# Weighted Vs Unweighted GPA | How To Calculate And Compare

Understanding the difference between **Weighted Vs Unweighted GPA** could be the key to unlocking your dream college. For many high school students, these two types of GPAs play a crucial role in college applications. Knowing how each is calculated and how it reflects your academic performance can make or break your chances of getting into your top-choice schools.

## What is a Weighted GPA?

A weighted GPA calculates your GPA, giving extra points for honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.

In this case, you receive five points for an A in a weighted calculus class and four points for a standard art class. The weighted GPA meaning involves considering the difficulty of your classes, unlike the unweighted GPA.

Weighted GPA scales differ by school. Schools frequently give each AP course an extra whole point and each honors course a half point. D and F letter grades typically do not receive bonus points on weighted GPA scales.

Now, you may ask, is cumulative GPA weighted? The answer is that it can be either weighted or unweighted.

Weighted cumulative GPA includes extra points for honors, AP, or IB courses. On the other hand, an unweighted cumulative GPA does not consider course difficulty.

Grade | Unweighted GPA (4.0 Scale) | Weighted GPA (5.0 Scale) | Weighted GPA (6.0 Scale) |
---|---|---|---|

A | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0 |

B | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 |

C | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 |

### Why Understanding GPA Calculation Matters

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand why calculating your GPA accurately is crucial. Knowing your weighted GPA helps gauge your academic standing, especially if you’re aiming for competitive colleges. This understanding can also guide you in selecting courses to boost your GPA and strengthen your college applications.

If you’re curious about how your GPA translates into other metrics, you can check out our GPA to Percentage Calculator for a quick conversion.

#### Steps to Calculate Weighted GPA

Let’s break down how to calculate a weighted GPA using an example. Imagine you are taking the following classes in a semester:

- English Honors (Grade: A)
- Math (Grade: B)
- Science AP (Grade: A)
- History (Grade: B)

**Step 1: Assign Grade Points** First, convert your letter grades into grade points using the standard 4.0 scale:

**A**in English Honors = 4.0 points**B**in Math = 3.0 points**A**in Science AP = 4.0 points**B**in History = 3.0 points

**Step 2: Apply Weighting** Now, add extra points for the weighted classes (Honors, AP):

**English Honors**: 4.0 + 0.5 (Honors weighting) = 4.5 points**Math**: 3.0 points (no extra weighting)**Science AP**: 4.0 + 1.0 (AP weighting) = 5.0 points**History**: 3.0 points (no extra weighting)

**Step 3: Calculate Total Grade Points** Next, multiply the grade points by the number of credits for each class. Assuming each class is worth 1 credit:

- English Honors: 4.5 points × 1 credit = 4.5 total points
- Math: 3.0 points × 1 credit = 3.0 total points
- Science AP: 5.0 points × 1 credit = 5.0 total points
- History: 3.0 points × 1 credit = 3.0 total points

**Step 4: Find the Weighted GPA** Finally, add up the total points and divide by the number of credits:

- Total Points: 4.5 + 3.0 + 5.0 + 3.0 = 15.5 points
- Total Credits: 4 credits

**Weighted GPA** = 15.5 points ÷ 4 credits = 3.875

In this example, your weighted GPA for this semester would be **3.875**.

### How Do You Get a Weighted GPA?

Your GPA will be weighted if you take advanced courses. Here are a few examples of classes that can boost your GPA:

#### a. Honors Classes

Honors classes are more challenging than regular classes. Although they don’t count for college credit and aren’t the same across all schools, having them on your transcript shows colleges you can handle challenging coursework.

Most schools add half a point to your GPA for honors classes. So, getting a C in an honors class counts as 2.5 points instead of just 2.

#### b. AP Classes

AP classes are college-level courses for high school students, culminating in an AP exam scored from 1 to 5.

Many colleges give credit for scores of 3 or higher, meaning you can start earning college credits early. AP classes usually add a whole point to your GPA, so a B in an AP class would count as 4 points instead of 3.

#### c. IB Classes

IB classes follow a set curriculum from the International Baccalaureate Organization and are recognized by schools worldwide.

Taking IB classes typically adds one extra point to your GPA. Each class earns you a certificate of completion.

## What is Unweighted GPA?

An unweighted GPA differs from a weighted GPA because it doesn’t account for your classes’ hardness.

Instead of using a 5-point scale for more challenging courses, an unweighted GPA uses a 4-point scale. This means that the highest unweighted GPA you can get is a 4.0.

### How To Calculate Unweighted GPA?

**List Your Classes and Grades**: The student took AP English, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP Art History, and AP Chemistry.**Assign Grade Points**: Since it’s unweighted, each grade earns standard points:- A in English = 4 points
- A in Spanish = 4 points
- B in Statistics = 3 points
- B in Art History = 3 points
- C in Chemistry = 2 points

**Calculate Total Points**: Add the grade points together: 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 2 = 16 points.**Determine Unweighted GPA**: Divide the total points by the number of classes: 16 ÷ 5 = 3.2.**Result**: The student’s unweighted GPA is 3.2.

## Weighted Vs Unweighted GPA

To find out what is the difference between weighted and unweighted GPAs, we have listed both in the following table.

Aspect | Weighted GPA | Unweighted GPA |
---|---|---|

Definition | Take into account the difficulty of courses. | Only considers the grades earned, regardless of course difficulty. |

Scale | Usually goes up to 5.0 or 6.0, depending on the school. | Typically on a 4.0 scale. |

Impact of Advanced Courses | Honors, AP, and IB classes add extra points. | All classes, regardless of difficulty, are graded on the same scale. |

Calculation Example | A B in an AP class might count as 4.0 points. | A B in any class counts as 3.0 points. |

Purpose | Highlights students taking challenging courses. | Provides a straightforward measure of academic performance. |

College Admissions | Shows readiness for college-level work. | Offers a baseline comparison of grades. |

For additional insights into improving your academic performance, check out our 10 Ways to Improve Your Grades.

## Conclusion

Both weighted and unweighted GPAs serve different purposes. A weighted GPA highlights your ability to handle challenging coursework, while an unweighted GPA gives a straightforward measure of your grades.

Knowing the differences and calculating both can help you better plan your high school classes and strengthen your college applications. Nonetheless, they are important tools in showcasing your academic achievements.

For additional insights into preparing for college and managing your academic journey, you can explore the resources available on Khan Academy’s college admissions guide.

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