How to Calculate Grade Point Average to Improve Your Final Score

How to Calculate Grade Point Average to Improve Your Final Score
Table of Contents
  1. How to Calculate Grade Point Average to Improve Your Final Score
  2. What’s the GPA formula?
  3. Simple GPA
  4. Less simple GPA
  5. GPA: weighted and unweighted
  6. Weighted GPA
  7. Weighting a GPA with AP / IB / Honor classes
  8. Weighting a GPA with credit hours and AP / IB / Honors
  9. If GPA is low
  10. Make GPA calculation easy

If you are going to apply to a university or college, you need to accurately assess your grade point average to understand what acceptance chances you have and what universities can actually accept you. Follow the steps below to calculate a grade point average yourself or use the online GPA calculator.

What’s the GPA formula?

Before applying to the university, you should check whether your certificate average grade meets the requirements of the university. Most likely, the selection committee will pay attention to academic performance in specialized subjects and recount the GPA for verification. Therefore, it is recommended to provide only truthful information; otherwise, the commission will not consider your candidacy. 

To calculate your grade point average, you will need grades for the courses you have taken and the number of credits/hours (in brackets)

For example:

  • Biology (100 hours) - A;
  • Mathematics (200 hours) - B;
  • Physics (70 hours) - A;
  • Computer science (80 hours) - C;
  • Chemistry (50 hours) - B.

First, translate the grades into the numerical grading system according to the following logic: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0.

  • Biology (100 h.) - 4
  • Mathematics (200 h.) - 3
  • Physics (70 hours) - 4
  • Computer Science (80 hours) - 2
  • Chemistry (50 hours) - 4

Multiply the numerical grades by the number of hours for each course and totalize them:

4 * 100 + 3 * 200  + 4 * 70 + 2 * 80 + 4 * 50 = 1,644

Put together the total number of hours for all academic disciplines taken:

100 + 200 + 70 + 80 + 50 = 500

Divide the grade total (1,644) by the total number of hours (500):

1644/500 = 3.3

Your GPA = 3.3

Simple GPA

Getting a simple GPA is extremely easy. All you need to do is to convert the grades from the letter (A-F) system to the numeric one (4-0), add all of your grades together, and divide the sum by the number of classes you have taken. The result you get is your simple GPA.  

simple GPA

Less simple GPA

Some schools expand on the simple GPA by adding a + or – to your letter grade. These should be, of course, considered when calculating a grade point average. It is a bit tricky, but we love the challenge. Let’s assume that A is a perfect 4.0 grade, then the new scale will look the following way:

Less simple GPA

GPA: weighted and unweighted

On the websites of top universities (Harvard, Stanford, etc.), you may come across a Weighted GPA. The main difference between an unweighted and weighted grade point

is how the two are calculated:

  • Unweighted - the average score that doesn’t build on grade value;
  • Weighted - the average score that takes into account the complexity and depth of the academic disciplines.

For example, Student 1 has an A for each of the following disciplines: Introduction to Microeconomics, Introduction to Sociology, and Introduction to Philosophy. Student 2 has an A for the full course consisting of the following three parts: Introduction to Microeconomics, Microeconomics (Level I), Microeconomics (Level II). Taking into account all the grades, the GPA of Student 1 will be higher, even if a grade has been skipped.

Weighted GPA

Some schools and universities take into account the weight (credit hours) of the discipline and not only the grade. Thus, an A for a discipline with the pre-assigned value of 4 is different from an A for a course which value is 2. 

To find your weighted GPA by credit hours, do the following:

  • Multiply each numeric grade value by the number of course credits;
  • Add these numbers together;
  • Divide the obtained result by the total number of credits you took;
  • You will get a weighted GPA.

Weighting a GPA with AP / IB / Honor classes

Overachievers who take extra courses, have AP, Honors, or IB classes should have all these reflected in their grade point average. At this point, it is important to check with your school to find out the exact rules of GPA calculation (some students must take and score 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement exam for their grade to be weighted in their GPA).

As a rule, a scale looks like this:

weighting gpa scale

Let’s compare the values of the AP vs. No-AP GPA’s: 

weighting gpa

Weighting a GPA with credit hours and AP / IB / Honors

Factoring in credit hours AND credits for AP classes will give us the following report card, which you can then use for grade average point calculation:

weighted gpa result

There is a lot to consider when calculating a GPA. A single mistake can cost you a lot. That’s why we strongly recommend you to check the requirements of the college/ university you are applying to. In some cases, it will be enough to provide an unweighted GPA, whereas some educational establishments consider weighted grade point average. Only in this case, you will know how to calculate it. 

If GPA is low

Not every entrant can boast of a high GPA, but this does not mean that one’s candidacy will be rejected. Of course, a low grade point average cannot be called a strong point of such an application, but the one can put emphasis on other documents submitted to the selection committee. The GPA is only part of the application, which is considered together with other papers.

It is worth paying special attention to your essay and motivation letter, where you can explain the controversial moments of your academic past and reveal your strengths/ achievements. A low average mark should be diluted with your past achievements, whether it is a win in sports competitions, participation in volunteer projects, excellent term paper writing, etc.

Make GPA calculation easy 

If you want to make sure that you have a perfect final grade but have no clue how all these formulas work, then you are free to use the GPA calculator from Prohighgrades will do all the tough work for you. Just pick the GPA type to be calculated and fill out the auto-generated fields in a form - and the tool will do all the calculations. Instead of wasting your time and being worried about the accuracy of the results, trust the smart technology!