Saudi Arabia Grading System

High School Grade Scale

The grading system in Saudi Arabian high schools typically follows a percentage-based scale that translates into specific grades, often with GPA equivalents. Below is a table that outlines the main grade scales used at the high school level, with the Saudi Arabia grades, their comparable English terms, the equivalent percentage range, and GPA (on a scale of 4.0). Note that some schools may include variations like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ within these grades to denote slightly higher or lower achievement within the same grade category.

Saudi Arabia GradeEnglish TermPercentage RangeGPA
AVery Good90-94%3.75
BAbove Average80-84%3.0
DBarely Pass60-64%1.0
FFailBelow 60%0.0

College Grade Scale

At the college or university level in Saudi Arabia, the grading scale is somewhat similar but adapted for higher education standards. The table below reflects common grading scales at Saudi Arabian universities, with the grades, comparable English terms, percentage ranges, and GPA equivalents. Variations with ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs are also present in many institutions to provide more granularity in grading.

Saudi Arabia GradeEnglish TermPercentage RangeGPA
B+Very Good85-89%3.5
C+Above Average75-79%2.5
DMinimum Pass60-64%1.0
FFailBelow 60%0.0

This system ensures a standard approach to grading, facilitating a clear understanding of student performance across different stages of education. However, specific schools and universities may have additional criteria or slight variations in these scales, especially in the use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to denote high and low ends of a grade category.

Understanding Grades in Saudi Arabia

Grades in Saudi Arabia serve as a crucial metric for evaluating students’ academic performance. Here’s a deeper look into what each grade signifies:

🌟 A+ (Excellent)

  • Description: Represents outstanding achievement. Students have demonstrated exceptional understanding and mastery of the subject matter, exceeding all expectations.
  • Implication: Students with A+ grades are often considered for scholarships, honors programs, and other opportunities that recognize top academic performance.

📚 A (Very Good)

  • Description: Signifies excellent performance, with a strong grasp of the subject matter and the ability to apply concepts proficiently.
  • Implication: This grade indicates a student’s high level of competence and is usually required for competitive academic programs.

👍 B+ (Good)

  • Description: Reflects good performance. Students have a good understanding of the material and are able to apply their knowledge effectively.
  • Implication: Students achieving B+ grades are considered well above average and are generally in a strong position in their academic pursuits.

➕ B (Above Average)

  • Description: Denotes performance that is above average. Students have a solid understanding of most course material and can apply it with competence.
  • Implication: This grade is indicative of a student’s good understanding and ability, often satisfying prerequisites for advanced studies.

🆗 C+ (Average)

  • Description: Represents an average performance with a basic understanding of the subject matter. Students can apply fundamental concepts.
  • Implication: A C+ grade suggests that while a student meets the minimum requirements, there may be room for improvement in understanding and application.

✔ C (Satisfactory)

  • Description: Indicates satisfactory performance. The student meets the basic learning objectives but with limited ability to apply concepts beyond the fundamental level.
  • Implication: Achieving a C grade demonstrates passing the course without excelling. It may necessitate additional effort to advance in related subjects.

📉 D+ / D (Pass / Barely Pass)

  • Description: These grades show that a student has barely met the minimum criteria for passing. The grasp of subject matter is minimal, and the ability to apply knowledge is limited.
  • Implication: A D range grade often serves as a wake-up call for students to seek help or dedicate more effort to their studies. It may not be sufficient for course prerequisites or progression in certain programs.

❌ F (Fail)

  • Description: Failing a course indicates that the student has not met the required minimum standards of understanding and application.
  • Implication: An F grade requires the student to retake the course or seek alternative measures to meet graduation requirements.

Understanding these grades and what they represent helps students identify their strengths and areas for improvement. It also guides them in making informed decisions about their academic paths and future careers.

Saudi Arabia Grade Comparison

In the global academic landscape, understanding how grades from one country compare to those of another is crucial for students pursuing international education or careers. Below is a table that provides a comparative view of the Saudi Arabian grading system alongside those of the United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Canada, and China. This comparison aims to offer a broad understanding of how Saudi grades might translate into these different educational contexts.

Saudi Arabia GradeUS GradeUK GradeIndia GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
A+ (95-100%)A+First Class90-100%High DistinctionA+A+ (90-100%)
A (90-94%)AUpper Second75-89%DistinctionAA (85-89%)
B+ (85-89%)A-Lower Second60-74%CreditA-B+ (80-84%)
B (80-84%)B+Third Class50-59%PassB+B (75-79%)
C+ (75-79%)BBC+ (70-74%)
C (70-74%)B-B-C (65-69%)
D+ (65-69%)C+PassC+D+ (60-64%)
D (60-64%)CCD (55-59%)
F (Below 60%)FFailBelow 50%FailFF (Below 55%)

Please note:

  • The UK grading system uses classifications for degrees rather than individual courses, so the comparison is approximate.
  • Grading systems can vary significantly between different universities within the same country, especially in terms of grade thresholds.
  • This table aims to offer a general comparison and should not be taken as an exact translation of grades between systems.

Understanding these comparisons helps students and educators gauge academic performance across different educational cultures and systems, facilitating smoother transitions for students studying abroad or transferring between institutions.

