UK to US grade conversion table: Everything you need to know

Whether you’re a British student eyeing American universities or an American student considering a UK education, understanding entry requirements is a must. The key to this is learning how your grades translate across the pond. 

In this article, we break down the complexities, providing conversion tables for both systems and offering information tailored to students on either side of the Atlantic. Stay tuned for valuable insights on the UK vs US grading system and conversion tables for final grades and test scores on each level of course/schooling!

Need guidance to secure a space at a top UK or US student? We are university admission experts, that’s why over 95% of our students get into their first and second-choice universities. Why should you miss out? Reach out to our expert UK university or US college admissions team to get started on claiming your future. 

We have articles on how to get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, MIT, NYU and the University of California as a UK applicant. We also have articles on how to get into Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh as a US applicant. Check them out for insider information!

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Understanding the UK grading system vs American

The UK grading system and the American grading system are completely separate entities, complex in their own right. They do not interconnect with each other at all, so it can be tricky to compare them and find direct comparisons between grades. So, we’ve taken this off your hands. Let’s walk through UK to US grade conversions per education level.

UK to US conversion table for levels of education and qualifications:

Below is a table that breaks down what education and qualifications UK and US students usually follow at specific age brackets:

AgeUK year group/sUS year group/sUK qualification/sUS qualification/s
14 to 16 years oldYear 10 and 11Grade 9 and 10GCSEsHigh School Transcript plus Honours or Advanced Placement
16 to 18 years oldYear 12 and 13Grade 11 and 12A level or IBHigh School Transcript plus Honors or Advanced Placement 
18 to 22 years old (can vary depending on course length)1st, 2nd, 3nd and sometimes 4th year of undergraduate universityFreshman, sophomore, junior and senior year of undergraduate collegeBachelor’s degree from a universityUndergraduate degree from a college or university
21 or 22 upwards.Postgraduate year (usually one year)Postgraduate year (usually one year)Postgraduate degree from a universityPostgraduate degree from a college or university
21 to 27 and upwards.3-4 years if full time4-6 years if full timePhD/doctoratePhD/doctorate
  • Please note that in the UK, most undergraduate degrees are three years long whilst in the US, they’re usually four years long, however, they’re considered equal qualifications. Some degrees (in both the UK and the US) have different lengths entirely, like Medicine for example. 
  • A standard full-time PhD in the UK is a couple of years shorter than in the US, however, they’re considered equal qualifications.
  • The ages entered in the table for university-level study are what’s common, however, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications can be taken by mature students (at older ages). 

UK to US GPA conversion table for GCSE grades:

Below is a table detailing the scale of UK GCSE grades alongside the equivalent US grades and GPA scores available in the High School Diploma:

UK GCSE gradeUS equivalent gradeUS GPA score
9 (High A*)A+4.0
8 (Low A* or high A)A4.0
7 (Low A)A-3.7
6 (High B)B+3.3
5 (Low B or high C)B3.0
4 (Low C)B-2.7
3 (D or high E)C+2.3
2 (Low E or high F)C2.0 – 1.7
1 (Low F or G)D1.3 – 1.0
UF0.0

Please note that the grade conversions above aren’t absolute. Schools may have different methods of converting UK/US grades and calculating individual GPA scores. It is recommended that you use the table for your personal use as an indicator of your US grades, rather than using it to convert your grades and quoting these in your application to avoid misrepresentation. 

Generally, 5 GCSEs (at grade 4 and above) from a UK school are considered equal to a complete US High School Diploma (without Honours or AP grades). So, 5 GCSEs at grade 9 are likely to be valued with more weight than 5 standard class grades in a High School Diploma at grade A+. 

UCAS released this statement: “The American High School Graduation Diploma, can on its own, be considered acceptable in lieu of GCSE (grades A*- C or the new 9-4 grades) provided an average grade C-4 is obtained in subjects which have counterparts in the GCSE syllabus.”

It’s worth clarifying that even though this table does not include AP and Honours classes, US students can already take such classes in their earlier years of High School. Hence, if you’re applying to join a UK school, it’s a good idea to take AP and Honours classes and do well in them to show your academic aptitude and impress them. 

On the other hand, if you’re a UK student applying to join a US school it could boost your application to complete an independent project and/or complete a GCSE early (if you haven’t started your GCSEs already).

Students add to their High School Diploma throughout the whole of High School (secondary school), hence it is not yet complete until their final year (the equivalent of year 12 for UK applicants). So, an overall GPA is determined from all High School (secondary school) grades. 

