How Do Grades Work in China?

Introduction to the Chinese Grading System

China's educational system employs a grading approach that significantly differs from Western standards, tailored to its vast and competitive educational environment. The grading system in China varies by educational level—primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary and Secondary Education Grading

During primary and secondary education, grades are typically reported on a scale of 100, mirroring a student's exam performance in percentage terms. In most schools, this scale is further broken down into letter grades, where:

  • 90 to 100 is considered outstanding (A).
  • 80 to 89 indicates good performance (B).
  • 70 to 79 is viewed as average (C).
  • 60 to 69 suggests a pass (D).
  • Below 60 often represents a fail (F).

These letter grades help standardize performance assessments across various regions and schools, ensuring that a grade "A" in one school reflects a similar level of achievement as in another.

University Level Grading

At the university level, grading can differ slightly. Many universities use a five-point scale or a letter system similar to that of the US, including:

  • A (Excellent): 90-100
  • B (Good): 80-89
  • C (Average): 70-79
  • D (Pass): 60-69
  • F (Fail): below 60

The exact criteria for these grades can vary by institution but generally align with this framework. Some universities also incorporate a Grade Point Average (GPA) system, which is calculated based on course credits and the grades received in those courses.

The Impact of Grading on Student Life

In China, grades are not just numbers; they play a crucial role in determining a student's future educational and career opportunities. High grades are often required for entrance into top universities and are essential for competitive majors such as medicine and engineering. As such, students and parents alike place immense emphasis on achieving high marks, often resulting in a high-stress educational environment.

Linking Performance to Professional Opportunities

Post-graduation, a student’s grades continue to influence their career path. Employers in China frequently consider a candidate's GPA and the prestige of the university attended as key factors in hiring decisions. This places additional pressure on students to not only perform well but to also select strategic majors that may offer better career prospects.

Navigating Through China's Educational Expectations

To understand more about how grades in china impact opportunities and expectations, you can explore further insights and detailed explanations here.


Understanding how grades work in China is essential for comprehending the broader educational landscape in which Chinese students operate. From intense examination cultures to strategic career planning, grades influence nearly every aspect of educational and professional life in China. This system, while rigorous, is designed to cultivate discipline, knowledge, and a competitive edge in students, preparing them for the challenges of the modern world.

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