How To Calculate Your GPA
Many students in the world hate the word "grade." It tells them they will get assessed on a scale and a simple number or alphabet. And this grade will measure their months of hard work.
But when it comes to a college student, the grade takes a more complex form and gauges many things. It becomes a GPA. Before understanding GPA calculation, we need to know what GPA is.
What Is A GPA?
Grade Point Average, also known as GPA, is a number that indicates how high you scored in your courses on average. It's the scorecard that determines how good you are with your classes. Whether high or low, the GPA measures that on average. It also sees your ability to achieve the requirements and standards set by many colleges.
Looking at it, GPA does sound simple when you think about it. You might think that calculating a GPA is like calculating the cost of attending college. However, GPA calculations are pretty complex and confusing at times.
The two GPAs where we get confused the most is the Cumulative GPA and overall GPA. Let's see what's the difference between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA.
Difference Between Cumulative GPA And Overall GPA
While GPA is the number that shows your scores you've got from your subjects on average, there's more to it. Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA are the two ways GPA gets calculated further.
Cumulative GPA is the grade point average of all grades a student has secured in a semester or term. However, Overall GPA is an average of all cumulative GPAs a student has secured in all semesters.
Cumulative GPA shows how you performed on an average in the semester. And overall GPA shows how you performed on an average in all semesters you have taken.
For schools, that's a different story. They can use these 2 GPA types to see if they could meet the standards and requirements they've put out. It can also help them understand the trend of how students perform.
There are also two ways to count GPA, known as two main types of GPA. These are weighted GPA and unweighted GPA. Let's see the difference between both of them.
Difference Between Weighted And Unweighted GPA
In an unweighted GPA, a school doesn't take the difficulty level of classes into account. For calculation, the unweighted GPA model uses a scale from 0.0 to 4.0.
In contrast, In a weighted GPA, a school takes the difficulty level of classes into account. For calculation, the weighted GPA model uses a scale from form 0.0 to 5.0 (6.0 sometimes). Here, schools give a high numerical value to grades earned in AP, IB, or honors.
For example, one student scored an A grade in standard class, and the other student scored an A grade in an AP class. An AP class needs more effort than a standard class and is harder to pass if compared.
But unweighted GPA will consider both classes the same and score both of them on the scale of 4.0. However, the weighted GPA will consider both classes differently. It will convert the standard class score on a scale of 4.0 and the AP class score on a scale of 5.0. It’s because a weighted GPA will count the difficulty level of the class.
Now, as you understood, the GPA and its types, we will move towards calculating an unweighted GPA.
How Do You Calculate Your Unweighted GPA?
Unweighted GPA results from the average of all your scores regardless of how difficult it is. It also uses the standard scale between 0 to 4.0. In this, 0 is the lowest score, and 4.0 is the highest score.
With all this said, how do you even calculate your GPA? You can designate your grades on the scale for the unweighted GPA, depending on its excellence. So if you're studying in a country that uses letters for grading, A can be 4.0 while F can be 0. It's all up to you how you'd like to designate the calculations. But in general, the better your grade, the higher your score will be on the scale. Once you have the numbers, you can add them up, divide them by the number of subjects you took. By doing this, you'll have an unweighted GPA.
Depending on which GPA type you'll go for, you can do it in a few ways. If you're aiming for the cumulative GPA, you'll only factor in the subjects for one semester or term. For the overall GPA, you'll factor in all the subjects you've taken in all the semesters or terms.
Unweighted GPA Calculation Example:
It can be overwhelming when you have to consider so many numbers while calculating your GPA. Don't worry; there's a more prominent way to do this. Below is a step-by-step example:
1. Be Familiar With How Each Grade Ranks On The GPA Score Scale
To get good with calculating the unweighted GPA, you'll need to know how a grade gets converted to the score. For this example, we'll go with the letters (A-F). Here's a chart to help you understand:
2. Find Out The Cumulative GPA Scores For Each Semester
When you are familiar with how each grade will give you the scale, you can calculate the cumulative GPA. For example, here are calculations you'd get if you were to consider four semesters. In this, the two semesters are from the first year and two from the second year.
For calculation, you need to create a table mentioning each class's GPA for each semester. After this, add all the GPAs to a table and then divide it by the number of classes. It's how you will get the cumulative GPA of each semester.
The following are the four tables of class's GPA and cumulative GPA:
As we can see, for the first semester of your first year, you got a cumulative GPA of 3.2. In the second semester, it's 3.26.
In the first semester of your second year, you got 3. And in the second semester of the second year, the cumulative GPA you got is 3.06.
3. Put Them Together And Get The Overall Unweighted GPA For The Three Semesters
After getting numbers, now you can calculate the Cumulative GPAs and get the overall GPA.
All in all, your overall unweighted GPA in total for the four semesters will be 3.13.
Although you should keep in mind, it only works if the number of subjects is the same each semester. If there are some extra classes in some semesters, you can do it in another way. You can do an overall GPA calculation instead of adding all the subjects you took. Later then divide the results by the number of subjects.
Wrapping It Up
In the end, the GPA is a measure that can come in handy when knowing your strength with your grades.
The difference between all GPA types can also help you understand what it'll take to get you into college. It may even help you be more determined than ever to be on your A-game to pass your subjects with pride.
Don't think of the GPA as some gauge that only the experts know. Let it be your guide in achieving what you want out of your education, and integrate it well with confidence.