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What You Should Know About Calculating Your High School GPA

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If you are a high school student, you are most likely stressing over your grade point average or GPA. This behavior is not surprising, primarily if you are ambitious, driven, and determined to be successful academically.

Your high school GPA is a numerical representation of all the academic grades you earned from your freshman year up to your senior year in high school. It is a significant factor in determining your class rank, in getting admitted to a good college, in securing scholarships, and in predicting success. Note that GPA is not only a mere figure that represents your academic intelligence but your determination, work ethic, and ability to push yourself to excel.

If you are admiring how to calculate high school GPA, know that process may differ depending on the school district, county, state, public or private, and other factors. Nonetheless, there are two fundamental ways of computing for GPA — weighted and unweighted.

Unweighted vs. Weighted GPA

When a school computes for unweighted GPAs, it will use a scale that converts the final grades in letters into numbers ranging from 0 to 4, as can be seen below. Note that as the term suggests, an unweighted GPA does not assign “weight” or specific value to any of the subjects. Each class is considered similar in all accounts.

A = 4

B = 3

C = 2

D = 1

F = 0

In weighted GPAs, however, the level of difficulty of each class is considered alongside the grade. Unlike unweighted GPAs, the numerical assignments for weighted GPAs range from 0 to 5. The higher number is set to accommodate the grades for Advanced Placement (AP) or honors classes. An A in AP course receives a grade of 5 in a weighted GPA, given the difficulty of the subject.

To better understand the difference, go through the example below:

For instance, you received an A in AP US History, and your friend Rachel received the same grade but in standard-level US History class. If your school computes for an unweighted GPA, then you and Rachel will both receive a grade of 4, even if your course is much more difficult to ace than hers. But in weighted GPA, your A will be converted to 5 while Rachel’s will be converted to 4. This difference in conversion shows the dissimilarity in difficulty between the courses.

Note that with a weighted GPA, the student who takes more advanced and challenging classes in high school can receive a higher GPA than another student who takes standard-level courses even if their grades are the same.

How to Calculate Unweighted GPA

Computing for an unweighted GPA is easy. Convert the letter grade you receive to their assigned numerical points of 0 to 4, as shown above. After turning the letters to grade points, get the total sum of your grade points, and divide the total to the number of courses you have. The result is your unweighted GPA.

How to Calculate Weighted GPA

The most straightforward technique to calculate for a weighted GPA is by using the unweighted GPA scale for standard-level courses. Convert your letter grades using the unweighted scale, then add 0.5 to every mid-level or honors course and add 1.0 to every AP or high-level course you took. Once you are done computing for your weighted grades, get the sum and divide it by the number of classes. The result will be your unweighted GPA.

The discussion above explains how to calculate high school GPA in simple terms. But if you still want an effortless way of doing it, you can use free GPA calculators that you can find online. Considering that your GPA impacts your chances of getting into an outstanding college, it is best to be aware of how your GPA is calculated so that you can better strategize to get good results.

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