Is Cumulative GPA Weighted or Unweighted?

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Cumulative GPA is sometimes used interchangeably with weighted GPA and other times with unweighted GPA, so it can be confusing to know if cumulative GPA is weighted or unweighted.

High school cumulative GPA means that it is your overall GPA from all your high school classes, and it can be unweighted (meaning all classes are worth the same points) or weighted (meaning that advanced classes are worth more points).

Cumulative GPA should not be used interchangeably with weighted OR unweighted GPA—it means something entirely different.

Unweighted and weighted GPAs are two different types of GPAs—it makes sense to compare them since they both refer to how classes are given points for GPA. However, cumulative GPA is not related.

Cumulative GPA can be compared with semester GPA since both refer to how many courses are included in your GPA calculation.

Read on to learn more about cumulative unweighted GPA and cumulative weighted GPA, how to know if your cumulative GPA is weighted or unweighted, and which GPA colleges look at.

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What is cumulative GPA?

Cumulative GPA is your overall GPA from the average of all your classes (instead of your GPA for that semester only). Therefore, a high school cumulative GPA is the average of how you did in all your high school classes.

You find your GPA by:

1. Giving your letter grade the corresponding grade point, which is generally:

Letter GradePercentage GradeGPA
A+98.00 – 100.004.00
A92.00 – 97.994.00
A-90.00 – 91.993.67
B+88.00 – 89.993.33
B82.00 – 87.993.00
B-80.00 – 81.992.67
C+78.00 – 79.992.33
C72.00 – 77.992.00
C-70.00 – 71.991.67
D+68.00 – 69.991.33
D62.00 – 67.991.00
D-60.00 – 61.990.67
Fbelow 600.00
Sources: University of Illinois GPAOpens in a new tab. and Numerical GradesOpens in a new tab.

2. If each class is worth one credit (most high school classes are, but you should check), then you can skip multiplying your grade point by the number of credits.

3. Add all the grade points up and then divide them by the number of classes.

What is a cumulative unweighted GPA?

A cumulative unweighted GPA is the average of your final grades from all your classes, and the grades from all your classes are equal in weight, so an A in history and an A in AP Chemistry are both worth 4.0 grade points.

A cumulative unweighted GPA is usually on a 4.0 scale.

What is cumulative weighted GPA?

A cumulative weighted GPA is the average of the final grades from all your classes, but the challenging classes, such as honors, AP, IB, or dual enrollment college courses, are given more points. Typically, advanced courses are given 1 extra point (or sometimes half a point).

With a weighted GPA, an A in history would be worth 4.0, and an A in AP Chemistry would be worth 5.0.

Cumulative weighted GPA is generally on a 5.0 scale.

Let’s look at an example of the difference between unweighted and weighted GPA:

ClassLetter gradeUnweighted grade pointWeighted grade point
Spanish A4.04.0
AP United States HistoryA4.05.0
AP ChemistryC2.03.0
GPA:Unweighted GPA: (4+4+4+2+3)/5 = 3.4Weighted GPA: (4+5+4+3+3)/5 = 3.8
Note: In this example, each class is worth 1 credit, and AP courses are worth an extra point.
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How do I know if my cumulative GPA is weighted or unweighted?

You can know if your cumulative GPA is weighted or unweighted by:

  • Checking the student handbook for what it says about what type of GPA your school uses.
  • Looking on the school website for information about how GPA is calculated.
  • Talking to your guidance counselor.
  • Reviewing your transcript or report card and comparing the grade points you earned for advanced classes to regular classes. Does it look like you were given extra points?

Do colleges look at cumulative GPAs? Unweighted or weighted GPA?

In general, colleges look at a student’s cumulative GPA from high school. They will look at cumulative unweighted GPA or cumulative weighted GPA. Colleges understand students will report their GPAs how their high school determined them—schools use different GPA scales and calculate their students’ GPAs differently.

Colleges review the student’s entire academic record, including what courses were taken and the grades earned. They will examine if students took challenging courses and what courses were available to them (some schools do not offer AP classes).

Colleges will compare a 4.0 scale GPA against a 4.0 scale and a 5.0 scale against a 5.0 scale—they compare unweighted with unweighted and weighted with weighted.

Many colleges recalculate students’ GPAs so they can compare GPAs more uniformly.

Now that you know that your high school cumulative GPA can be weighted or unweighted, find out more about Weighted or Unweighted GPAsOpens in a new tab..

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