June 1, 2019

An Ultimate Guide To Calculating GPA

Guide To Calculating GPA

A graded point average (GPA) is an indicator of your achievements in college. When you are pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme, your GPA is one of the pivotal things that will shape your career.As GPA holds immense importance, it is but natural to question “How exactly do you take a document as complex as your transcript, and shrink it down to a number?”

If you are wondering how to compute all the final grades you have scored and arrive at the GPA, then this blog will give you an accurate idea.

How does a GPA work?

Before you embark on the procedure of calculating GPA, let us have a clear idea about GPA.

A Graded Point Average or a GPA is a summary statistic that represents the average performance of a student over a period, such as a semester. To put in simple words, GPA is a way of converting your grades into a numerical scale.
The grades are averaged together to arrive at one cumulative grade, which is then converted to GPA.

The traditional GPA scale ranges from 0.0 to 4.0.

Image source: https://usatodayhss.com/2017/what-is-the-minimum-gpa-for-a-di-scholarship

GPA is one of the pivotal elements in a student’s life as it indicates the intelligence, work ethics, perseverance, and capability of a student to push beyond a limit.

How to calculate GPA?

We all may roll our eyes when our parents use the phrase, “When I was a kid, things were much simpler…”  Well, they turned out to be right. Of all things that become difficult with time is the calculation of GPA.

Let us have a comprehensive look at each of the methods of calculating GPA.

Method 1: How to calculate the GPA using the simplest method?

The simplest and general formula for calculating GPA is:

(Grades*Credits)/Credits= GPA

To calculate GPA using the simplest aforementioned formula, use the
following guidelines:

  1. Find a grading scale:

The most common grading system used to calculate GPA is a four-point
scale. In this scale, the denominations are as follows:

A= 4 points, B = 3 points, C= 2ponts, D=1 point, and F= 0 point.

This is a scale of an unweighted GPA.

Some schools use a weighted GPA scale to measure the grades. Hence, it is essential to ensure what your institution uses. You can also clarify it from the teacher or an administrator.

  • Collect the most recent grades:

It is significant to collect the recent grades to evaluate the GPA correctly. To accomplish this, you can ask the teacher, a registrar, or an administrator. Try to collect the final grades for each of the classes. Individual class grades, midterm grades, or grades mid-semester grades do not count. Consider the final grades for the semester while evaluating your GPA.

  • Record the point value for each grade:

Take a note of the accurate point value next to each grade using the four-point scale. Look at the table below:

             MATH                   A-                     3.7
           HISTORY                   B+                     3.3
           SCIENCE                   A+                     4.3
           SOC.STUD.                   B-                     2.7
          LANGUAGE                   B+                     3.3

How to record point value for each grade

If you have an A- in a class, record a 3.7 grade, if you have a B+, record a 2.3.

  • Add the values of the grades:

After you are done with recording scores for your grades, add the values up. Like, you have received A-in Math, B+ in Language, and B- in Social Studies.

You will calculate the total in the following way:

3.7+3.3+2.7= 9.7

  • Divide it by the number of classes you are taking:

The total you calculated is 9.7. Hence, on a 4-scale, you will calculate the GPA using the following equation: 9.7/3= 3.2.

Therefore, the GPA is 3.2.

Method 2: How to calculate a GPA with Weighted
Credit Hours?

Currently, numerous institutions measure GPA with the help of a 4.0+ scale, as they use the weighted scale. The weighted value is estimated by considering several factors like level, class, or coursework complexity.

Explore the effective guidelines to calculate GPA with weighted credit hours:

1. Determine the number of credits:

For some institutions, especially college courses, each course consists of a number of credit hours. Credit hours are noting but units used by the  institutions to estimate the workload. Usually, credit hours are estimated based on the number of hours spent inside the classroom, the number of hours spent outside the classroom and mode of instruction. Therefore, it is essential to measure the number of credit hours. Calculate the number of credit hours assigned to each course you are pursuing. You can find it from your school catalogue or transcripts.

A look at the table below will help you to understand the following

                             COURSE                               CREDITS
                            BIOLOGY                                   5
                              MATH                                   4
                             PHYSICS                                   1
                         CHEMISTRY                                   3

A table representing the determination of credit numbers

2.  Allot the appropriate scale value for each of the letter grades:

To accomplish this, you can use a common 4-point GPA scale to allot the
values. Therefore, A= 4, B= 3, C=2, D=1, F=0 points.

