 

Read more: How universities grade students: Here’s a look at the famous grading systems

2. Self-assessed grading system

The following grading system that is abnormal is the self-assessed grading system. In this system, students can set their own success measures and try to meet them. It gives students practice in setting expectations and then meeting them. However, remember that it might not be suitable for all students. This is because some of them may set the bar low and not make any effort at all. This is why this grading system should be used with caution.

Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide
Student earned a B- for Good Effort!

3. The 50-to-100 grading scale

Another grading system that some schools apply is the 50 to 100 grading scale. This might be applied whether you choose to study a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. This system deletes all grades between 0 to 49 to help motivate students. This means that students who put in a big effort and still get low grades will stay positive.

This prevents them from dropping out or giving up. The passing grade in these systems is 60. On the other hand, the lowest grade you can receive is a 50. The only problem is that lazy students can put in minimal effort and still pass, even if they don’t deserve to! 

Read more: The US grading system: Facts you may feel in need to know

4. Metacognitive Grading system 

The metacognitive grading system is another grading scheme that might be a little strange. It’s a grading approach where students do some self-reflection after an exam or project. Instead of being awarded a grade, they think about what they learned. They also consider how they can apply this knowledge practically. Finally, they talk about how they can continue studying in this study area. They are graded based on their answers! 

5. Pass-fail system

In this grading scheme, students either pass or fail the project or exam. The grades aren’t numbers or letters. Instead, they are simply passed or failed based on their performance. This grading system was first developed to decrease stress and tension in classes. It is also supposed to encourage students to take more challenging courses than they might have taken on if such a system wasn’t implemented.

6. Student Learning Evaluation grading system 

Another grading system is especially for those who study social science degrees. It’s called the Student Learning Evaluation (SLE) grading system. Professors submit these evaluations after each course has been completed. They note down if the student has achieved their goals and what areas of improvement they can make.

They also say if credit was awarded to them. If credit is awarded, students have achieved the minimum grade of C. When this system is applied, students can request a grade or numerical equivalent. That is so they can get an actual grade instead of using this system. 

Read more: Your Guide to a Master’s Degree in Social Work

7. The seven contracts grading system

Yet another strange grading system is the seven contracts grading system. In this grading system, students are asked to complete seven “contracts” with advisers. These contracts state what the student will accomplish during the semester. This can include courses, projects and internships.

They also write in them what success is considered to be for each student. At the end of every course or project, professors write down evaluations about the student. They also state what successes have been achieved. Students receive grades based on how well they have followed through on these seven contracts! What a strange one of the weirdest grading systems worldwide! 

The Weirdest Grading Systems Worldwide by Country 

There are also weird grading scales by country that are considered abnormal. From the grading scale in the Netherlands to the Australian one, there are super strange grading schemes. These can truly make you raise an eyebrow if you don’t understand them. Read on to learn about some weird grading scales by country. 

8. The Grading System in the Netherlands

If you want to study in the Netherlands, they have a pretty strange grading system there. The system follows a 1 to 10 scale. In this scheme, 1 is the worst grade, and 10 is the best grade you can score. Grades can also follow a percentage system, with a grade of 1 being a score of 1 to 5 per cent. 

At the same rate, a score of 2 is a score of 5 to 15 per cent. The score three means you got a score of 15 to 25 per cent, and so on until 10 is considered a score of 95 to 100 per cent correct. The grading system in the Netherlands has 6 as the passing grade. That means if you score 5, you get a failed score. 

Read more: How the grading system in USA is Different from that of the Netherlands?

9. The Grading System in Spain

There’s also a bit of an abnormal system in use in Spain. Those who want to study in Spain will find a similar 10-point system to the one in the Netherlands. However, in Spain, these grades are translated into rankings. A score of 10 lets you achieve an honorary grade or “Matrícula de Honor”. A grade of 9 to 10 is an outstanding grade or “Sobresaliente”. A score of 7 to 8.9 is an excellent grade or “Notable”.

Furthermore, a grade ranging from 5  to 6.9 is a passing grade, known in Spanish as  “Aprobado”. Finally, scoring a 0 to 4.9 grade is a failing grade, or “Suspenso”. The grades will then be converted into the transcript of records. They follow this list with a score of 4 corresponding to “Matrícula de Honor”, 3 corresponding to “Sobresaliente”, 2 relating to “Notable”, and 1 translating to “Aprobado”. 

