Sunday, April 14, 2013

British University Grading System - No Easy A's here?

[image: I think the source is embedded on the photo but I found it on google]

ok that's something that I am not getting used to.  I don't quite understand.  Although I have a better idea than before... (thanks to Wikipedia, which is always helpful)...

One of few things I know now, is that it is very hard (although I have been told impossible but how is that impossible?  so very rough stats will follow) to get the first class honors in law in the UK.  Statistically, it is like only 6.some percent of the total law students get the first class honors.  In Cambridge, base on the past stats it seems about 10% for the first years and a bit higher for the second and third years.  This means that it is not impossible per se as the past stats do not show 0% of the Cambridge law students getting the first class. 

So... ok it is difficult but not impossible.

Definitely needed some adjustments in receiving grades, although they are not formal grades (As we don't get any formal grades until the end of the year).  I have received my essays back mainly achieving 60 something percents.  What? Sixty something???  Sure I have gotten some bad grades but 60's was never my regular grades.  More like 80's and 90's.  So... is it because I was smarter while I was in the American and Canadian university systems? Or was I just better in my engineering and business studies?  Or is the UK university system just that much stingier in grades?

I am not sure...

But I do feel that unless everything lines up - the moon and the stars and the sun and whatever else and I am perfectly prepared and I get lucky in some questions and I am healthy and feeling great on exam days and everything else... it would be a challenge for me to get the first class in my first year in the second year of law programme at Cambridge.  It does not mean that I am not targeting the first class (which is above 70% average) and I will be pretty happy with my 2.1 (the upper second class average - meaning between 60 and 69%).

So it's like this.

1. People are saying it is IMPOSSIBLE to get the first class --> which is a false statement because I have met people who received the first class in other universities or in other majors or etc.
2. Cambridge stat shows that about 10%-15% of law students get the first class (this is rough.. just going by my memory so don't quote me on this).  I have been in those top 10-15% at other schools. 
3. Is law just more difficult than other majors?
4. Are the UK unis less generous than American universities (for sure - I was at Cornell... I felt the undergrads there enjoyed the benefit of some grade inflation) and even the Canadian universities (UBC is known to be far from generous with the students' grades).

Are both Items 3 and 4 true?
If so, then maybe it is really impossible (and the people who get the first class honors are aliens from some special legally-minded land) for someone like me who is better skilled with numbers and business sense?

Well, I guess only time will tell.  I better hit the books to get my first class - at least to make a good attempt for it.


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