How To Calculate GPA

GPA or Grade Point Average is used to measure a student’s academic performance.  Your GPA will be a critical component of any college application because it gives a complete picture of how well you performed in the classroom.  A GPA is something that should be tracked over time by every student.  In order to do this, each student must learn how to calculate GPA.

As a quick overview, every letter grade you receive is worth a certain amount of “grade points” or points.  The GPA is the sum of all the points divided by the total number of points possible.  In order to figure out how many points you’ve earned each quarter, you must first convert each letter grade into a number.

See the chart below to see how to convert your letter grades into numbers that can be used to figure out how to calculate GPA:

Letter Grade Number Equivalent

A                            4.0

A-                          3.667

B+                         3.333

B                            3.0

B-                          2.667

C+                         2.333

C                            2.0

C-                          1.667

D+                         1.333

D                           1.0

F                            0.0

In order to fully understand how to calculate GPA, it will be best if we look at an example:

Sally’s Grades

Math                    A-

English                 B-

Science                A

History                 B+

Spanish                C+

Art                         B

Here’s how to calculate GPA for Sally:

Step 1 – Convert letter grades to numbers using the chart above

Math A- = 3.667

English B- = 2.667

Science A = 4.0

History B+ = 3.333

Spanish C+ = 2.333

Art B = 3.0

Step 2 – Add all the numbers together

3.667

+2.667

+4.0

+3.333

+2.333

+3.0

= 19

Step 3 – Take the final number and divide it by number of classes you are taking

Sally has 6 classes, so 19 divided by 6 = 3.1667

Therefore, Sally’s GPA is 3.1667.

This is how to calculate GPA.  The admissions committees at the colleges you apply to will look at your overall GPA from all of the classes you took in high school as well as your subject specific GPA in relation to the program that you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying to the School of Engineering, it’s likely that the college or university will evaluate your math and science grades more closely.

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TheCollegeHelper

TheCollegeHelper

Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

2 Responses to “How To Calculate GPA”

  • Sammi on March 25, 2012

    I am a junior in high school and I have a 2.98 gpa. I take Honors and AP classes and this quarter I had 4 D’s 2 A’s and one B. I am interested in going to the University of Cincinnati. But I think my chance is slim! I really do not want to go to a community college. So do you think there is anyway that I could raise my gpa to a 3.3 by the end of my senior year???

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on March 27, 2012

      Hi Sammi,

      Thanks for visiting our site!

      The 4 D’s really jump out to me! Any particular reason why you weren’t successful in those 4 classes? Colleges will likely be evaluating your grades through junior year and your first semester grades from senior year so it’ll be tough to raise your GPA by that much in 1 semester. Perhaps a community college is the best option for you. Check out this post:
      4 Benefits Of Community Colleges.

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