The German grading system

The German grading system

If you are thinking or even planning to pursue your higher studies from Germany, the first thing you need to understand is the grading system because you have to translate the grades of your past studies according to the German grading system, so that you are eligible to apply for the courses you intend to study and can understand your score according to the German grading system.

Broadly, there are two grading patterns used in the German education grading system:

  1. The first one consists of grades from one to six, which means, if you score grade one, it implies that you are doing ‘extremely good’, and grade six means that your score is ‘extremely bad’ or at the bottom of the grading system. If you score less than or equal to grade four, it means you have not passed the exam. This system of grading starts from the beginning of school and lasts until the tenth year. Most universities and colleges follow this grading system to evaluate the performance of their students and the students who have applied for admission.

If you see the grading pattern from grades one to six, they stand for:

Grade 1 – Extremely Good; an outstanding piece of work (Sehr gut)

Grade 2 – Good; all expectations have been met in full (Gut)

Grade 3 – Satisfactory; an average work (Befriedigend)

Grade 4 – Needs improvement; an average work with some minor deficiencies (Ausreichend)

Grade 5 – Poor deficient; minimum expectations have not been met, although the candidate has demonstrated a basic grasp of the main concepts (mangelhaft)

Grade 6 – Extremely Poor inadequate; the candidate has failed to demonstrate coherent knowledge of even the basic main points (ungenügend)

The last two are considered to be failed while the above four are passed, 1 and 2 to be considered as passing with flying colors.


  1. Another system of grading is to be used after the tenth year of schooling, for the exam of Abitur which is the landmark year for the German students, with the grades of Abitur they can apply for higher studies in top universities and colleges. This system follows from points 0 to 15 which is much more comprehensive than the last one. These grading points are as follows:

    Points 15 –Outstanding

From points 12 to 14 – Extremely good

From point 9 to 11 – Good

From points 6 to 8 – Satisfactory

Point 5 – Can improve

From points 2 to 4 – Poor

From points 0 to – Extremely poor

To obtain the degree of Abitur, the points scored in all the previous year’s exams are also considered, along with the points secured in the final exam. To be able to apply for higher studies you need to obtain a certain grade which is to be translated for foreign students. Only after all these grades are accumulated, your final degree be considered complete.

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