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Grade Point Average (GPA) Score. How to Calculate GPA

Surprisingly, many students are experiencing issues with GPA calculation and if you’re looking for a detailed guide on how to calculate GPA, you have come to a right place. Without further ado let’s see, how does GPA work!

What is GPA?

High school students are usually graded with letters (A, B, etc.) or percent (out of 100). GPA helps to convert those letters/percent into numbers and then to calculate your average, summing those numbers.  GPA is made up of all the grades you receive, which makes this mark one of the most important factors of college admissions. Pro tip: if you’re looking for every possible way to increase your GPA, consider our assignment writing help services. You will be surely surprised with the result. And now, let us continue!

This score is a great way to indicate your skills, intelligence, ability to push yourself to the limits, and your work ethics. It is a quintessence of your years at school, so it is not surprising that so many scholars are scared of their average GPA result.

This scale is a great instrument for colleges and universities to compare you to other candidates, both from your own school and from other high schools. Wonder why? Everything is quite simple. Imagine that you are an admission committee member, who needs to get familiar with thousands of applications. Would you like spending weeks or even months on comparing every A or B of one applicant to A’s or B’s of another one? Wouldn’t it be much simpler to have a single number, aimed to calculate your school performance throughout the years?

That is why GPA is a great way to simplify the process, giving the admission officer a chance to compare hundreds of candidates using a single number. Are you looking for an advanced placement? Or willing to enter the college of your dreams? In all cases knowing how grade points earned by the total are calculated will give you a great benefit over other students and will help you to enter the college of your dreams, significantly improving your grades. Considering the importance of this number, WriteAnyPapers prepared a detailed guide on GPA and its calculation.

The difference between weighted and unweighted GPA

To start with, you need to know that there is a weighted and unweighted GPA. If the school uses unweighted score, the maximum is 4.0, and the difficulty level of the classes is not taken into account. However, more and more schools use weighted GPA, which takes into account the difficulty of the class and goes from 0.0 points to 5.0. This gives a chance to provide a more detailed evaluation of grades, earned in IB, honors or AP classes.

How does this GPA scale work? Suppose Bill has an A on a standard US History class, while Mike gets an A in an AP History. If the school uses unweighted GPA system, both students will get 4.0. However, if a weighted GPA is applied, Bill’s A will turn into 4.0, while Mike’s A will become a 5.0 to show that the class he took was more challenging and difficult.

Such difference in a cumulative GPA allows colleges and universities to distinguish students, who took standard classes and those, who had to put efforts into taking more complex courses. That is basically the only difference between a 4.0 scale and a 5.0.

GPA conversion grade. How to calculate GPA?

How to calculate the unweighted GPA?

Now let us discuss how to calculate GPA, converting your regular grades into unweighted GPA. Here is the standard scale you need to take into account:

By this point you already know your letter grade and the only thing left to do is to transform those course grades into an unweighted GPA. Here are the three main steps:

  • Sum up the decimal grades you have previously converted based on the table above. This will be your total sum;
  • Count all of the classes you have taken;
  • Divide the total sum of scores by the number of classes you have taken. Voila, now you have your unweighted GPA.

As you see, there is absolutely nothing difficult in calculating and you don’t need anyone’s help. However, be attentive when converting your letter grades not to miss anything. It often happens that students are not attentive, which results in mistakes, lack of credit hours and other unpleasant misunderstandings.

How to calculate weighted GPA?

By now you already know how to calculate your unweighted GPA, dividing the total decimal number on the number of subjects you have taken.  Calculating weighted GPA is not that simple, because it needs to take into account additional features, like the complexity of the subject and course.

Let us use a hypothetical situation to give a more detailed and clear picture of how to calculate such a GPA. Let us say that you are in a sophomore year and have already completed three high school semesters. Below are the charts with examples of the regular and honors classes you might have taken, your grades every semester and so on.

Freshman year, First Semester

ClassLevelLetterUnweighted GPAWeighted
1Honors HistoryB+3.33.8
2Honors PhysicsB3.03.5
3Honors GeometryB3.03.5
4Freshman HistoryA4.04.0
5French IA-3.73.7

Based on this grade calculator for the first semester, the weighted GPA is the average of all the last column numbers. If you sum them up and divide by the number of subjects, your weighted GPA for the freshman year first semester would be 3.7.

Let us assume that during the second semester, you have continued to take classes of the same level but managed to improve your grades. Then the results will be as follows:

Freshman year, Second Semester

ClassLevelLetterUnweighted GPAWeighted
1Honors HistoryA4.04.5
2Honors PhysicsB+3.33.8
3Honors GeometryB+3.33.8
4Freshman HistoryA4.04.0
5French IA4.04.0

This time to calculate the average weighted GPA, you also need to sum up all the last column numbers and divide them by 5 (the number of classes). In such a way, you will see that the GPA for your second semester of the freshman year has improved and makes up 4.0.

Now let us move to the sophomore year and your first semester. Let us assume that mostly you have taken middle-level classes with a single high-level one. Good job, you were ready to climb the ladder after earning As in regular classes!

Sophomore year, First Semester

ClassLevelLetterUnweighted GPAWeighted
1AP US HistoryB+3.34.3
2Honors World HistoryB+3.33.8
3Honors French IIB+3.33.8
4Honors LiteratureA-3.74.2
5Honors Geometry IIA-3.74.2

If you sum numbers from the last column, your weighted GPA for the sophomore year first semester will be 4.1. Now, when we have calculated every semester separately, it is necessary to determine your cumulative grade.

To do so, we will only need to find the average of all the weighted GPAs we have already calculated. However, this approach can be used only if you had the same amount of classes every semester. If not, you should use a different formula and calculate all the classes together, not semester-by-semester. Here is how your cumulative GPA would look like:

SemesterWeighted GPA
Freshman year, First Semester3.7
Freshman year, Second Semester4.0
Sophomore year, First Semester4.1

Based on the obtained data, your weighted GPA for three semesters is 3.9. Using our hypothetical example, you will be able to calculate your weighted GPA not depending on the number of subjects and semesters you may have.

However, you need to take into account that some schools may be more specific when it comes to grades and their GPA correspondence.  They may assign different GPA to various averages inside every grade letter. For example, you may get a lower GPA for a 90 A- than for a 92 A-. If it is the case with your school, you can get familiar with a more specific chart of correspondence.

As you see, calculating weighted GPA is a bit more difficult than calculating an unweighted one, but there is absolutely nothing scary about it, and you can easily cope with the task on your own!

Why GPA is so important?

There are thousands of schools, colleges, and universities across the country. All of them have their requirements, approaches to standardized testing, and rules. That is why it is very important to have a system that will measure every course the student has taken and to give the admission officer a clear understanding of the grades a particular candidate has.

Imagine yourself a part of a college admission committee. Every day you need to read hundreds of applications, each of which performs a certain student in the best light. How to speed up the process and to limit your search to a dozen applicants? The answer is simple: grade point average!

Imagine yourself a student: you know how to calculate GPA, and there is no need to waste your time and nerves, applying to a university, which has higher GPA requirements. You can concentrate on colleges that have a lower plank and will be happy to offer you a place.

Now you know everything about the grade scale, its calculation, and the main difference. The only thing left is to study hard to improve your grades and to get to the college you have always dreamed of! If you are going to put yourself through a hard application process, we recommend you to read our article on how to apply for college. It will definitely make the application process much easier and pleasant for you.

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