What is Grade Point Average (GPA) and How is it Calculated?


It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the USA is the leader in many areas of technology and research, providing generous scholarships and funding to support international students in pursuing their higher education. One of the many aspects that set the USA’s education system apart is its grading system which assigns alphabetical or numerical scores to students, unlike the percentage system in many countries. Since GPA plays an integral role in the US admission process, you must know how it works and impacts your prospect of studying abroad.

GPA simplifies evaluating the performance of students applying to degree courses at universities and colleges abroad. Universities also consider GPA while providing financial support, scholarships, and other academic support to students. Usually, students with good GPAs are considered for financial aid as well as increase their chances of participating in various activities, clubs, organizations, etc.

Let us first look at different types of the grading system-


What is GPA?

Grade Point Average or GPA is a standard used to evaluate the academic performance of students by universities across the USA. It is the average of a student’s score achieved over the semesters and can be calculated for a course, semester or year. It is calculated on a scale of 0 to 4. Your GPA will influence the following –

  • Academic progression
  • Admission to advanced studies (e.g. honours)
  • Accreditation and quality assurance
  • Eligibility for prizes, University Medal, Award for Academic Excellence, and scholarships


What is CGPA?

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) is used in schools and colleges to evaluate the academic performance of students. As per the calculation, students are then allotted grades (A, B, C, D, E, and F). To find out CGPA, the grade points of all main subjects are added and then the sum is divided by the number of subjects.


What is SGPA?

Semester Grade Point Average is a standard used to calculate the performance of a student in a semester. It is important to consistently perform well to have high scores at the end of the program. To calculate your SGPA, you need to write down the credit points for each subject, multiply the credit point of each topic by the grade achieved in the subject, add all the scores and divide the total score by the sum of all credit points. The score you get is your SGPA.


How GPA is Calculated?

GPA’s are of two types-a weighted average and a simple average. A simple average is calculated by adding your scores of all courses throughout semesters and dividing them by the number of courses, whereas, the weighted average is more complex. The purpose of calculating is to assess students’ performance as per the level of difficulty of each course. Each course has a pre-decided number of hours assigned to it called credit hours. The weighted average is calculated by multiplying the grade point in each course with the credit earned by the student and dividing it by the number of courses taken by the student.

The formula used to calculate your GPA is mentioned below:

GPA = G = grade achieved in each course

P = credit point of each course

The sum of G x P


Simple Average

Subject Grade Grade point
Chemistry A 4
Algebra A 4
Literature B 3
French History B 3


Weighted Average

Subject Grade Credits Grade point
Chemistry A 3 4
Algebra A 3 4
Literature B 4 3
French B 4 3


What is a Good GPA?

This depends on many factors since it is easier to get a better GPA in school than in university. Top universities/colleges need 3.5 GPAs or more. However, there are many which accept 2.5 or 3. If the GPA is below the minimum GPA criteria, it will lead to rejection or loss of scholarships/financial aid. If you have a low GPA, you can still enroll at some universities but might not get financial support or other services.

Grade Point Meaning
4 Excellent
3 Good
2 Average
1 Barely passing
0 Failing


Academic Grading System in India

The grading system in India is different from other countries and allotted in the form of percentage or CGPA (0-10).

Percentage Academic Division
75% + Distinction
60%-74.9% 1st Division
50%-69.9% 2nd Division
40%-49.9% 3rd Division


CBSE Grading System in India

Marks Range Grade Grade Point
91-100 10.0-9.1 A1
81-90 9.0-8.1 A2
71-80 8.0-7.1 B1
61-70 7.0-6.1 B2
51-60 6.0-5.1 C1
41-50 5.0-4.1 C2
31-40 4.0-3.1 D
21-30 3.0-0.0 E1 & E2
Percentage Range GPA
90%- 100% 4
80%-89% 3
70%-79% 2
59%-69% 1
Below 59% 0


Academic Grading System in Different Countries

Grading System (GPA) Countries
A-F (0-4) US, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Thailand
1-5 Austria, Russia, Austria, Paraguay, Slovakia
1-10 Latvia, Columbia, Israel, The Netherlands
0.0-7 Australia
Percentage Poland, Kuwait, Hungary, Poland


How do I keep the overall GPA high?

Consistency is the only way to keep your GPA high. If your grades are always between 3 and 4, then even if your grade drops, it will not have any significant impact on your overall GPA score. In the USA, GPA plays a vital role when applying for a scholarship in college or a job at your dream company. In case you are going to study abroad, try to maintain good scores throughout.


GPA is NOT Everything

It may so happen that you fail to score a good GPA due to various personal reasons. A low or below-average GPA does not mean that you are not intelligent or a hard-working student. Your GPA does not indicate your worth as a student or decide whether you are a good candidate for a college. When you are applying to a school for higher studies, you will be required to submit your CV, Letter of recommendation and SOP, documents that outline and highlight your academic and extracurricular achievements. You will get many platforms to prove that you are diligent, disciplined and creative.

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What is a good GPA?

A good GPA is one that meets the eligibility criteria of the university you are applying to and ensures the acceptance of your application. Concurrently, a GPA score of 3.5 or above is considered good and is accepted by more than 85% of the universities across the world.

Why is your GPA important?

GPA is important because it is the most commonly used scale to evaluate the academic merit of the student. USA uses a four-point GPA scale, Australia has a seven-point GPA scale and New Zealand uses a nine-point GPA scale. However, you may need to go through the eligibility requirement of the college/university to know the GPA scale and their minimum requirement.

What is the highest GPA?

Essentially, the highest GPA you can earn is 4.0.

What is cumulative GPA?

Cumulative Grade Point Average is an average grade of a particular semester or term that is calculated by dividing the number of points achieved in all courses by the total credit hours in all courses.

What are the GPA requirements at UK universities?

GPA requirements at UK Universities are 3.2-3.67.

What are the GPA requirements of Australian Universities?

Australian Universities require students to have a 6 or 7 GPA score on a scale of 7.

What is the minimum GPA required by Canadian Universities?

A minimum cumulative GPA of 2 for UG students and 2.7 for graduate students are required by Canadian universities.

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