How To Calculate Weighted GPA & Unweighted GPA: Guide + Table

February 27, 2024
4 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 2/27/24

Do you know how to calculate weighted GPA? How about unweighted? Let’s get into it. 

Understanding the ins and outs of weighted and unweighted GPAs can be challenging, but it's crucial for your academic journey and college applications, as well as for meeting certain requirements, such as those for medical school admissions.

Understanding the difference between them can really impact how your grades are seen, especially for competitive programs like medical school. That's where this guide comes in—it's here to clear up any confusion and help you calculate both types of GPAs.

Once you've got a handle on these concepts, you'll be better equipped to choose your courses wisely, track your progress accurately, and meet the GPA requirements. So, let's dive in and master these GPA basics together.

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Weighted GPA vs. Unweighted GPA: What’s the Difference?

An unweighted GPA averages grades on a 4.0 scale regardless of course difficulty, while a weighted GPA adjusts for harder classes, potentially giving grades higher than 4.0. The exact value depends on your school's grading system, but the idea is to reward students for taking on tougher academic challenges.

To calculate a weighted GPA, each grade is multiplied by a corresponding weight (usually on a scale higher than 4.0 for honors or AP classes) before averaging them together. This can result in a GPA above 4.0 for students who excel in challenging coursework.

In simple terms, unweighted GPAs treat all grades the same, while weighted GPAs adjust for the difficulty of your classes by giving more credit for tougher courses. Different schools use different systems to evaluate students' academic performance.

How to Calculate Weighted & Unweighted GPAs

Let's discuss how to calculate unweighted GPAs and weighted GPAs, a crucial aspect of the college application journey.

Unweighted GPA 

To calculate your unweighted GPA, simply convert your grades into points on a scale from 0.0 to 4.0. For example, an A or A+ typically equals 4.0, regardless of the percentage received, while failing grades usually equate to 0.0, often representing scores of 65% or lower.

Most high schools and colleges use unweighted GPAs to see how well students are doing. You can easily calculate this using the tool below. Check it out to see what your grades turn into on the scale, whether you have letter grades or percentages.

Grade Point Conversion Table

Letter Grade Percent Grade Grade Point
A+ 97-100 4.0
A 93-96 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 65-66 1.0
E/F Below 65 0.0

Once you've got the grade points for each of your courses, figuring out your unweighted GPA is simple. Just add up all the grade points and divide by the number of courses you took. 

This method is basically how you find averages, which is why it's called your grade point average. For example, let's say you took six courses and got six-letter grades. You can see how each letter grade corresponds to a grade point in the table below.


Class Letter Grade Grade Point
AP English A+ 4.0
Calculus B+ 3.3
Chemistry B 3.0
World History A 4.0
Band A+ 4.0
AP Spanish A 4.0

To figure out the student's unweighted GPA, you add up the grade points for each course and divide by the total number of courses. Then, round the result. For example, if the sum is 22.3 and there are 6 courses, the unweighted GPA is 3.72.

Even if the student takes challenging classes like Advanced Placement (AP) in English or Spanish, these don't get extra weight in the unweighted GPA. To include the effect of tough classes, we use a different system called weighted GPA.

Weighted GPA 

To calculate a weighted GPA, schools typically assign extra points to more challenger classes. For instance, a weighted GPA scale may range from 1.0 to 5.0, with more difficult classes receiving additional points. To find the average, you add up the grade points for each class and then divide by the number of classes. This method accounts for the added rigor of advanced coursework.

Let's use the same example to see how a student's GPA differs when it's weighted versus unweighted.


Class Letter Grade Unweighted Grade Point
AP English A+ 4.0
Calculus B+ 3.3
Chemistry B 3.0
World History A 4.0
Band A+ 4.0
AP Spanish A 4.0

In this example, the regular GPA is 3.72, and the weighted GPA is 4.72. With a grading scale from 0 to 5, you can get a GPA higher than the usual maximum of 4.0. For example, if a student gets all A grades, their average would be 5.0. Some schools use different scales like 4.5, 6.0, 9.0, 10.0, or others instead of the 0 to 5 scale.

Weighted & Unweighted GPA Calculator

To make calculating your weighted and unweighted GPAs easier, consider using an online GPA calculator. These tools allow you to input your grades for each course and then automatically compute your GPA based on the corresponding grade point scale. 

Whether you have letter grades or percentage scores, these calculators provide a simple way to get an accurate assessment of your GPA.

While we don't specifically endorse any particular calculator, there are many reliable options available online. Simply search for ‘weighted GPA calculator’ or ‘unweighted GPA calculator" to find one that suits your needs. 

These resources can be helpful for students, parents, and educators, offering an easy way to evaluate academic performance and set goals for the future.

Do Colleges Look at Weighted or Unweighted GPAs?

Medical school admissions committees consider more than just GPAs; they also weigh the difficulty of coursework, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and other components of your application.

For example, a student with a perfect 4.0 GPA might not impress as much as someone with a slightly lower GPA of 3.7 who tackled more challenging classes while staying active in extracurriculars. While some medical schools have minimum GPA requirements, meeting them doesn't guarantee admission. These requirements help manage the large number of applicants.

And if you're aiming for scholarships, you'll likely need a GPA higher than the minimum admission requirement. So, while a 2.0 GPA might be enough to get in, scholarships often require at least a 3.0 GPA.

To level the playing field between weighted and unweighted GPAs, many medical schools recalculate them, focusing on key subjects like biology, chemistry, and math while ignoring non-academic courses.

In short, medical school admissions committees consider more than just GPAs. They also weigh the difficulty of your coursework and your involvement in extracurricular activities. They also look at your letters of recommendation and other components of your application. And don't worry if your weighted GPA seems higher—it's all part of the admissions process. 


Understanding how to calculate weighted GPA is just one piece of the puzzle. Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions regarding weighted and unweighted GPAs. 

1. Is It Better to Enter Weighted or Unweighted GPA?

It is generally better to report the higher GPA, whether it's weighted or unweighted, as colleges typically do not have a preference.

2. What Is a 3.7 GPA Weighted to Unweighted?

A 3.7 weighted GPA may be around a 3.4 or 3.5 unweighted GPA, depending on your school's grading system. But remember, this can vary, so it's best to ask your school counselor for the exact conversion.

3. What GPA Do You Look At Weighted or Unweighted?

Most colleges tend to prioritize weighted GPAs slightly more because they offer a better indication of the rigor of the courses taken.

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to calculate both weighted and unweighted GPAs is essential for students navigating the college application process. While unweighted GPAs give a general idea of academic performance, weighted GPAs shed light on the rigor of coursework. 

Keep in mind colleges look at more than just GPA, considering factors like interviews, extracurriculars, and personal achievements. So, presenting a well-rounded application is key. Don't hesitate to reach out to school counselors and admissions professionals like our team of experts for guidance—we’re here to help!

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