How to Calculate Weighted GPA: Easiest Methods + Examples

When you’re applying for colleges, some of them may require you to submit your weighted GPA. Read this to learn how to calculate weighted GPA the easiest way.

TCM Staff

3rd November 2022

How does a weighted GPA work? And how do you calculate for yours? Learn more about the weighted grade scale, including why you should care about yours.

Your GPA or grade point average is an essential metric used to measure your academic performance. Once you enter high school, your GPA becomes more important than ever — especially for when you finally start applying to colleges and universities.

Many schools require a minimum GPA for you to even be able to apply. Some, like the top-tier, prestigious universities, don’t advertise a minimum requirement. However, they might as well do so, considering there are unspoken minimums due to the extremely high average GPAs of applicants hoping to get in.

Before you begin obsessing about your GPA and how you can boost it before you graduate, it’s a good idea to first learn about weighted GPAs, what they mean for you, and why they’re important.

Some colleges require you to submit your weighted GPA when you apply. But what is a weighted GPA, exactly? And how is a weighted GPA calculated? Read on to learn how to calculate weighted GPA numbers from your grades!

What is a Weighted GPA?

You probably already know that your GPA, or grade point average, represents your academic performance. The commonly used GPA is unweighted, following a 1.0 to 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is the highest possible score. The most basic way to calculate your GPA is simply to convert your letter grades into their number equivalents (on a scale of 4.0), add them all, and then divide the sum by the number of courses or subjects. Many colleges accept your unweighted GPA when you apply, but many look for your weighted average GPA instead.

So what is a weighted GPA?

Weighted GPAs are a lot like regular, unweighted GPAs. Like an unweighted GPA, weighted GPAs are calculated by converting letter grades to number equivalents, adding all the scores, then dividing the sum by the number of courses or subjects. But before we talk more in depth about how to calculate your weighted GPA, let’s first look at the difference between weighted vs. unweighted GPAs.

  • Weighted GPAs follow a scale of 5.0 rather than 4.0. Thus, using this system, the highest possible score is a 5.0.
  • The reason weighted GPAs follow a 5.0 scale is because it assigns varying “weights” to the subjects or courses you are taking. Under this weighted system, the more difficult and academically-demanding classes will have a higher maximum score equivalent. For example, honors and AP subjects will earn you a 5.0 for an A or A+, while an A/A+ in high school French will only get you a 4.0.
  • One of the reasons some colleges ask you for your weighted GPA rather than unweighted is because a GPA above 4.0 shows them that you have chosen a few more challenging subjects during high school.

Now that you know the difference between a weighted and unweighted GPA, are you ready to learn how to find your weighted GPA? If you’re still asking, “how do you calculate weighted GPA?” Check out the following section to learn the easiest way to do it!

How to Calculate Weighted GPA the Easy Way

Right now, you’re probably asking, “what is my weighted GPA?” Calculating for your GPA isn’t all that difficult, especially once you grasp how to do it. Here’s “how to weight your GPA” in the easiest way.

  • Find out the scale your high school uses for grade point averages. See if you can find the letter grade to number score conversion, because not all high schools follow the same conversion scale.
  • List your grades from each of your subjects and note which ones are higher-level and which are “regular” subjects.
  • Convert your letter grades into the number equivalent following the conversion scale.
  • Divide the sum by the total number of your classes to get your weighted GPA.

Another way on how to calculate a weighted GPA in the simple way is:

  • Follow the normal, unweighted 4.0 scale conversion for your regular classes
  • Adjust mid-level classes, like honor subjects, by adding 0.5 to the unweighted scale
  • Add a full 1.0 for high-level subjects like AP classes

Let’s look at an example unweighted conversion chart.

Example Unweighted GPA Conversion Chart

Your Letter Grade

Unweighted GPA Equivalent

A+

4.0

A

4.0

A-

3.7

B+

3.3

B

3.0

B-

2.7

C+

2.3

C

2.0

C-

1.7

D+

1.3

D

1.0

F

0.0

Now let’s see a sample weighted conversion chart.

