Sweden Grading System

High School Grade Scale

In Sweden, the grading system for high school (gymnasium) and upper secondary education (after the 9th grade) is standardized across the country. This scale is designed to provide a clear picture of students’ academic performance. Below, you’ll find a table that outlines the Swedish grades, comparable English terms, and their equivalent percentage range and GPA, if applicable.

Sweden GradesEnglish TermsPercentage RangeGPA Equivalent
BVery Good80-89%3.0
FFailBelow 50%N/A

College Grade Scale

At the college/university level, Sweden uses a slightly different grading system. Some universities employ the same A-F scale as above, but others might use a pass/fail system or a more detailed scale that includes ‘+’ and ‘-‘ variations to denote minor differences in performance. Here’s a general look at the college grade scale:

Sweden GradesEnglish TermsPercentage RangeGPA Equivalent
BVery Good80-89%3.5
FXFail – some more work requiredBelow 50% but closeN/A
FFailBelow 50%N/A

Please note, the inclusion of ‘FX’ in some college grading systems denotes a near-passing grade that requires additional work or assessment to achieve a passing mark. The ‘+’ and ‘-‘ variations are less common but might be used within certain courses or departments to give a more nuanced view of student performance. These variations are not officially part of the national grading scale and are more at the discretion of individual institutions or professors.

This overview gives you a sense of how grades are structured within Sweden’s educational system, both at the high school and college/university levels. Stay tuned for deeper insights into what these grades mean and how they translate into academic performance!

Understanding Grades in Sweden

Grading in Sweden reflects a student’s performance against set educational objectives. Here’s a detailed look at what each grade symbolizes:

A – Excellent 🌟

A signifies exceptional achievement. Students demonstrate outstanding knowledge and skills far beyond the educational objectives. They apply and understand concepts and contexts with deep insight and can often think critically and independently. This grade correlates to the top 10% of performances, showing not only mastery of the subject matter but also the ability to apply knowledge in novel situations.

B – Very Good 📚

B represents very good performance. Students here also exceed the objectives but to a lesser extent than those awarded an A. Their understanding is comprehensive, and they display a strong ability to apply their knowledge effectively, though with slightly less finesse or innovation than an A-grade student.

C – Good 👍

C denotes a good level of performance where the educational objectives are met solidly. Students show a good understanding of the subject and can apply their knowledge well in familiar contexts. This grade indicates a strong, competent grasp of material without the extra flair or depth seen in higher grades.

D – Satisfactory 🙂

D is satisfactory, meaning students meet the minimum objectives. They have an adequate understanding of the key concepts and can apply their knowledge in a straightforward manner. While not excelling, these students are achieving the basic requirements of the course.

E – Sufficient ✔️

E reflects just enough performance to meet the lowest acceptable standard. Students with this grade grasp enough of the course content to pass but struggle with applying this knowledge effectively. It indicates the threshold of passing performance, meeting the most fundamental objectives.

F – Fail ❌

F indicates that the student has not met the educational objectives. It signifies insufficient understanding and application of the course content. Failing grades require students to retake exams or courses, depending on the educational level and specific policies of the institution.

It’s important to recognize that grades in Sweden are meant to be a measure of how well students have achieved specific learning outcomes, rather than a comparison against their peers. This system encourages a focus on learning and mastery of subjects, aligning assessments with educational objectives rather than a fixed curve.

Sweden Grade Comparison

Comparing educational grading systems across countries can be challenging due to the different criteria and scales used worldwide. However, this table aims to provide a general comparison between Sweden’s grading system and those of the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada, and China. It’s important to note that these comparisons are approximations and can vary by institution and specific context.

High School Grade Scale Comparison

Sweden GradesUS GradesUK Grades (GCSE)India Grades (CBSE, %)Australia GradesCanada GradesChina Grades (Percentage)
AA9 – A*91-100%AA+90-100%
BA-8 – A81-90%B+A80-89%
CB7 – A71-80%BB+70-79%
DC6 – B61-70%C+B60-69%
ED4-5 – C51-60%CC+50-59%
FFU – FailBelow 50%FFBelow 50%

College/University Grade Scale Comparison

Sweden GradesUS GPAUK DegreesIndia PercentagesAustralia GPACanada GPAChina Percentage
A4.0First75-100%7 (High Distinction)4.085-100%
B3.0-3.7Upper Second (2:1)60-74%6-6.9 (Distinction)3.775-84%
C2.0-2.9Lower Second (2:2)50-59%5-5.9 (Credit)3.065-74%
D1.0-1.9Third40-49%4-4.9 (Pass)2.060-64%
E0.0Pass35-39%Pass (P)1.050-59%
FFailFailBelow 35%Fail (F)FailBelow 50%

This comparison illustrates the diversity in grading systems and the challenge in making direct equivalences. Each country’s educational philosophy and assessment criteria shape its grading scale, making exact comparisons complex. This table should serve as a broad guide rather than a definitive mapping of grades across systems.

