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

By Neha Kumari Updated On - Jun 22, 2022 04:56 PM

Grade Point Average (GPA) is the average of all the grades obtained by a student in their academic studies. It is an international grading standard used for admissions in universities abroad and is measured in numerals, alphabets on a different scale in various countries.

The grading system in education is a standardised process to define different levels of academic abilities of a student. The education system and grading system in each country across the world will be varied and are set as a standard for admissions within the country. However, to study in a foreign country, the need for a uniform grading system was realised. To sort out the problem, an internationally recognised calculation was introduced to calculate the grades, which is referred to as the Grade Point Average (GPA).

In all likelihood, if you are planning to study abroad in any of the popular study abroad destinations such as the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and more, the universities you choose would require you to meet certain academic requirements. These academic requirements would be stated in terms of GPA, i..e Grade Point Average, which is usually set on a scale of 0 to 4.0 across different universities. However, since India considers its academic requirements in percentage or grades, these universities would require you to convert your percentage or grade into GPA equivalent, which is usually done by recognised and authorised organisations.

If you wish to study abroad but do not know how to convert your scores into GPA, then we recommend talking to our experienced study abroad experts who have helped thousands of Indian students to study abroad. 

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What is GPA?

Short for Grade Point Average, GPA is a standardised manner of measuring a student's academic achievements. Much like scoring marks in India, several countries outside, for instance, the US, use different grading scales in schools and colleges. To find some sort of uniformity and conform scores obtained in schools to those acceptable in universities, GPA was created. Strictly assuming a grading scale of alphabets, i.e. A to F, each alphabet or grade is associated with grade points. 

As the name suggests, GPA calculates the average, or overall, the performance of a student and classifies them under the grades, i.e. A, B, C, D, E and F. Using this standard, universities are then able to quantify your academic rigour and figure out if you are academically qualified to complete a particular academic programme offered by a particular university abroad.

What is a CGPA?

Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA is typically used to assess a student's overall academic performance. The cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is determined by taking the mean of the GPA a student receives each semester and dividing it by the total number of credits. According to the CGPA system, specific grades are assigned to ranges of marks, such as Grade Point 9 for 90-95 marks. 

Some institutions ask applicants to submit their scores in the four-point GPA scale format, but the majority of universities require applicants to submit their grades on a 10-point CGPA scale. Candidates can still do a preliminary calculation to know how to convert CGPA into a percentage for their reference only.

What is an SGPA?

The full form of SGPA is Semester Grade Point Average, and it is one of the most popular ways to assess a student's performance at the college and university level. The SGPA is represented by a number and is used to assess a student's performance. Not only is it necessary to be accepted into top universities for higher education, but it also helps to know how well you comprehend the concepts and where you need to improve. It is important for you to understand how it is calculated, how to convert SGPA into a percentage and how it will impact your overall grade. An SGPA is calculated by taking the weighted average of a student's cumulative marks from each subject taken during a semester.

Difference Between Grades, GPA and CGPA

Students who are interested in studying abroad must know the difference between the grading system and GPA, as GPA is required to complete the application process at an international institution. 

A Grade is a numerical value in the form of marks or percentages obtained by a student for a particular course in a specific period of time. In Indian schools and colleges, students receive marks out of 100 for each subject and the overall marks in all subjects are converted into a percentage to get the final score of a term. 

Grade Point Average (GPA) is the average of grades obtained by students in a given period of time and is represented in the form of numerical or letters. For example, it can range on a scale of 0 to 4.0 or A to F.

GPA is calculated for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students for admissions to foreign educational institutions to compare the past academic performances of applicants.

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) is similar to GPA. It is another grading system that is also used in India. However, it is only defined in numerical form on a scale of 0 to 10. 

The following formula is used to calculate the CGPA on a scale of 0 to 10.

CGPA = (Percentage /90) * 10

For example, if the percentage is 70% then,

CGPA = (70/ 90) * 10 = 7.7 out of 10 

Education Grading System in India 

The Education Grading System in India is constantly adapting and changing to the current needs of society. In India, marks are allotted in the form of percentage or CGPA (0- 10). Based on the percentage obtained, the following qualifications are defined:


Academic Division

75% and above


60% to 74.9%

1st Division

50% to 69.9%

2nd Division 

40% to 49.9%

3rd Division

CBSE follows a grading system for class X & XII students in which marks are represented in Grade Points on a scale of 0 to 10 and grades in alphabets which is as follows:

Marks Range


Grade Point


  10.0- 9.1


81 - 90

9.0 - 8.1


71 - 80

8.0 - 7.1


61 - 70

7.0 - 6.1


51 - 60

6.0 - 5.1


41 - 50

5.0 - 4.1 


31 - 40

4.0 - 3.1 


21 - 30

3.0 - 0.0

E1 & E2

Education Grading System in Foreign Countries 

GPA is the grading method used in countries like the United States, Canada and Australia, which are some of the top study abroad destinations for higher education. However, these countries use different grading scales to determine the GPA. For example, the GPA scale used in US universities ranges from 0.0 to 4.0, while, in Australia, the GPA Grade scale ranges from 0.0 to 7.0.