Example Weighted GPA Conversion Chart

Your Letter Grade

Mid-Level Subject Weighted GPA

High-Level Subject Weighted GPA

A+

4.5

5.0

A

4.5

5.0

A-

4.2

4.7

B+

3.8

4.3

B

3.5

4.0

B-

3.2

3.7

C+

2.8

3.3

C

2.5

3.0

C-

2.2

2.7

D+

1.8

2.3

D

1.5

2.0

F

0.0

0.0

Related: Want to convert in the other direction? Check out this easy guide on how to convert your weighted GPA to unweighted.

 

Example Weighted GPA Calculations

We’ve shown you how to calculate weighted GPA in high school. But now, you might be wondering whether you can see some examples. You don’t need to worry about how to find weighted GPA examples — we’ve put together the calculations below to give you a better idea of how it all works.

First Semester Junior Year

Subject

Your Letter Grade

Unweighted Conversion

Weighted Conversion

French II

A+

4.0

4.0

AP Biology

B+

3.3

4.3

Honors English

B

3.0

3.5

AP Chemistry

A-

3.7

4.7

History

A

4.0

4.0

Adding the weighted conversions up and dividing by the total number of subjects, we get a weighted GPA of 4.1.

Second Semester Junior Year

Subject

Your Letter Grade

Unweighted Conversion

Weighted Conversion

French II

A-

3.7

3.7

AP Biology

B

3.0

4.0

Honors English

A+

4.0

4.5

AP Chemistry

A

3.3

5.0

History

A+

4.0

4.0

Adding the weighted conversions up, we find a total of 21.2. Dividing by 5 subjects, we get a weighted GPA of 4.24.

Why Should You Care About Your Weighted GPA?

Should you really care about your weighted GPA? Does it even really matter?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Paying attention to your weighted grade point average is vital, especially because it plays a big part on your college applications. Calculating your weighted GPA every so often will help you track your academic performance and find ways to improve as you go. After all, a higher GPA can increase your chances of admission to your dream schools, especially if you have a well-rounded application and a unique spike.

Besides helping you with tracking your academic performance and figuring out where you need to adjust, knowing your weighted GPA can help you see GPA advice in a different light. For example, it’s worth noting that a ton of the advice out there for increasing your GPA is based on the more widely-used unweighted scale. 

Some advice might tell you to aim for a 4.0, which is great on the unweighted scale, but is only about a B or B+ on the weighted. A 4.0 GPA on a 5.0 scale means you either took challenging high-level courses and got B(+)s, or only took regular courses and didn’t bother with high-level subjects. Either way, that won’t help your application, especially if you are aiming for colleges that are really hard to get into.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale or a 5.0?

If you’re asking, “what is a weighted GPA out of?”, the weighted grading scale follows the 5.0 scale. The reason for this is that weighted GPAs assign higher values to higher-level classes that are more challenging. For example, a regular English subject would be graded on a 4.0 scale, with an A or A+ garnering a 4.0. An AP English class, on the other hand, would require an A or A+ to earn a 5.0.

Is a 6.0 GPA possible?

What is the highest GPA you can get? Is it a 6.0? Yes — but only on rare occasions only. Some high schools may calculate GPAs using a 6.0 scale if they assign .5 values to + and - letter grades. Where some schools might count an A- as a 4.7 (on a 5.0 scale), some schools using a 6.0 scale might value an A- at 5.5. 

Is a weighted GPA of 3.7 good?

If you’re wondering, “what constitutes a good GPA, and is a 3.7 good?” The answer is: on the weighted 5.0 scale, a 3.7 is around average. A 3.7 comes out to around a B-, which isn’t bad at all and can be more than enough to get you into some schools. However, a 3.7 weighted GPA is likely lacking for admission to top universities.

Conclusion

Your GPA is an important part of your college application. And sometimes, some schools may request your weighted GPA rather than unweighted. It’s important to understand how both unweighted and weighted grading scales work so that you can continue doing what you can to work toward a higher GPA while you still have time. And if you aren’t quite able to boost your GPA by as much as you’d like, don’t fret — many colleges and universities use a holistic admissions approach, where your GPA is just one part of your entire application!

We hope that this guide has helped you understand what a GPA weighted is, and how to calculate weighted GPA numbers based on your grades. Good luck with your college applications!

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