What is the Difference Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA?

GPA, or grade point average, is a commonly used metric in educational institutions to evaluate a student’s academic performance. It is calculated by averaging the grades earned in all the courses taken by a student, and is used to determine the level of academic achievement of a student. There are two types of GPA: weighted and unweighted.

Unweighted GPA:

An unweighted GPA is the simple average of a student’s grades, with each grade given the same weight. In other words, it doesn’t take into account the difficulty level of the courses taken by a student. For example, an A in a regular class and an A in an honors class would both be given the same value in an unweighted GPA calculation.

Weighted GPA:

A weighted GPA, on the other hand, takes into account the difficulty level of the courses taken by a student. This means that the grades earned in more challenging courses are given more weight than those earned in less challenging ones. For example, an A in an honors class may be worth more than an A in a regular class, which may be worth more than an A in a remedial class.

How is a Weighted GPA Calculated?

Weighted GPAs are typically calculated on a scale of 4.0 or 5.0, depending on the school or institution. The highest possible grade in a regular class is usually an A, which is worth 4 points in a 4.0 scale. In a weighted scale, the highest possible grade in an honors or AP class may be worth 5 points. The specific point values assigned to each grade may vary depending on the institution.

To calculate a weighted GPA, the grades earned in each course are multiplied by a corresponding weight value, and then averaged. For example, if a student earned an A in a regular class worth 4 points, and an A in an honors class worth 5 points, the weighted GPA would be calculated as follows:

(4 * 1 + 5 * 1) / 2 = 4.5

In this example, the student’s weighted GPA would be 4.5, which is higher than their unweighted GPA because the honors class was given more weight.

Which one is better?

The answer to this question depends on the situation. In general, a weighted GPA is more accurate in reflecting a student’s academic performance because it takes into account the difficulty level of the courses taken. It can also be more helpful in college admissions, as colleges tend to place more emphasis on weighted GPAs when evaluating applicants.

However, unweighted GPAs may be more useful in situations where the courses taken by students are not comparable in terms of difficulty level. For example, if a student attends a school that offers very limited honors or AP courses, a weighted GPA may not be a fair reflection of their academic performance. In such cases, an unweighted GPA may provide a more accurate representation of the student’s abilities.


In conclusion, both weighted and unweighted GPAs have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them depends on the specific circumstances. Ultimately, it is important to remember that GPAs are just one of many factors that are considered in evaluating a student’s academic performance, and that they should not be the only factor in making important decisions about a student’s future.

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