Do grad selections committees know....... I am a Chinese student, going to apply for grad school in the US. I went on for exchange in a school that has quite good reputation in physics research, probably top 20 in the US. My experience: it is much harder for a student to get an A here than in the US. I'm NOT saying Chinese students are better or work-harder than Americans, is the grading system and exam papers that make us harder to get an A. For example, my GPA is not good in my school(not in the best 20 in my country), 3.0ish with studying all the time from 9am to 9pm, except lunch, toilet and lecture time, even in holidays. But during my exchange semester, I went to party on average 2-3times a week, hang out, see movies etc. Finally I got GPA 3.87 and all the classes were >300 physics and math. Some may say something like "well, you were just lucky", but I can say the exam papers were really much easier than in China. Maybe I shouldn't say it's easy, but it is more direct, less complex to reach the answer. Plus the percentage of getting an A+/A/A- is fixed and small here, say like only ~5%. I doubt that do the grad selection committees know the difference. If they don't, it will be very frustrating (and unfair) for Chinese students' applications.