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What is a GPA and How to Convert Your GPA to a 4.0 Scale


What is a GPA?

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is a grading system used to measure the academic performance of a student. GPA use a number to represent the average result of all grades achieved throughout a stated period of time.

How GPA is calculated?

There are two common ways to calculation GPA.

Cumulative GPA

A cumulative GPA refers to the average GPA for a particular academic period. This academic period can be a semester or a half year term. Cumulative GPAs should not be considered as a student’s absolute performance because they only measure a student’s partial academic performance.

The calculation of cumulative GPAs vary from institution to institution. The most common computation is as follows:

Cumulative GPA = Total Grade Point / Total Credit Hour

Overall GPA

The overall GPA refer the average of all your term or semester GPA throughout a full academic program. It represents a student’s overall academic performance, and it can be defined as the average of all cumulative GPAs.

Overall GPA = Sum of Cumulative GPA / Total Number of Cumulative GPA

What is GPA scale?

GPA scale is the calculation method which use to assign the point value to the grades. There are two types of GPA scales:

Unweighted GPA scale

Most GPAs are unweighted GPA, and they are measured on a scales of 0.1 to 4.0. The unweighted GPA will not consider the difficulty of the classes in the calculations.

For example, you are taking two classes, one class is a standard level class and another is a higher level class, and you got a grade “A” for both classes. As grade “A” is a 4.0 GPA, you will get an unweighted GPA of (4.0 + 4.0) / 2 = 4.0.

Weighted GPA scale

Weighted GPAs better represent a student’s academic accomplishments by taking considering the course load. It usually on a 4.0 + scales. This can vary from school to school, some school uses 4.5 scales, and some use 5.0 scales.

As weighted GPA taking into account the class difficulty, the classes in different academic levels can change your GPA.

Let’s say you are taking two classes, one class is a standard level class and another is a higher level class, and you got a grade “A” for both classes. The grade “A” of the standard level class will be a 4.0 GPA, and the grade “A” of the higher level class will be a 4.5 GPA. You will get an (4.0 + 4.5) / 2 = 4.5 weighted GPA.

How to Convert Your GPA to a 4.0 Scale

The 4.0 scale grading system is the most common way to calculate GPA scores. This GPA score is an unweighted GPA as it treats all the classes equally regardless of classes difficulty.  

To convert your letter grade or percentage grade to a 4.0 scale GPA,  follow the chart below:

Letter GradePercentage Grade 4.0 Scale
A 93%-96%4.0
A- 90%-92%3.7
E or Fbelow 65%0

Importance of GPA

GPA is the most critical aspect that shows a student’s academic performance. Although GPA is not the only factor that universities consider, but universities will use a specific GPA score as the initial selection cutoffs.

GPA for Medical School

The medical program admission process is very competitive. Admission offices are looking for evidence of whether a student has the capability of handing the heave academic workload in medical school.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, the national average median GPA for getting admission in medical school was 3.72 in 2018-2019. The student will need about 3.8 or above GPA to enter the top medical program.

Apart from the overall GPA, the academic performance of science and math subjects will also be considered during the admission selection.

GPA for Law School

To secure a seat in a Law school is not easy than getting admission to a medical school.
A 3.5 and above GPA will give you a significantly higher chance to get admission than the average of all applicants.
Refer to the U.S. News & World Report, the medium GPA to entering 10 of top law schools in the US was 3.8 in 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does GPA stand for?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average.

What is a good GPA?

To determine whether a GPA score is good or average GPA, it is critical to know your GPA is weighted or unweight GPA.
A 3.5 and above GPA are considered a good GPA for the 4.0 scale unweighted GPA. That means the student who has this GPA has a grade “A-“ or “A” average on academic performance.
For a weighted GPA, a 4.0 above GPA score or a 4.5 above GPA score is considered a good GPA depending on the 4.5 or 5.0 scale adopted when calculating weighted GPA.

What is good GPA in college?

College GPA is commonly calculated on a 4.0 scale. The average college GPA is about 3.15, which is equivalent to a grad “B” average.
A 3.5 GPA is used as a general benchmark when defining a good college GPA. 

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