Read more: 5 Best English-Taught Universities in Spain in 2023

10. The Grading System in Germany

The German system is also a different system when it comes to grading. If your dream is to study in Germany then you should know that if you get a grade of 1, then it’s “sehr gut” or very good.

In Germany, a grade of 2+, 2 or 2- means you scored a “good” grade. On the other hand, a grade of 3+, 3 or 3 is a “Satisfactory” grade. A score of 4+ or 4 is a “Sufficient” grade, 4-. Furthermore, a grade of 5+, 5 or 5 is “Below Requirements”,  while a grade of 6 is a failing grade. 

Read more: The German University Grading System Made Easy

11. The Grading System in Switzerland 

In Switzerland, the grading system is also one of the weirdest grading systems worldwide. The grading scheme ranges between 1 and 6, with 4 being the passing grade. In the Swiss system, 6 is an Excellent grade, 5.5 is an excellent grade, and 5 is a good grade.

Alternatively, a score of 4.5 is a relatively good grade, while 4 is a passing grade. A grade of 3.5 is a failure grade, while 3 is a poor grade. If you score a 2.5, you score an inferior grade, while 2 is an extremely poor grade. However, a grade of 1 means you gained no performance at all. Finally, scoring a 0 is an absence without good cause, cheating or an attempt to cheat.

Read more: Studying in Switzerland isn’t a Dream Anymore | An Ultimated Guide for YOU!

12. The Grading System in the United Kingdom 

The United Kingdom also has a unique grading system. In this grading system, there are several different types of grades available. These grades range from the Honours system to letters and also percentages. The most common system used is the honours system, which translates to number grades.

For example, achieving First-class honours means you scored a 70% or higher. Second-class honours, upper division scores mean you scored between 60 and 69 per cent. Further, Second-class honours, lower division, means you got a score between 50 and 59%. Third-class honours typically mean you scored anywhere between 40 and 49 per cent. If you got less than that, you graduated without honours. If you scored enough, this could be known as a passing score. 

Read more: The differences between studying at university in the UK and the USA

13. The Grading System in Australia

Perhaps the strangest system by country is the Australian grading system. If you want to study in Australia, you’ll need to take a little bit of time to understand the grading system. We even feel confused trying to interpret this system! Universities in Australia use two grading systems, both based on letters.

The most common system used is the following: 

  • HD (High Distinction), which translates to scoring an 85% or above. 
  • D (Distinction), which equals scoring a grade ranging from 75 to 84%. 
  • Cr (Credit), which equals scoring from 65 to 74 per cent. 
  • P (Pass), which equals scoring between 50 to 64 per cent. 
  • F (Fail), which equals scoring a 49% or under. 

Australia also follows the United Kingdom’s marking system, so it also implements the following system in some areas: 

  • H1 (First Class Honours): Getting First class honours means you scored an 80% or above.  
  • H2A (Second Class Honours – A Division): Getting this score means you got a score of 75 – 79%. 
  • H2B (Second Class Honours – B Division): Achieving this score means you got a score between 70 – 74%. 
  • H3 (Third Class Honours): Scoring Third Class Honours mean you achieved a score ranging from 65 – 69%. 
  • P (Pass): This means you achieved grades between 50 – 64%. 
  • N (Fail): Finally, this means you scored below 50%. 

You can also see other exceptional grades in the Australian grading system. These include the score of NGP or Non-Graded Pass. This is when someone needs a qualitative rather than quantitative grade. The NGF, or Non-Graded Fail, is the same but for the failure score. The F1 (Pass Conceded) score is sometimes awarded if you score a grade between 53 and 55. 


In conclusion, those are the weirdest grading systems worldwide. From the ones by country to the other abnormal grading systems like the Balanced Grading System and the seven contracts grading system, they are genuinely confusing!  If you want to study in a country, you should try to find out what grading scales they use in the country before travelling. This is so you can understand how well you are doing before you go.

Understanding the system can help you avoid a whole lot of confusion. However, don’t worry! You can always turn back to our guide if you feel perplexed. If you still don’t know which study destination you want to pick for your degree, Uniapp can help you figure it out. Just reach out! 

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