As a student, you are always advised to keep your GPA as high as you can. This is because most of the higher institutions will select students on the basis of their GPA. Although when you take normal courses you get the grades on the 4.0 scale. But to increase the GPA many students take the advanced courses which give them the advantage of a high GPA when calculated on the weighted system. When your institution takes the advanced course into consideration, the. You can get a high GPA of 5.0. This might be confusing, and to get clear with it further, we have discussed on 4.0 vs. 5.0 GPA scale.
- In the 4.0 GPA scale or the unweighted GPA system, the level of the subject is not considered.
- In the 5.0 GPA scale or the weighted GPA system, the level of the subject is taken into consideration.
- When the grades are calculated on the basis of the weighted GPA system, you get an extra point for AP courses and 0.5 for the honour course.
- An unweighted GPA helps to show the determination of the students. On the other hand, a weighted GPA helps to understand how competitive the student is.
However, you must read till the end so that you do not miss any important facts related to the 4.0 and 5.0 scale.
4.0 vs 5.0 GPA Scale: What is the difference?
Further, we have discussed the main difference between them-
When you get a GPA on a scale of 4.0 GPA, it is known as an unweighted GPA. It is the standard GPA system used in most of the institutions in the US. In this type of calculation, the level of the subject is not considered. On the other hand, getting a GPA on a scale of 5.0 GPA is known as a weighted GPA. However, the highest GPA that you can get for a weighted GPA will depend upon whether you are studying an AP or an honour course.
If you have taken honour courses then you will be getting 4.5 as the highest GPA on weighted GPA. But if you have taken an AP course then you can get 5.0 as the highest GPA on the weighted GPA system. It means that this type of GPA values the level of the subject.
2. Importance of GPA
Both the GPAs are important in their own ways and thus both of them are considered by most of the institutions. It is because an unweighted GPA helps to determine how dedicated and focused a student is for his/her studies. Whereas a weighted GPA helps to show how competitive you are. It means it helps to determine how will you do when you are in a competition.
Note: You must remember that the calculations for both GPAs are different. Thus, further, we have discussed how to calculate both GPAs.
How to calculate an unweighted GPA?
An unweighted GPA is the standard GPA that most of the institutions use. Therefore it is slightly easier to calculate unweighted GPA. To understand it better, focus on the example given below.
Suppose you have taken four courses in a semester in which one is an honour course and you have received the following points for a different subject.
- English – A
- French – A
- Maths – B
- Honour Chemistry – B
Now as your institution calculates your GPA on the basis of the unweighted method the great point value that you get for these grades is-
A – 4.0 and B – 3.0 (There will be no extra point for the honour Chemistry course as your GPA is being calculated on the basis of the unweighted system).
Now add the grade points you get for each of the courses and get an average for it. So your unweighted GPA will be
(4.0 + 4.0 + 3.0 + 3.0 = 14.0)/ 4 = 3.5
Thus you can say that in this case, your GPA is 3.5 on the basis of an unweighted system i.e on the scale of 4.0 GPA.
How to calculate weighted GPA?
All the now you know how to calculate an unweighted GPA here is a time to learn how to calculate a weighted GPA. Calculating a weighted GPA is slightly higher than the unweighted GPA system. Let us understand it with the help of the previous example.
Again there are four courses in a semester in which one is an honour course and you have received the following points for different subjects.
- English – A
- French – A
- Maths – B
- Honour Chemistry – B
Now as your institution calculates your GPA on the basis of the weighted method the grade point value that you get for these grades is-
A – 4.0, B – 3.0 and B – 3.5 (There will be an extra half point for honour Chemistry course as your GPA is being calculated on the basis of the unweighted system).
Once you know the grade points of each of the subjects, you will need to add the grade point values for each of the subjects and divide them by the number of subjects you have taken.
(4.0 + 4.0 + 3.0 + 3.5 = 14.5)/4 = 3.625
Thus we can say that a slight difference between the level of the classes you are taking up can help in increasing your final weighted GPA. Further, we have discussed the table to understand the Grade points against the letter grades on both scales.
What are the letter grades, Unweighted and Weighted GPA?
The following table will help you to understand the weighted and Unweighted GPA along with the letter grades-
|Letter Grade||Unweighted GPA (Standard)||Weighted GPA (AP Course)||Weighted GPA (Honor Course)|
Do colleges look at weighted or unweighted GPAs?
As we have discussed above both the GPAs have their own importance to the colleges or the higher institution. The unweighted GPA is the standard grading system and helps to show the determination of the student to study the subject. Whereas, a weighted GPA helps to value the tough level of the subject. Further, whether the college will choose the weighted or unweighted will depend upon the policies of the institution.
It is because there are many institutions that believe that the student takes an honour course just to increase their GPA and not because they are actually interested. Thus it will depend upon the college, whether they will see the weighted GPA or not.
One of the biggest confusion among the students is how to calculate the GPA. Usually, there are two types of subjects simple and tough. When your GPA is calculated it may either only consider your grades or consider both the grade and the difficulty level of the subject. When the difficulty level of the subject is also considered, the GPA is calculated on the basis of a 5.0 scale which is known as a weighted GPA.
Whereas, when the difficulty level is not considered, your final GPA is calculated on the basis of a 4.0 scale which is known as an unweighted GPA. An unweighted GPA is the one that will help to show your determination whereas, a weighted GPA will help to show how competitive you are.