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 academic grading system varies from one country to the other. In Australia, students may need help understanding the grading system.


Understanding that every university, institute, or state may have a different grading system in Australia is essential. Therefore, you must check with the university, college or high school about their grading system.


This blog explains Australian grading systems, scales and GPAs for universities, high schools, colleges and vocational education and training providers (VET). You will also learn what a good GPA is and what the highest GPAs are.                                                                                                                                                                         


Basic Australian University Grading Scale


The table below demonstrates the general grading system common among most Australian universities. It’s important to note that these universities might have minor variations in their grading scales.


The university grading scale below is relevant to Australian undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. You will also find equivalent American and British grades mentioned next to the Australian grades.


Australian Grade

Grade Name

Percentage (%)

GPA Scale

US Equivalent

UK Equivalent

HD High Distinction 83 - 100 7 A + First Class
D Distinction 73 - 82.99 6 - 6.99 A Second Class
Upper Division
C Credit 63 - 72.99 5 - 5.99 B Second Class
Lower Division
P Pass 50 - 62.99 4 - 4.99 C Third Class
N Fail 0 - 49.99 0 - 3.99 F Fail



University Grading Systems In Different States And Territories of Australia



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:


  • Australian Catholic University

  • 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

  • University of Wollongong

  • Western Sydney University


The table below shows the grade scale followed by universities in New South Wales:


Australian 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 0 0 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 nine different universities, including:


  • Deakin University

  • Federation University Australia

  • La Trobe University

  • Monash University

  • RMIT University

  • Swinburne University of Technology

  • University of Melbourne

  • Victoria University


The table below shows the grading system followed by universities in Victoria:


Australian 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 top-ranking universities worldwide, including:


  • Bond University

  • CQUniversity

  • Griffith University

  • James Cook University

  • Queensland University of Technology

  • University of Queensland

  • University of Southern Queensland

  • University of the Sunshine Coast


The table below shows the grade scale followed by universities in Queensland:


Australian 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 include:


  • Flinders University

  • Torrens University Australia

  • University of Adelaide

  • University of South Australia


The table below shows the grade scale followed by universities in South Australia:


Australian 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 are the:


  • Curtin University

  • Edith Cowan University

  • Murdoch University

  • University of Notre Dame Australia

  • University of Western Australia


The table below shows the grade scale followed by universities in Western Australia:


Australian 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 major tertiary institutions of higher education in the Australian Capital Territory include:


  • The University of Canberra

  •  Australian National University


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


Australian 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 of Australia is home to two universities:


  • Charles Darwin University

  • Flinders University


The table below shows the grade scale followed by both universities:


Australian 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, but it also hosts the famous TasTAFE.


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


Australian 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



Honors Degree Grading


The grades might look different if you want to pursue an honours degree in Australia. 


Compared to a standard undergraduate degree, an honours degree involves an additional year of study. Here’s what the honours degree grades look like:


Australian Grade

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 Vocational Education System in Australia includes Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas, and Certificates (I to IV). Most VET qualifications only have two grades, meaning you are competent (Pass) or incapable (Fail).


If your institute gives you a graded score, your scores can be similar to university grades. But primarily, vocational courses are based on competency levels.


The table below shows the grades provided by the Vocational Education Institutes:



Grade Name

Percentage (%)

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



Australian High School Grading System

Australia's Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary education systems incorporate Years 1 to 12. Every state and territory might have a slightly different grading system for high school, but generally, most grades fall between A to F.


An international student can take up education in Australia after age 6, and a student result report is given at least twice a year to their parents.


So, if you are an overseas or domestic student who wants to study at a primary, secondary, or senior secondary level (high school), then you will have the following grades:



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 the average result of all your grades and depends on a four or seven-point grading scale.


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


The standard formula for calculating an Australian GPA is the sum of grade points x course unit values / by the total number of credit points. Let's look at the formula below:


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


  • GPA = Grade Point Average



What Are ATAR Scores In Australia?


The ATAR is a score that ranges between 0 and 99.95, with increments of 0.05. The topmost rank is 99.95, followed by 99.90, and so on. Any rank below 30.00 is not reported specifically and is denoted as 'less than 30'.

ATAR scores are an essential component of the Australian education system. If a student's ATAR score is 80, they have performed better than 80% of all other final-year students across Australia.


Also, if a student exceeds a certain ATAR level, they will be offered Government-sponsored opportunities.



  • ATAR = Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks



Frequently Asked Questions On The Australian Grading System



1. What Is A Good GPA In University Australia?



A good GPA in Australia depends on the grading scale the University is using. Each state and territory has different grading scales:


  • When The University Follows The GPA Scale of 4: GPAs between 3 and 4 are considered exceptional scores in Australian universities and among Australian employers. A GPA of 3 or 4 is a Distinction or Higher Distinction grade.


  • When The University Follows The GPA Scale of 7: GPAs between 6 and 7 are considered excellent scores in Australian universities and among employers. A GPA of 6 or 7 is a Distinction or Higher Distinction.



2. What Is The Highest GPA In Australia?


The highest GPA depends on the grading scale your university is using. You must check with your university to find the highest GPA. Australia has two different GPA scales, one reaching 4 and one 7.


The below shows the highest GPAs for the following grading scales:



If You Study at a University Where a GPA of 4 Is The Highest:


  • 4 is the highest (HD) GPA, and 0 is the lowest (Fail).



If You Study at a University Where a GPA of 7 Is The Highest:


  • 7 is the highest (HD) GPA, and 0 is the lowest (Fail).



You must check with your school to know which grading scale to follow.



3. Is A GPA of 5.5 Good In Australia?


A GPA of 5.5 is considered a good one and above average in Australia. It is in the upper and higher range 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): You must achieve a score between 85 and 100% to receive this grade. For this, you must display an exceptional learning outcome. 


  • DI (Distinction): The score range for this grade is between 75 and 84 %. To fall into this grading bracket, you must show a very high standard of learning outcomes.


  • CR (Credit): You receive this grade if you score between 65 and 74 % in your assignment or course. You must prove an excellent standard of learning outcome. 


  • PS (Pass): You will receive this grade when you demonstrate an acceptable standard of learning outcomes for the unit. The score range is between 50 and 64 %.


  • FA (Fail): You will receive an "FA" grade when you fail to meet satisfactory learning outcomes of the courses or assignments. The score range is between 0 and 49.



5. What Grade Is 60% In Australia?


In most Australian states, achieving 60% in your course or assignment is a pass (P). However, this is different for Western Australia, where you receive a credit (C - Sound Achievement) when gaining 60%.



6. What Grade Is 70% In Australia?


In Australian universities and colleges, 70% is either a Credit (C), Distinction (D) or (B) High Achievement grade in Australia. The grading system in Australia differs in each state.


You can find below the grades in each state of Australia when achieving 70%:

  • New South Wales (NSW) - 70% - Grade: CR (Credit)

  • South Australia (SA) - 70% - Grade: CR (Credit)

  • Western Australia (WA) - 70% - Grade: B (High Achievement)

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - 70% - Grade: B (High Standard of Achievement)



7. What Grade Is 70% in High School?


For Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary education (High Schools) across Australia, achieving 70% in a course, subject, or assignment is a 'B" grade (Good).


8. Is 80% an A in Australian High Schools?


No. 80% is a "B" grade (Good) in high schools across Australia. To achieve an "A" grade (Excellent), you must earn at least 85% and above 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?


A "C" is a satisfactory grade in Australian high schools.


However, for universities, the same grade is a "Credit". This applies to some New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australian universities.


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