                       COURSE                         GRADE
                      BIOLOGY                           A- (3.7)
                       MATH                           A+ (4.3)
                      PHYSICS                           B+ (3.3)
                      CHEMISTRY                           C+ (2.3)

A table representing the scale value for each letter grade


  • If your institution assigns 5 points for upper-level classes, like Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB), you are required to use a weighted GPA scale.
  • In such an instance, add .3 for each plus value or subtract for each minus value .3.

3. Calculate weighted scores:

To evaluate GPA, it is essential to do maths to determine the distinct values for the scores that are calculated into overall GPA. Multiply the scale value grade by the number of the credit hours to estimate the grade points.

For instance, if you received a B in a 5 credit hour class, multiply the scale
value of 3 for B by 4 credit hours. It provides a value of 15 grade points for
that class. Add the weighted grade points for all your classes to estimate the
total grade points.

                 GRADE   MULTIPLY   CREDITS                     GPA
                     A- (3.7)                  *5                    18.5
                     A+ (4.3)                   *3                     12.9
                     B+ (3.3)                   *4                      13.2
                     C+ (2.3)                   *1                     2.3
    Total =    13   Total =    46.9

A table representing the calculation of GPA

4. Estimate your total credited weights:

Add the number of credit hours you have taken in total to estimate the total credits. Suppose, if you took 4 classes where each of them has 3 credit hours, you will get a total estimated value of 12 credit hours.

5. Divide the total grade points by the total credit hours:

Suppose, if you have 46.9 grade points in a total of 13 hours, your calculation will be like:

46.9/13 = 3.61

Hence, your credit hour-weighted GPA is 3.61.

Method 3: How to calculate a GPA using Excel?

For institutions that want to make it slightly more annoying, they complicate the process by using an excel sheet.

To estimate GPA using excel sheet, follow the guidelines listed below:

1. Set up initial columns:

To work on your excel sheet, and estimate the value of GPA accurately,
it is essential to set up proper initial columns. Make two columns- A and B. In the column A, type in the names/ numbers of the subjects taken. Type the letter grades you intend to factor in the GPA calculation.

Excel representing the setting up of initial columns

2. Input scale values in column C:

Determine numerical scale values of the grades you will be inputting. To
accomplish this step you will be required to decide if your institution uses a weighted or an unweighted GPA scale.

3.  Type a sign of equal along with the letter sum in the first column of D:

All equation of excel start with an equals sign. Hence, you should use
one every time you start with a new calculation. Type the letters SUM to
indicate the program that it will be calculating an adding or a sum equation.

Excel representing typing of equal sign along with SUM

5. Fill in with the equation:

The equation that you will implement to calculate the GPA will be
determined by the number of grades you have.

The basic format is =SUM (C1: CS)/6

C1 is the cell number C6 is the cell number of the final grade in list
6 denotes the total number of courses being calculated

6. Press the enter key:

Press the enter key to be greeted with a number in the D column which
denotes the final calculated GPA.

Excel representing the final calculation of GPA

Method 4: How to calculate a GPA using percentage?

Some institutions tend to amp things up, with a percentage based GPA. They
use a 4.33 scale instead of the normal 4.0 scale. The next curveball in your
GPA game is to estimate the GPA using the percentage based method.

Here’s how to calculate the GPA using the complicated percentage method:

1. Identify the kinds of classes you have:

Certain classes involve weights that alter the strength of the class. An
on-level (regular) class is multiplied by 1) or left alone. A PAP or a
Pre-Advanced Placements or Honours class is multiplied by 1.05. An AP or
Advanced Placement or college level is multiplied by 1.1.

Have a look at the table below:

Excel sheet representing the identification of the classes

2. Multiply grades as per their weight:

In the above-mentioned data, PAP literature has a 94 that gets
multiplied by 1.05 for 98.7 AJ (AJ denotes adjusted).

Both Chemistry and Track are regular classes, hence they are left at
their grades, 87 and 100.

82 is the PAP Pharmaceuticals Training. It gets multiplied by 1.05 to
get 86.1% AJ.

AP World Civilisations is 98 that gets multiplied by 1.1 to get 107.8% AJ.

3. Find mean or average:

To estimate mean or average, you are required to follow the simple
formula (g+g+g…)/#g

Where, g denotes the grade

Excel sheet representing the calculation of GPA.

You can use any of the aforementioned methods to calculate one of the
pivotal elements of your academic life, GPA.

Click on the link to know more:

The Bottom Line

Calculating GPA using different methods may seem daunting. Understanding how to calculate your GPA will not only enable you to get a lucid idea about the grades but will assist you in giving more efforts to boost your GPA.

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Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips is an essay writer at Myassignmenthelp.co.uk who is associated with the company for the past six years. She has finished her master's degree from the University of South West England and has served as a guest lecturer at several colleges.

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