Grades matter. Like it or not -- despite the fact that grades do not dictate how successful you will be in your career or even, necessarily, how much you learned -- entrance into some clubs, groups, colleges, graduate schools or possibly even certain jobs depends largely on your grades. Generally, no single grade holds your fate. It's usually your overall grade point average that matters. Each grade you make is weighted according to the credit hours obtained. Mathematically calculated, the average is considered a weighted GPA.
Begin a chart to make calculating your GPA easier. Write down each class included in your GPA, one class per line. Label this first column with the name "Class."
Start a new column, immediately beside the first, labeled "Weight." List the credits or hours for each class indicated in the first column. This is the weight of each class -- the number of times the grade received is multiplied. Keep each column and line aligned to make the chart simpler to read.
Fill in the grade you earned after the course and credits or hours. Label this column "Grade." Use the letter grade, including any plus or minus signs if applicable.
Translate each letter grade into a numerical equivalent. On a standard 4.0 scale -- the one most commonly used in colleges -- an A is equal to a 4.0, a B is 3.0, a C is 2.0 and a D is 1.0. A failing grade receives zero credit. If your school recognizes other grades -- such as A- or C+ -- or gives an automatic boost to certain courses -- usually honors or college courses if you are in high school -- use the system your school uses.
Multiply each numerical grade by its weight to determine each class's individual worth. For example, a lab worth one credit with a grade of B is worth 3, while another class, worth 3 credits and a grade of A is worth 12.
Add together each class's worth. Divide that sum by the total weight of each class. For instance, in the previous example with a B worth 3 and an A worth 12, the total is 15. Divided by the weight of 4 -- 1 for the lab and 3 for the other class -- the result is 3.75.
Things You Will Need
- Calculator (optional)
- When in doubt, use the traditional 4.0 scale when calculating your GPA, since this scale is applicable to most universities and graduate schools. If you use a different scale, the calculation is the same, only the grades' numerical equivalents change.
- Honors and AP classes in high school may require a slightly different scale. Some schools boost the numerical grade received for these classes by 1 point. Thus, an A scores as a 5 instead of a 4. Regular classes still receive the normal grade on a 4.0 scale.
- Some schools may award grades between whole letter grades. For example, while a C is worth 2.0, a C+ is worth 2.3 and a C- is worth 1.7.
- After you calculate your weighted GPA, be sure to use the proper GPA that your school requests. This is important for college admissions, scholarship applications, and other applications that require a GPA.
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