Hence, if you’re a UK candidate it’s ideal if you’ve taken a wider variety of GCSEs with good grades, creating a high GPA. If you’re a US applicant, you should be aiming for top grades as your US grades may be converted to slightly lower in the UK.

To calculate your overall GPA, check with your relevant institution whether it should be weighted or not. A general GPA will create an even score from 0-4 from all of your grades. A weighted GPA will give classes deemed more important a higher percentage in calculating a final number. Also, some institutions follow a GPA of 0-5 rather than 4, so always check this. 

The UK grading system does not use GPAs, so if you’re applying to the UK you should focus on individual grades per subject, but it’s worth calculating your GPA if you intend to apply to an American institution.

If you need help smashing your GCSEs or retaking, reach out to our incredible tutors. We also have an expert US and UK admissions team covering High School/Secondary School as well as university. Our team members cover all bases and no aim is too high.

UK to US conversion table for A level/IB grades:

If you’re wondering how to compare grades in A level, AS (now cancelled), International Baccalaureate, High School Diploma, AP and/or GPA scores then check out the table below.

UK A level gradeUK AS level gradeIB gradeUS High School Diploma and/or Honours gradeUS AP gradeUS GPA score
A*6.00-7.00A+54.0+
AA6.00-7.00A44.0
BBUp to 5.99B+33.3
CC5.99 or aboveB33.00
DDUp to 4.99C+22.3
EE4.00 or aboveC22.00
3.00-3.99D11.00-1.3
1.00-2.99E0
UngradedUngraded0.00-0.99F0

Keep in mind that IB students can take a range of subjects at Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL). This means that HL scores are often valued with more weight than SL scores. 

As previously mentioned, the US high school diploma is an ongoing grade portfolio that students add to throughout High School. Their last two years are generally looked at more closely. Hence, they may receive a weighted GPA where later subject grades hold more value. Similarly, Honours and/or AP scores might be given a weighted GPA as opposed to regular scores.

In the UK, students usually take 3 to 4 A levels or 6 IB subjects. In the US, students usually take 3 to 4 APs each year, amounting from 7 to 14 overall, depending on the student’s academic aptitude and university goals. 

If you’re a UK student applying to a US university, you should keep in mind that US universities might consider your GCSEs with more interest than UK schools as they take a more holistic approach and may liken your GCSEs to the High School Diploma. 

Beyond this, most top US universities expect a minimum GPA of 3.5 upwards which is equivalent to straight A’s in your A levels/IB. For US admissions, the ACT and SAT are no longer mandatory for many universities. However, completing it and attaining a high score will almost certainly boost your chances of getting an offer (except for US universities that do not accept standardised tests).

If you’re a US student applying to a UK university, you should keep in mind that your APs in your final two years will be looked at by UK institutions with much more importance! Top UK universities often require applicants to have a minimum of 3 to 5 APs within two years of matriculation with grades 4 to 5. 

That said, UK universities will still look at your High School Diploma as a whole, so make sure it doesn’t let you down. Many UK universities ask international applicants for SAT/ACT scores over a certain threshold; this is sometimes instead of their AP requirements and sometimes as well as them, so always check. 

It’s important to remember that UK universities usually expect candidates to have subject-specific qualifications e.g. if you’re applying for Maths they will expect you to have APs in Maths and STEM subjects, whereas if you’re applying for English Literature you’ll be expected to have taken APs in English Literature and perhaps Language. Similarly, if you’re applying for a foreign language, they will expect you to have an AP in that language at the very least.

Top UK and US universities that require SAT/ACT scores usually expect between 1400-1550 in the SAT, and 30-35 in the ACT. 

Need help claiming your offer to a top US or UK university? We know how to succeed! We also have experienced tutors who can help you get top grades in your A levels, IB, SAT or ACT. Just reach out. 

Again, please note that the grade conversions above aren’t absolute. Schools may have different methods of converting your UK grades and calculating your individual GPA scores.

