What is GPA (Grade Point Average) & Why is it so Important?

what is gpa

What is GPA in India or anywhere else, for that matter? GPA stands for the Grade Point Average, indicating your performance in your educational courses. It is a number that lies between 1 and 4 on the regular GPA scale. It is used to assess whether your grades are high or low. The number obtained on a GPA scale is then used as an eligibility criterion by the college or University to shortlist the candidates for any degree course.

Why is GPA important? 

Now that you know what is GPA score, it is time that we moved towards discussing the importance of this grading system. It is essential to apply to degree courses at universities and colleges abroad while also simplifying the entire procedure greatly for aspiring students. It helps determine performance levels in academics, which directly influences admission decisions. Universities also use the GPA for providing financial support, scholarships, and other support. It also helps participate in various activities, clubs, organizations, etc. 

How does GPA work? 

GPA (Grade Point Average) is a score that helps measure academic performance throughout your course tenure. The average GPA is a figure showing your usual score throughout a particular term, semester, or year. The scores may move up and down throughout your academic journey and will change based on your improvement in your overall grades. 

How to calculate GPA

Point Scale Grade GPA
0 E 0
1 D 1.0
2 C 2.0
3 B 3.0
4 A or 100% 4.0

Every grade that you get will be corresponding to a specific point. This is mostly on a scale of four points (0-4) or any multiple of 4. The highest grade possible, i.e. Grade A, 100% or 5/10, will equal the highest number on this scale of four points. Suppose you get two credits each in Subjects A and B and three credits in Subject C. Then, the grades will be C for Subject A (2.0 on the GPA scale), B for Subject B (3.0 on the GPA scale) and A for Subject C (4.0 on the GPA scale).

The basic formula for calculation is the following- 

Average GPA = Adding Grade * Credit for each course / total credits 

If the grades are multiplied by the number of credits for every course, you will find that Subject A gives you four grade points, Subject B gives you six grade points, and Subject C gives you twelve grade points. This is a total of twenty-two points, and you can work out the average GPA by dividing this figure by the total credits, i.e. 7. Hence, dividing 22 by 7 gives you 3.14 as your Grade Point Average (GPA). 

GPA calculation usually happens on an un-weighted scale and a four-point scale. A weighted GPA uses a 0-5.0 scale. They account for course difficulty. What is cumulative GPA? It takes smaller durations into account, like one semester or a particular academic term. 

Cumulative GPA is the average of all the grades obtained by any student for a whole term or semester. This calculation considers all subjects. For example, suppose a student has A, B and A grades in one semester. The cumulative GPA will thus be the average of 4, 3, and 4 going by the table provided above, which works out to 3.67. The measurement is done on a scale of four points. Some countries do it on a scale of ten points as well. 

Here is an example for calculating cumulative GPA. Suppose there are three subjects of the student: 

  1. English- Grade A, 4.0 (Grade Point), 3 Credits and 12 as the raw value (grade point x credits).
  2. History- Grade A, 4.0 (Grade Point), 3 Credits and 12 as the raw value (grade point x credits)
  3. Political Science- Grade B, 3.0 (Grade Point), 2 Credits and six as the raw value (grade point x credits)

Now, the total of raw values is 12 + 12 + 6 = 30. Dividing this by the number of credits (8) gives you the unweighted GPA, 3.75. 

What is a good GPA? 

This depends on the education level, i.e., it is easier to get a better GPA while in school than in university/college. Top universities/colleges require 3.5 GPAs or more. There are those which accept 2.5 or 3 as well. Weighted GPAs are sometimes analyzed by admissions committees as well. Falling below the minimum GPA criteria will lead to admissions being rejected or losing scholarships/financial aid. A GPA between 3 and 3.5 is considered good at most institutions while applying to study abroad.

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