How to Calculate a Weighted GPA

How to Calculate a Weighted GPA

GPA (grade point average) is a measure of academic performance across all of your classes. Some schools use an unweighted GPA, where grades in all classes count for the same number of points. However, some schools use a weighted GPA system where advanced classes, such as honors or advanced placement (AP) classes are given bonuses. To calculate the GPA, you need to know your grades and the weighting system of your school.

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1 Determine School's Grading Method

Contact your school's counseling department to determine how grades are weighted. Common examples of weighting include awarding an extra 0.5 points to grades earned in honors classes and an extra full point for grades earned in AP classes, an extra full point for honors and two points for AP classes, or an extra half point or full point for both honors and AP classes.

2 Convert to Numerical Values

Obtain a copy of your transcript for a list of all your classes, grades and credits earned in each c lass. Convert each of your grades to a numerical value based on your school's weighting system. For example, if your school adds one point to grades earned in both honors and AP classes, an honors or AP A would be worth five, an honors or AP B worth four, and so on. Regular classes remain worth 4 points for an A, 3 for a B, and so on.

3 Calculate Total Grade Points

Calculate the total points earned per class by multiplying the number of credit hours per class. For instance, most regular classes count as three credits toward the total number of credits needed toward graduation. Typically, activity classes like gym that meet less frequently are just one credit. Your transcript should show the number of credit hours of each class taken. If you had an A in an honors class that was worth two credits, multiply five by two to get 10. If you had a B in a regular class worth 0.5 credits, multiply three by 0.5 to get 1.5.

4 Final Calculation of Weighted Grades

Add up the points earned for all of your classes. Total the number of credits taken for all classes. Divide the number of points earned by the number of credits taken to calculate your weighted GPA. For example, if you earned 85 points by taking 20 credits worth of classes, you would divide 85 by 20 to find your weighted GPA to be 4.25. Weighted grades can allow students to earn above 4.0. A 4.0 in regular, non-weighted classes is an A average, and a 3.0 is a B average. In many weighted grading systems, a 97 percent is an A+, a 93 to 96 is an A, and a 90 to 92 is an A-.

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."