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What is a Weighted GPA? How to Calculate It?

May 14, 2024
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Calculating a weighted GPA is an overwhelming commitment without someone to break it down for you. It is much simpler than it looks. In essence, determining your GPA is merely a matter of averaging data; therefore, once you understand how your institution weights the scale, you can use that knowledge to create a weighted GPA.

What is a Weighted GPA?

A weighted GPA considers both your grades and the difficulty of your classes. GPAs are typically reported as figures between 0 and 4.0 on an unweighted scale (based only on grades and not on the difficulty of your classes). The goal of a flawless 4.0 GPA exists because of this scale.

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On the other hand, the scale increases if your school uses weighted GPAs. A weighted GPA scale typically has a range of 0 to 5.0. This is to account for grades in honours or AP classes, where a 5.0 represents a weighted A, depending on the class’s difficulty level. Regular-level classes use the standard unweighted scale, in which a 4.0 corresponds to an A. 

Additionally, many schools provide mid-level courses, where an A is equivalent to a 4.5, between usual and honours classes. This means that even though their actual grades are the same, a student who takes more challenging classes in high school will have a higher weighted GPA than any student who takes fewer challenging courses. 

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Reasons to Consider Your Weighted GPA

Your weighted GPA can tell a college much about your willingness and capacity to take on more difficult coursework. Whether your GPA is weighted or unweighted will affect how colleges evaluate it. Having a high-weighted GPA will help you stand out from the competition while applying to colleges.

A student with a 4.0 GPA, for instance, would have completed all standard-level courses with an A, but they would also have a 4.0 GPA if they had completed all honours or advanced-level courses with a B. In this case, the college would think more highly of students who agreed to enroll in more challenging classes. 

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With weighted GPAs, you are encouraged to enroll in more challenging subjects without worrying that your GPA will suffer a few points less. Getting good scores in more difficult classes will significantly impact your weighted GPA. Think about a student with a weighted GPA of 3.0 and receiving all Bs in regular-level classes. That’s where a weighted GPA helps maintain good grades.

How to Calculate Weighted GPA?

There are several ways to determine your weighted GPA, but multiplying the average unweighted GPA by the total number of classes taken is the most straightforward technique. Next, add 0.5 and 1.0 for each mid-level and high-level class you completed. Divide that figure by the total number of classes to obtain the weighted GPA. Here is a step-by-step guide to calculate your weighted GPA:

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  • Step 1: The first step in calculating your weighted GPA is to find out what scale your school uses to calculate your GPA and how much each grade is worth for each course level. Not every school uses the same weighted GPA ranking system.

For example, some schools start their scale at 5.0 for all honours, advanced placement (AP), and international baccalaureate (IB) courses. In contrast, other schools start their scale at 4.5 for honours-level and advanced courses that are not college-level courses and at 5.0 for only college-level courses like AP and IB.

  • Step 2: Add up all of the class GPAs. You essentially need to take the average of all of your classes to determine your GPA. Add all of them together to reach the starting point for your GPA average.
  • Step 3: The next step in calculating the average is calculating how many items you have in total. 
  • Step 4: The following action is to split the quantity, five, among the totals you added together.
  • Step 5: Here, you can change the numbers in the equation if necessary. For example, if you have ten classes, you simply total up all of your GPAs and divide by ten.

Conclusion

You should be aware of your weighted GPA because it will affect how you understand GPA recommendations and the college application process. Most of the advice you get online when determining whether your GPA is good will be based on the unweighted scale. This is due to the fact that weighted scales frequently vary throughout high schools, and the unweighted scale is more commonly used. A weighted GPA of 4.0 indicates that you may not be eligible for admission to any college. 

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Turito provides live online coaching classes that customize learning programs and offer a two-teacher model to answer all your queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a 5.0 is Usually Not Possible?

Not every school uses weighted classes. You are out of luck if you attend a school where no class allows you to receive a grade higher than 4.0. You are usually required to take some unweighted courses, even at colleges where classes are up to 5.0 weighted. P.E. and health come to mind. You cannot get a 5.0 as the outcome if weighted courses are worth 5.0, but there are a few 4.0s in the final average. 

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Does a weighted GPA have a standard scale from one to five?

Weighted GPAs usually use a five-point scale compared to the conventional four-point grading scheme. A school can occasionally use a six-point grading system for weighted GPAs. Schools can communicate achievement in more advanced subjects requiring more effort and comprehension due to the larger size.

Which kind of GPA is preferable, weighted or unweighted?

It is a good idea to submit your application with the best GPA possible, especially if you are applying to highly competitive schools like Ivy League colleges. It is preferable to include weighted scores with your college application since weighted GPAs are often higher than normal GPAs. However, other universities determine your GPA independently using the transcripts you supplied; in these cases, you have no say over the matter.

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Weighted GPA

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