How to Configure a Grade Point Average

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Keeping a high grade point average, or GPA, can mean the difference between graduating with or without honors. But with the confusion between number grades, letter grades and credit hours, determining your GPA can be a little tricky. Keeping tabs on your GPA during the semester can help you maintain higher grades and keep you motivated to improve your work. With a few simple calculations, you can determine your GPA for all of your courses.

Determining your GPA

    Determine your institution's letter grade point equivalent. For instance, in many schools an A is consider a 4.0, but other schools offer 4.3 points for an A+ or 3.8 points for an A-. Copy these point equivalents on your sheet of paper as a reference.

    Determine the total number of course credits (hours) you are taking in a semester. In general, the number of credits for a course is the number of hours per week that you spend in that class.

    For instructional purposes, let's say you took three 3-credit courses and one 4-credit course in a semester. You would have 13 total course credits for that semester.

    4 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 13 credits

    Multiply your letter grade's point equivalent (as determined by your institution, which you recorded in Step 1 by the number of course credits (hours) for that class. Record those numbers on your paper, and use your calculator if necessary.

    Continuing with our instructional example, let's say you made a 3.5 in your four-credit course, a 3.0 in one of your three-credit courses, a 4.0 in your other three-credit course and a 2.5 in your final three-credit course.

    3.5 x 4 = 14 points 3.0 x 3 = 9 points 4.0 x 3 = 12 points 2.5 x 3 = 7.5 points

    Add all of your total points for each class. if necessary, use your calculator

    In our example: 14 + 9 + 12 + 7.5 = 42.5 points

    Divide your total points by your number of course credits. Record this number on your paper, and use your calculator if you need to.

    42.5 points/13 hours = 3.27

    We did it. The total GPA in this example is 3.27.

    Tips

    • Be sure to check your school's point equivalents for minus and plus grades, such as points for an A- or a B+. Many schools have slightly different point equivalents for these in-between grades.

References

About the Author

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.

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