Grading System Countries
A-F (0-4) US, Canada, Thailand, Saudi Arabia
1-5 Germany, Austria, Russia, Slovakia, Paraguay
1-10   The Netherlands, Colombia, Latvia, Israel
Percentage Kuwait, Belgium, Hungary, Poland

Why is GPA Important? 

GPA is important because there are various grading systems acceptable in different countries and universities. To avoid confusion and ease the international student admission process, universities abroad convert the marks or percentages into a common and standardised format, known as the GPA.

For example, if you are planning to get admitted to one of the universities in the United States, the percentage/ marks you secured in your home country, will be converted to a scale of 0 to 4.0.

GPA is needed to complete the application process at universities abroad but also simplify the entire admission process for both the universities and the aspiring overseas students. It is used to determine the level of performance of students in academics based on which the admission decision is taken. 

In addition, a good GPA is one of the first things used by universities to offer scholarships, financial aid, or other types of support. It will also help you join an organisation or club, participate in extracurricular activities and take up higher education.

How to Calculate Grade Point Average (GPA)

The process of calculating the Grade Point Average is defined by the countries themselves.

  • GPA on a scale of 0 to 10 is calculated using the following formula - Percentage/ 9.5 which results in a score on a scale of 0 to 10. For example, if the percentage is 65% then its corresponding GPA will be 6.84 out of 10.

  • However, there is no straightforward formula to calculate the GPA on a scale of 0 to 4.0. To know the exact GPA on a scale of 0 to 4.0, aspirants can use the paid services of WES (World Education Services).

  • Either way, students can calculate their GPA if they have an idea of the following:

    • Credits taken - These are the total number of credits for the courses you have taken at the university.

    • Final grades - These are grades you earned at the end of your program.

    • Point values for your grades - Each grade is assigned a point value between 0.00 and 4.00.

  • For Indian students, this is how you can calculate your GPA:
Numerical Grade Letter Grade Equivalent GPA
97-100 A+ 4.0
94-96 A 4.0
90-93 A- 3.7
87-89 B+ 3.3
84-86 B 3.0
80-83 B- 2.7
77-79 C+ 2.3
74-76 C 2.0
70-73 C- 1.7
67-69 D+ 1.3
64-66 D 1.0
60-63 D- 0.7
0-59 F 0.0

Most universities and colleges will have a dedicated international student’s office or an admission office, wherein the university will be able to guide the students in converting their scores that are accepted by the university itself.

Weighted vs Unweighted GPA

A weighted GPA gives greater weight to grades in accelerated courses such as AP French or Honors Biology. Here, a B might which is normally equal to a 3.0, a B in an accelerated course would be more like a 3.3 on a weighted scale.

On the other hand, an unweighted GPA is the average of all grades earned on the 4.0 scale where the difficulty of courses taken is not considered. Whether you get an A in a challenging course or an easy one, the GPA will stand at 4.0.

What is a Good GPA?

There is usually no good GPA as it varies depending on the university, level of education or course. You can check out the GPA ranges of former students at the university you are applying to in order to have an idea of what a "good" GPA specific to the university is. 

That said, a GPA that will help you earn scholarships, financial aid or other support ranges between 2.5 and 4.0 on a 4.0 scale. Top universities abroad usually demand GPAs higher than 3.5 but if you have a GPA of 3.0-3.5, you can certainly get into a leading university.

If you are looking for some of the best universities to study abroad then you can reach out to us at abroad@collegedekho.com to resolve your queries right from our study abroad experts.

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How do I calculate my GPA easily?

You can calculate your GPA easily by dividing the percentage by 100 and multiplying the value by 4. You can calculate your GPA by using the formula: GPA= (Percentage/100)*4. For example, if you had an exam grade of 95%, your GPA would be 95%*4 = 3.8. On the other hand, to convert GPA to a percentage, you can use the formula: percentage = (GPA*100)/4. Again, if your GPA is 3.8, for instance, your percentage is (3.8*100)/4, or 95%.

What is my GPA on a 4.0 scale?

A 4.0 GPA is equivalent to an A or A+, followed by a 3.0 GPA for a B, a 2.0 GPA for a C, and a 1.0 GPA for a D. When your grade is followed by a plus or minus, the plus represents an addition of one-third of a point and the minus represents a reduction of one-third of a point.

Is a GPA of 4.3 good?

Yes, a GPA of 4.3 is considered a good score. This GPA is above a 4.0, which indicates that it is weighted and takes into account both your grades and the difficulty of your classes. It most likely represents that you are taking advanced courses and obtaining As and Bs.

What is the main difference between CGPA and SGPA?

The main difference between CGPA and SGPA is that the cumulative grade point average, or CGPA, is the standard grade used to assess your overall performance over the course of an academic year. The sum of all the CGPAs obtained at the end of a programme of study is the semester grade point average or SGPA.

What is the SGPI grade?

The Semester Grade Performance Index or SGPI grade is a number that represents a student's performance over the course of a semester. The SGPI is the weighted average of the learner's grade points from all courses taken throughout the semester.

What do most colleges look at, weighted or unweighted GPAs?

Most colleges do look at unweighted GPAs. A high weighted GPA implies that a student can sustain that level of achievement even when faced with a challenging curriculum. A high unweighted GPA indicates that a student is academically proficient. Both of those factors are important to institutions when evaluating applicants for admission.

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