How to Convert a Letter Grade to GPA

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Students often wonder how the Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated. Lower elementary and middle school students do not typically concern themselves with worrying about a GPA because there are many classes yet to be taken and years of points to factor into an overall GPA. However, calculating a GPA becomes increasingly important for high school students who are competing for scholarships and entering colleges, where a higher GPA may just put them ahead of the competition. Calculate your GPA using point values for each letter grade to calculate your average.

    Assign number values to all letter grades you have received. Write down the letter grades you have received in every class and beside each letter, assign a number value. Typically, an A equals 4 points, a B is 3 points, a C is 2 points, a D is 1 point and no credit is assigned to an F.

    Add all the numbers up to equal one large number. Many people like to add the total for each semester separately, then calculate the overall GPA once they have found the GPAs for each semester. This is easier because you will have smaller numbers to work with, but it is important to keep very accurate records on paper if you choose this method so that you do not wind up mixing scores from different semesters prematurely, thus skewing your final number.

    Divide this large number by the amount of classes taken. For example, if you took five classes in one semester and received one A, three Bs and one C, the calculation would be 4+3+3+3+2. This equals 15, which would then be divided by the total number of classes (five) to get 3. Your GPA would then be 3.0.

    Add all GPAs for concurrent semesters and divide them by the total number of semesters to calculate your overall GPA. For example, if you had eight semesters in high school and received GPAs each semester of 3.2, 4.0, 3.8, 3.1, 2.0, 4.0, 3.6 and 3.8, you would need to add all these GPAs up and divide them by the total number of semesters (eight) to get an overall GPA of 3.44. It is important to note that GPAs may often have three digits, but if you have done your calculations correctly, the first number should always be a single digit.

    Things You'll Need

    • Letter grades for all classes in a reporting period
    • Calculator
    • Pencil
    • Paper


About the Author

Julia Barrus is a writer and teacher who has published with several online sources since 2008. Barrus has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in secondary education curriculum and instruction with an endorsement in English from the University of Phoenix.

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