Every student has a cumulative GPA, which is a score that indicates their overall success in school. In other words, it’s a numerical value that expresses a student’s academic strength.

What Is a GPA?

GPA stands for “grade point average.” It’s typically used by colleges to identify which students will be extended an offer of admission. The higher the GPA, the more likely a student is to be admitted to a college.

A student may have a quarter GPA and/or a semester GPA in addition to the cumulative GPA. While the first two apply only to that particular time period, the cumulative GPA applies to a student’s entire high school career, taking into account all of the courses a student takes in that time.

How Do You Calculate a GPA?

Every course in high school is assigned a certain number of credits, and some have more value (more credits) than others. Your school’s course catalog should have information on the credits each class is worth. 

Now, every letter grade has a corresponding grade point value, and this is what you will use to calculate your GPA:

  • A=4.0
  • B=3.0
  • C=2.0
  • D=1.0
  • F=0.0

There are also values for “+” and “-” grades:

  • A-=3.7
  • B+=3.3
  • B-=2.7
  • C+=2.3
  • C-=1.7
  • D+=1.3
  • D-=0.67

The first step is to take the letter grade you received in each class and find the corresponding point total. Add all of your grade points together to get a cumulative total that you will use in the next step.

The second step is to add together the total number of credits you earned. In other words, take the number of credits each class is worth and add them all together.

Next, divide the grade point total in the first step by the total number of credits in the second step, and round the answer to the nearest hundredth. There’s your cumulative GPA!

Weighted GPAs

A weighted GPA is calculated much the same way, except there are slight adjustments made that account for the level of difficulty of courses. More challenging courses are worth more points, up to 5.0.

To calculate a weighted GPA, follow the steps above but in the first step, you will add 0.5 points for each honors, IB SL, and dual enrollment class. Add 1.0 point for each IB HL, post-AP, and AP course.

Be College-Ready with Jantzi Test Prep

Earning a high GPA is important. The higher your GPA is, the more attractive you’ll look to colleges. However, earning a high cumulative GPA is only part of getting into the college of your choice; you must also score high on standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, and others. 

Preparing for college to the fullest extent requires that you prepare for these standardized tests. Contact us to learn about our test prep services and how we can help you excel when test time approaches.