How to Calculate a Grade Point Average for 5.0

By William Hirsch
Turn your final grades into a GPA using basic math.

You can determine how grades effect your college 5.0 scale grade point average by understanding where GPA comes from. Colleges and universities use GPA as a quick way to describe your overall higher education performance by a single number. GPAs range from a score of 0.0 to 5.0, with 5.0 being given for all A's in applicable coursework. In the 5.0 GPA system, letter grades are given points values with "A" being 5, "B" being 4, "C" being 3, "D" being 4 and an "F" being 0.

Add together all credits you took for the semester of interest. If calculating an end-of-college GPA, total all credits taken. For example, you might have a total of 16 credits for a semester.

Add together the credits for classes that were assigned the same grade. For example, you might have gotten an "A" in a 4-credit physics class, an "A" in a 3-credit chemistry class, a "B" in a 3-credit calculus class, a "B" in a 3-credit art history course and a "C" in a 3-credit literature class. The total credits, then, for "A" coursework is 7, for "B" coursework 6 and for "C" coursework 3.

Multiply each grade credit total by its respective point value. Then add together these totals and call the result "X." Performing this step, for the example, leads to 7 times 5, or 35 for "A" grades; 6 times 4, or 24 for "B" grades; and 3 times 3, or 9 for "C" grades. The total then becomes 35 plus 24 plus 9, or 68 for "X."

Divide "X" by the total number of credits to obtain the GPA. Keep two decimals in the answer to write the GPA in standard form. Completing the example, you have 68 divided by 16, or a 4.25 GPA.


Some schools further subdivide grades and point values to include plus and minus versions. Check with your school's registrar if you are unsure about the point assignments. Special grades such as satisfactory or unsatisfactory are not included in GPA calculations.

About the Author

William Hirsch started writing during graduate school in 2005. His work has been published in the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters." He specializes in computer-related and physical science articles. Hirsch holds a Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in theoretical physics, where he studied particle physics and black holes.