A detailed guide on the difference between GPA & CGPA

difference between gpa and cgpa

Good grades are very important if you are planning to study abroad and tracking grade points and grades is imperative for all international students. Both GPA (Grade Point Average) and CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) are used across several boards and universities for calculating, assessing, and grading academic performance. You should have an idea of the major difference between GPA and CGPA in order to understand your grades better. 

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What is GPA? 

GPA (Grade Point Average) is a number indicating your average score. The grade point may be a letter or number. For instance, suppose your grade has been written as A. In this case, it will usually stand for a particular figure (a multiple of 4 in usual cases). Getting an A will mean that your GPA will be 4 and a B will mean a grade point of 3. The scale will shift on the basis of the grading system that is followed. There are various methods of estimating grade points, based on your country and institution. If you are wondering what is GPA, this example will help you understand the concept. 

Suppose you have opted for three courses which have three credits each. Now, in Subjects 1, 2 and 3 you have scored A, C, and B respectively. In this context, it is vital to mention that A, B, and C equate to 4, 3, and 2, respectively. You only have to multiply your grade with the credits obtained, i.e. the score will be 12, 9, and 6 for Subjects 1, 3, and 2 respectively. The total grade points will thus be 27. Dividing this by the total number of credits (3*3 = 9) will give you a final figure of 3. Hence, your GPA will stand at 3. 

Here is a table that will help you understand the formula behind GPA calculations: 


Percentile Grade  4.0 Scale

4.0 + Scale

A +

97 – 100 4.0 4.3
A 93 – 96 4.0


A – 

90 -92 3.7 3.7
B + 87 – 89 3.3



83 – 86 3.0 3.0
B – 80 – 82 2.7


C +

77 – 79 2.3 2.3
C 73 – 76 2.0


C – 

70 – 72 1.7 1.7
D + 67 – 69 1.3



65 – 66 1.0 1.0
D –  Below 65 0.7



Below 65 0.0


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Taking this formula in mind, here is another example of calculation that you can carefully observe: 


Credit Hrs Grade Point for Grades Weighted Grade Pts.
Physics 4 A 4

4 x 4 = 16


3 B 3 3 x 3 = 9
English 3 B 3

3 x 3 = 9


5 A 4 5 x 4 =20
  Total = 15    

Total = 54

Your Grade Point Average will be 3.6 (54 divided by 15). 

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What is CGPA? 

Thinking about what is CGPA? Cumulative Grade Point Average is used for measuring the overall performance of an aspirant. CGPA calculation is done through getting the mean of the GPA awarded to the student in each semester and then dividing with the total number of credits. Based upon the CGPA system of assessment, specific grades are given for a range of scores. For example, 85-90 marks will have Grade Point 8. A CGPA conversion table is often available to institutions in this regard. 

Here is a formula cum example table that will help you understand the concept better: 


Credit Hours GPA Weight Average GPA
1 22 3.5

22 x 3.5 = 77


20 3.2 20 x 3.2 = 64
  Total = 42  

Total = 141

CGPA = 141/42 = 3.36

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Difference between GPA and CGPA

The difference between GPA and CGPA is majorly in the fact that GPA measures performance in a single semester or unit while the latter measures performance in the entire course (covering all semesters and units). The difference between CGPA and GPAcan be understood through the following pointers: 

1. GPA spans a smaller duration, i.e. a semester or term while CGPA covers a longer time period like the entire degree/course duration (inclusive of all semesters). 

2. You should score a good GPA in every semester to obtain a better average or CGPA in your degree course. GPA is thus linked to CGPA. 

3. Universities usually consider GPAs of students for evaluating consistency in academic performance throughout any course. They often emphasize less on CGPA. If you are thinking of studying abroad, institutions will mostly ask for GPA scores instead of the overall CGPA. The latter is however emphasized more in universities across India. 

4. GPA makes use of grades such as A, B, C, and so on. CGPA has points between the 1-10 scale ranges. These are further divided throughout specific ranges of marks. 

5. Universities in India make use of the 10-point GPA method while the 4-point GPA method is used by universities in the United Kingdom and many other countries. CGPA often makes use of a uniform system of grading although marks-based bifurcation may vary across universities or countries. 

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Importance of GPA and CGPA

Both GPA and CGPA are highly important for your academic journey and future prospects. Your GPA should remain consistent for you to get a good CGPA score. Colleges and universities will seek both your GPA and CGPA and you should emphasize on both. Both GPA and CGPA will be displayed on your mark sheet, influencing your applications for higher studies abroad, placements and scholarships. 

CGPA is vital for cut-offs at several scholarships and university courses. Students often fall short of the criteria by simple decimal numbers. Hence, make sure that you strive for consistent GPAs throughout your course and an impressive CGPA at its conclusion.

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