Special Grading Considerations

The Swedish educational system aims for uniformity and fairness in grading, but variations can occur due to factors such as the type of school, educational level, and teacher discretion. Understanding these nuances is crucial for a comprehensive view of the grading system.

Variations Across Schools and Types

State vs. Independent Schools

While the national grading system provides a framework, independent schools may have slightly different practices in evaluating and interpreting grades. These variations usually aim to align with the school’s educational philosophy without deviating significantly from national standards.

Vocational vs. Academic Tracks

In vocational education, practical skills assessment can be more subjective, leading to variations in grading practices. Academic tracks tend to have more standardized tests and assessments, allowing for more uniform grading.

Teacher Discretion

Teachers have some discretion in assigning grades, especially in subjective subjects like art and literature. They are expected to follow the national curriculum and grading criteria, but individual interpretations of student performance can lead to variations in grading.

Handling of Failing Grades

Remedial Opportunities

Students receiving an F (Fail) have opportunities for remediation. This might include retaking exams, completing additional assignments, or attending summer school. The goal is to help students achieve the necessary competencies and progress in their education.

Continuous Assessment

Some schools emphasize continuous assessment over final exams, allowing students to improve their grades through consistent performance across the term. This approach can help address learning gaps before they lead to failing grades.

Considerations for International Students

For international students, understanding these grading nuances is vital. Schools and universities often provide guidance and support to help these students adapt to the Swedish grading system and expectations.

The Swedish educational system’s flexibility aims to support all students’ learning and success. Recognizing variations and the support available for struggling students highlights the system’s adaptability and focus on educational achievement.


Q: How is the Swedish grading system different from other countries?
A: The Swedish grading system focuses on achievement relative to set objectives rather than ranking students against each other. Grades from A to F reflect a student’s understanding and application of the material, with A being the highest score and F indicating a failure to meet the minimum objectives.

Q: Can international students easily adapt to the Swedish grading scale?
A: Yes, many international students adapt to the Swedish grading system with guidance and support from their educational institutions. Understanding the criteria for each grade can help students focus on meeting and exceeding educational objectives.

Q: Are there opportunities to improve a failing grade in Sweden?
A: Yes, students who receive a failing grade (F) have several options to improve their grade, including retaking exams, completing additional coursework, or participating in extra tutoring sessions.

Q: How do Swedish universities view grades from international students?
A: Swedish universities often have admissions teams familiar with various international grading systems and can translate these grades into the Swedish context. They look at the overall academic record and the comparability of grades to ensure fairness in admissions.

Q: Does Sweden use GPA for university admissions?
A: While Sweden has a grading scale from A to F, the GPA concept (Grade Point Average) is not used in the same way as in countries like the United States. Admissions decisions are based on specific grade requirements for each program, considering the Swedish grading scale or its equivalent for international students.

Q: Is it harder to get high grades in Sweden compared to other countries?
A: The difficulty in achieving high grades can vary depending on the student’s background, the subject area, and the specific educational institution. However, the Swedish grading system is designed to be fair and objective, focusing on how well students meet the learning objectives rather than competing against peers.

Q: Are plus (+) and minus (-) grades used in the Swedish grading system?
A: The official Swedish grading scale does not include plus (+) and minus (-) grades. However, individual teachers or courses may use them informally to provide more detailed feedback. These variations are not part of the official transcript.

Additional Resources

To further explore the Swedish grading system and for more detailed information, the following official and educational websites are invaluable resources:

  • Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet, UHR): https://www.uhr.se/
  • What it offers: Detailed information on the Swedish grading system, guidelines for higher education admissions, and recognition of international qualifications in Sweden.
  • Study in Sweden (official site for international students): https://studyinsweden.se/
  • What it offers: A comprehensive guide for international students, including how to apply to Swedish universities, understanding the Swedish education system, and adapting to life in Sweden.
  • The National Agency for Education (Skolverket): https://www.skolverket.se/
  • What it offers: Insight into the educational curriculum, grading scales for primary to upper secondary education, and teacher guidelines.

These websites are authoritative sources for educational policies, procedures, and support services in Sweden. Whether you’re a prospective student, a current student looking to navigate the grading system, or an educator seeking to align with national standards, these resources provide a wealth of information to support your journey within the Swedish educational system.