February 22, 2016


Now that I have one semester down and into semester 2 I can speak more about the grading system here at Newcastle. Before attending school here I heard about the British system and how it differs greatly from the US. I was warned to not freak out when you see your first marks (grades). Even knowing this I was still quite shocked when I received my first marks a shallow 52. I knew that the marking system was different but I still wasn't ready for what I saw. Here at Newcastle a passing grade is a 50, yep you read that correctly. In the states a 50 is a definite FAIL, usually anything below a 65 is failing.  My 52 equates to about a C, I wasn't happy with that grade because I felt like I had done better than that.

Furthermore, as a masters student do not expect to receive a grade above 75, 80s are extremely rare for masters students. I had a lecturer explain it to me like this "we leave the top 20% for PhD level work" so essentially you will only see 80s and 90s if you are a PhD student. None of it really makes sense to me to be honest but I have adjusted to it. Where as in the states you are always striving for 90s which are definitely achievable.

Another key difference here in the UK vs. the US is the length it takes to get your marks back; in the states after I turned in an assignment it usually would take up to a week to get my grades back, sometimes I would have them back within 24 hours. Here in the UK it takes just about a month to get your marks. I find that frustrating because any feedback given doesn't really help and cannot be applied to further work. For example I had a big essay due Jan 18th for a semester 1 module and just received my marks back this week. We are now into semester 2. I am not sure why the process takes so long but if I could change one thing it would be that. You potentially do not know how well you did until way into the following semester. In college, I always knew exactly what I needed to get on an assignment in order to get a specific final grade BEFORE the final exam or assignment. I know that may not sound important but it helps in planning and preparation for finals.

I would like to add that my marks for my remaining modules' assignments have been really good (60s and 70s), so overall I am doing well here at Newcastle Uni despite the a bit of a rough start.

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