Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?

When you are studying, most of the time you are asked to focus on it so that you get good grades. This is because your grades help you a lot in the future. Be it for your higher studies or at the time you are looking for a job. But the question is does your university really look at your grades?

Quick Takeaways

  • American Universities look at the student application during the admission process and compare the specific marks of the exam which creates stress for the student who applies for post-secondary education. 
  • Following are the three main tests on which the university will check-
1. Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
3. American College Testing (ACT)

However, you must read till the end so that you understand if the universities look at Grades or Marks.

Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?

Do Universities Look At Grades or Marks?

The following are the tests whose grades are looked at by the universities.

  • Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • American College Testing (ACT)

1. Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT):

The students apply for the SAT to apply to universities. Through the test, the university can recognize the student’s knowledge of academic progression and all the necessary skills that should be in the student. In the test, the high school exam scores are also added to SAT scores which helps the admission officer to select the student who will be successful in post-secondary education. The students are also given scholarships according to SAT grades.

The test is conducted with multiple choice questions and there is a section in which the student has to write an essay. When you are waiting for this result you may see an option of awaiting fulfillment. This means that you may receive the result in some days.

Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?

 The test cores three topics as

  • Reading makes the student analyze the text, and grammar mistakes. 
  • It also includes mathematics in which the topics covered are algebra, geometry, statics, arithmetic, and probability which were given by famous mathematicians.
  • It includes a writing part in which the student’s quality of proving the argument is being checked. 

2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):

This exam shows the student’s proficiency in the English language. The exam is mainly looked at by the admission officer in the student application. The exam is completed in 4 hours.

 The following are the areas in which the exam mainly focuses. 

  1. The student has to see a video clip and send the answer by recording the video by this they look at the student speaking quality. 
  2. The test includes listening comprehension in which the student has to listen to a passage and answer according to it. 
  3. The student’s reading quality is checked during the test. 
  4. The student has to read a passage and give an appropriate answer to it to check the student’s writing skills.

Every section consists of 30 marks and the total number of marks for the test content is 120. The acceptable score is up to 60 out of 120 but when we talk about the top-ranked universities they selected the students whose scores are up to 100 out of 120. 

Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?

3. American College Testing (ACT):

The ACT focuses on the student’s critical thinking skills just like the SAT. The ACT score makes the admission officer clear that the student possesses the knowledge and skills which are required for further studies by the student. 

The following are the 4 sections of an ACT.

  1. The section English, which consists of 45 minutes, contains 75 multiple-choice questions that are being asked to see the student’s Grammar, sentence structure, and English skills. 
  2. The section on mathematics consists of 60 minutes and contains 60 multiple-choice questions which focus on the student solving the question on the topic of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. 
  3. It consists of a section of reading which consists of 35 minutes containing 40 multiple choice questions that are being asked to check the student’s knowledge in topics such as comprehensive and deductive reasoning. 
  4. It consists of a section of science which consists of 35 minutes. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions that are being asked to check the student’s knowledge in topics such as scientific knowledge and problem-solving. 
  5. It also contains an optional section of writing that includes essays to be written instead of multiple-choice questions. 

How do universities select students?

The university mostly looks at the GPA and the student’s test scores. but some universities are highly selective. They also look at the student’s profile too if it has unique qualifications and background and based on both points, the student is selected. Some universities have a high rate of acceptance because they don’t look at the student profile for having any unique qualifications. They just accept the application if the student meets all the eligibility of the GPA required for admission to the university.

What do universities look at when you apply?

The following are some qualities that university looks for in student when they apply to the university:

  • True enthusiasm for the chosen course.
  • Independent thought and study.
  • Good written English.
  • Collaboration and teamwork.
  • Dedication and perseverance.
Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?
  1. True enthusiasm for the chosen course:

The student applying for the university should have dedicated to the course as some students apply to university for only social life or the sports teams which is easy to see by the admission officer which student has applied for what interest. The student should have a true enthusiasm for the subject which they have chosen for higher education. 

  1. Independent thought and study:

The student application should demonstrate how a student is being engaged in studies and have their own opinion about the subject. As the university believes that students should have their thoughts. A student who has their own opinion and perspective can easily clear the interviews. 

  1. Good written English:

The student sends the application to the university which does have many spelling and grammatical errors due to which the admission team is not able to understand their application and which creates a negative point for the student. The university looks for an application that uses language that makes them clearly understand what they want to say. So before applying to the university the student should check their application again and again.

Do Universities look at Grades or Marks?
  1. Collaboration and teamwork: 

The university also wants students who do actively participate in sports and activities. As if the student has the quality to represent the university in any sports. If the student has any such experience in sports should mention it in the application as providing evidence of it will make the admission officer clear that the student has the quality of teamwork and is a team player. 

What is the difference between marks and grades?

 The main difference between marks and grades is that the marks are said to be marks obtained by the student in an assessment given by the instructor in a specific course for example a student got 40 marks out of 50 for an assessment and grades are said to be the grades which are obtained by adding the marks of assessment. 


Yes, the university does look at the grades or marks of the student which are being scored on tests that they use to give for applying to the university. and which scores the university sees as the student’s dedication to the course and does the student have their own opinion based on the course. As university life is hard for students who don’t have critical thinking skills and don’t have their perspective about the course.

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