Special Grading Considerations

The grading system in Saudi Arabia, like in many countries, isn’t one-size-fits-all. It can vary across states, school types (public vs. private, international schools), and even among universities. Here’s an exploration of some of these variations and special considerations:

Variations Across Schools and States

  • Public vs. Private Schools: Public schools in Saudi Arabia generally follow the standard grading scale set by the Ministry of Education. Private and international schools, however, may adopt different grading scales, especially if they align with international curricula like the IB (International Baccalaureate) or the American, British, and other foreign education systems.
  • International Schools: These schools often use the grading system of their affiliated curriculum, such as the A-F scale for American schools or the numerical scale (1-9) for British schools, which can be different from the standard Saudi grading system.

Teacher Discretion in Grading

  • Teachers in Saudi Arabia, as elsewhere, have some discretion in grading. This can affect the distribution of grades within the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ variations. For example, participation, effort, and improvement over time might influence final grades, especially in subjective subjects like literature or history.

Handling Failing Grades

  • High School: Students receiving failing grades (F) may need to attend summer school or retake exams to progress to the next grade level. Schools may offer remedial classes or additional support to help students meet the requirements.
  • Universities: At the university level, policies for failing grades can include retaking the course, attending supplementary courses, or in some cases, being placed on academic probation. The impact of failing grades on a student’s GPA can also vary, with some universities offering grade forgiveness policies for retaken courses.

Academic Support and Improvement Strategies

  • Many schools and universities in Saudi Arabia offer academic support services, such as tutoring, counseling, and study workshops, to help students improve their grades. These resources are especially valuable for students at risk of failing or those seeking to improve their academic standing.

Understanding these special grading considerations highlights the importance of familiarizing oneself with the specific policies and support systems of each educational institution. It also underscores the dynamic nature of grading systems, which can adapt to accommodate diverse educational needs and standards.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Saudi Arabia grading system and scale:

Q: How does the Saudi Arabia grading system work?
A: The Saudi Arabia grading system typically uses a percentage scale that is then translated into letter grades (A+, A, B+, etc.) and GPA (Grade Point Average) for both high school and higher education. Grades reflect a student’s mastery of the course material, with higher grades indicating better performance.

Q: Can international students adapt easily to the Saudi grading system?
A: Yes, international students can usually adapt to the Saudi grading system, especially if they are familiar with percentage-based or GPA systems. Most universities provide resources and support to help international students understand and adjust to the grading criteria.

Q: What is considered a passing grade in Saudi Arabian schools and universities?
A: A passing grade typically starts from D (60-64%) in high schools and can vary slightly in universities. However, some courses or faculties may require a higher grade to consider it a pass, depending on the academic standards of the institution.

Q: How are grades calculated into GPA in Saudi universities?
A: Grades are converted into points (e.g., A+ = 4.0, B+ = 3.5), and the GPA is calculated as the weighted average of these points, taking into account the credit hours of each course. This provides a cumulative measure of a student’s academic performance.

Q: Are there grade appeals in Saudi Arabia’s educational institutions?
A: Yes, most educational institutions in Saudi Arabia have procedures for students to appeal their grades if they believe there has been an error in evaluation or calculation. The specific process varies by institution but typically involves reviewing the student’s work and the grading criteria.

Q: How do ‘+’ and ‘-‘ grades affect my GPA?
A: ‘+’ and ‘-‘ grades provide more granularity in assessing student performance and slightly adjust the GPA accordingly. For example, a B+ might translate to a 3.5 GPA, whereas a B- might equate to a 2.67 GPA, reflecting the slight differences in achievement within the same letter grade.

These FAQs offer a glimpse into the nuances of the Saudi Arabia grading system, aiding students, parents, and educators in navigating academic evaluations effectively.

Additional Resources

For more detailed information on the grading system in Saudi Arabia, including guidelines, policies, and support services, here are some official and helpful resources:

1. Saudi Ministry of Education Website

  • Description: Offers comprehensive details on the education system in Saudi Arabia, including grading policies, academic calendar, and curriculum standards. It’s the primary source for official educational policies and updates.

2. Saudi Electronic University

  • Description: Provides information on e-learning and distance education programs in Saudi Arabia, including grading scales used for online courses and programs, which might slightly differ from traditional classroom settings.

3. King Saud University

  • Description: As one of the leading universities in Saudi Arabia, its website contains detailed information on university-specific grading policies, academic regulations, and support services for students to manage their academic performance.

4. National Center for Assessment

  • Description: Offers resources on standardized tests in Saudi Arabia, including the Qiyas test for university admissions. The site provides insights into how test scores relate to academic performance and grading standards.

5. Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM)

  • Description: Though focused on Saudi students studying abroad, SACM’s website offers valuable information on the equivalency of Saudi grades in other educational systems, which can be useful for students returning to Saudi Arabia or those curious about international grade comparisons.

These resources serve as valuable starting points for understanding and navigating the Saudi Arabian education system’s grading scales and policies. Whether you’re a student, educator, or parent, these sites provide authoritative information to support academic success in Saudi Arabia.