US to UK conversion table for undergraduate degree grades:

The US and UK have a very different system when it comes to classifying their undergraduate university scores. Take a look: 

ScaleUK classification US grade equivalentUS GPA equivalent
70-100%First Class Honours (1st)A4.0
65-69%Upper Second Class Honours (2:1)A-3.7
60-64%Upper Second Class Honours (2:1)B+3.3
50-59%Lower Second Class Honours (2:2) B3.0
40-49%Lower Second Class Honours (2:2)B-2.7
30-39%Third-Class Honours (3rd)C1.7 – 2.3
0-30%FailF0

The table above shows the US equivalent grades to scores at a UK university. It’s worth keeping in mind that getting 80-100% at a UK university is rare and outstanding. Achieving so highly would usually result in achieving a starred first, and sometimes an award. Hence, 70% is a First (top grade) in the UK, whereas 70% at a US university would typically be a C- (1.7 GPA). 

This does not mean one system is easier to achieve highly in than the other, it just reflects a difference in grading whereby it is harder to achieve 70% in the UK than in the US and this is reflected in the UK/US grade classifications they translate into.

Once again, please note that the grade conversions above aren’t absolute. Universities may have different methods of converting your UK grades and calculating your individual GPA scores. For instance, in some cases, the conversion is calculated as follows:

  • +70% = A = 4.0 GPA
  • 60-69% = B = 3.3-3.9 GPA
  • 50-59% = C = 2.7-3.2 GPA
  • 40-49% = D = 2.0-2.6 GPA
  • Below 40% = F (fail) = 1.0-1.9 GPA

Want help throughout your university studies to do your very best? We offer experienced university-level tutors who can coach you to achieve top grades. We also have postgraduate admission experts who know exactly how to secure a spot at top UK and US institutions. Let us know what you need and let’s achieve it together. 

US to UK conversion table for postgraduate degree grades:

This table details compares postgraduate grade classifications in the UK and US based on a standard scoring scale:

ScaleUK classificationUS grade equivalentUS GPA
70-100%Distinction A3.7 – 4.0
65-69%MeritA-3.3 – 3.7
60-64%MeritB+3.0 – 3.3
50-59%PassB2.7 – 3.0
0-49%FailF

Again, please note that the grade conversions above aren’t absolute. Universities may have different methods of converting your UK grades and calculating your individual GPA scores. 

Want help throughout your postgraduate degree to do your very best? We offer experienced postgraduate tutors in all disciplines who can coach you to achieve top grades. 

US to UK conversion table for PhD degree grades:

The US and UK have a very different system when it comes to classifying their PhD scores. Take a look: 

ScaleUK classification US GPA equivalent 
70+Distinction4.0
65-69Merit3.7
60-64Pass3.3
55-59Pass3.0
50-54Pass2.7
49 or belowFail2.3 or below

Again, please note that the grade conversions above aren’t absolute. Universities may have different methods of converting your UK grades and calculating your individual GPA scores. 

Reach out if you need help from our expert PhD tutors who can help you attain a top qualification in your field that will help you open all kinds of doors! Let us know what you need and let’s achieve it together. 

Important notice re the British grading scale to American

It’s important to consider that different institutions may have different methods of converting your British grades to American grades or vice versa. Hence, grade conversions in this article are helpful indicators rather than absolute.

When applying to institutions, avoid translating your qualifications because if they use a different metric, you might seem dishonest or as though you’re trying to inflate your grades. In fact, you might even do a disservice by presenting your grades as lower than the institution would perceive them.

For applicants to UK institutions, If you really want to convert your grades into UK grades, you can use this service on the UK ENIC website (the official and government-backed national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills), but for a fee.

Also, if you’re a UK student applying for education at a US institution or vice versa, it’s unlikely you will have to take an English language proficiency test as you have been living in an English-speaking country and presumably receiving education in English. However, some institutions have a policy to request English language proficiency scores from international students unless they request a waiver, so always check whether you need to request an exemption. 

Don’t go through the UK or US university application process alone. Expectations can be confusing or intimidating, but there’s no reason for you to not succeed. Speak to our UK and US admissions experts; we can help you secure your offer.

Get into your dream university

As you embark on your academic journey, armed with the knowledge of UK to US grade conversions, The Profs encourage you to aim for the top. 

Remember, understanding how your grades translate is the key to unlocking opportunities in global education. Whether you’re eyeing a prestigious UK institution or venturing across the Atlantic to a top-tier US college, we hope our conversion guide has equipped you with valuable insights. Need more? Chat with our expert UK or US university admissions team, plenty of whom used to be on exam boards and work as admissions officers for top UK and US universities!

If you’re ready to commit to your goals, then reach out. Our team offers expert tutoring and coaching specific to your discipline and level of study. Our consultancy delivers personalised advice to guide you to success. Let’s ensure your academic journey is successful!