Understanding the Difference in the American Grading System
Universities in the United States have a grading system that is often different from the grading system you are used to. Five different grades are possible in any class.
A – Outstanding (4 points)
B – Above Average (3 points)
C – Average (2 points)
D – Below Average (1 point)
F – Failure (0 points)
Some grades might also have plusses or minuses attached. See the Topic: Calculating Your GPA to determine how your overall grade point average is determined.
In most classes, grades will be based on a member of tests plus a final exam. But there are other grade elements as well. These include:
- Projects or Papers
- Participation in class
Each of these grade components will have a different grade weight. Your final grade in the class will then be determined by how you did in each of the grade elements.
As you can see, the grading system in American universities differs a lot from other countries which tend to have far fewer grades and a greater emphasis on a final exam.
To do well in an American class, you need to do well on all grade components. If you do very well on tests, but not do your other work, you could end up getting a D/F in the class..