Do Grade 12 Marks Really Matter?

Clifford International School > Guidance Quarterly > Do Grade 12 Marks Really Matter?
portrait of Kevin Jones, the Guidance Counselor at Clifford International School

Kevin Jones

Guidance Counselor

The CIS Guidance Department is tasked with helping students find their passion in life and give them the tools with which to achieve their goals. Students need support from faculty, home, peers, and their wider community in order to grow into their best selves. We aim to coordinate these resources in order to nurture young scholars into confident and competent adults, ready to encounter an ever-changing world.

Here’s the logic: I’ve worked really hard in grade 11, gotten really good marks, and now it’s November of my 12th-grade year and I just sent off my university applications. The universities must be using my grade 11 marks to assess my skills and academic dedication, right? Unsurprisingly, the answer is a little more nuanced. While the grade 11 marks might be more or less considered based on the country to which the student is applying, the hard truth is that grade 12 marks are some of the most important for students applying to university!

So then, how are grade 12 marks used when the student has already applied? Universities require students to upload a document called an “Interim Transcript.” This document lists all of the completed courses they have taken, as well all of courses in which they are currently enrolled. For completed courses, the final grades are listed, but for the current courses, we add the student’s current mark. Students may need to upload these documents several times during their grade 12 year in order to keep universities up to date with their marks. While the exact method of how universities evaluate interim marks varies based on the country or region, all universities are going to be looking at mid-year grade 12 results. Let’s look at the following example of a student applying to a Canadian university:


ELA – Comprehensive 40S 84
ELA – Transactional 40S 84
Pre-Calculus Math 40S 71
Physical Education 40F* 97
Chinese (Mandarin) 40S 92
Global Issues 40S 90
Biology 40S 85
AP Economics 42S 67
Average of five 40S courses: 84


In this case, we have ELA and Math highlighted in blue because most universities require these two courses to be part of the average. The university will generally select the next three highest 40S or 42S courses for the remainder of the average, depending on the selected major (highlighted in green). Note: Physical Education is not eligible as it is a 40F course.


What is a Conditional Offer?


Using this average of 84 on the interim transcript, the universities will then decide to send the students an offer letter. There are two basic kinds of offer letters: Conditional and Unconditional. Generally, during the grade 12 school year, students are offered a conditional letter with carefully explains all of the conditions they have to meet to be able to accept the offer. Some common ones are: Keeping grades at or above a certain average, completing the IELTS/TOEFL with certain scores (if this has not already been achieved), and accepting the offer by a certain date. If the student fulfills all of the conditions, then the student will receive an unconditional offer. This is essentially a guarantee of admission from the universities, provided all of the necessary fees are paid and certain documents are provided.


The important take-away from all of this is to not think of grade 12 as a time to take your foot off the gas pedal. In fact, for applications to many countries, grade 12 marks are the most important ones! While your applications may already be in the hands of university admissions officers around the world, it’s important that you keep those grades high and finish strong. Your ticket to the university of your dreams may just depend on it.


Until next time,

Kevin Jones

Guidance Counselor

Clifford School

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