
Dear Concerned with Scores:
We strongly urge you to consult your guidance counselor at your high school for calculating your GPA. In case such help is not available, we encourage you to consult with a teacher you like and/or a teacher who likes you. We are saying this because the grading systems vary among high schools in the US. We can offer one common way to calculate GPA. Assume each course you take is graded with a letter grade or A, B, C, D, or F, which translates to a Grade Point of 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0, respectively. You add the grade points on all courses and divide the total by the number of courses. Here is an example:
The total of grade points is 14 on 6 courses. Thus, the GPA is 14/6 = 2.33. Note that the GPA is typically calculated by including the grades for all courses taken from grades 9 through 12. The calculation of GPA is complicated somewhat if you take Honors or AP (Advanced Placement) courses. In such cases, your prospective colleges will recalculate your GPA, typically by adding 1.0 or 1.5 to the Grade Point for each AP course. This results in an upward revision of your GPA. Also, if your high school uses a grading system of 0100 instead of FA, things are even more complicated. It is unlikely that all such schools use an identical assignment of grades for the calculation of a GPA in the standard range of 04. An example assignment is as follows:
A comment on the GPA is appropriate at this juncture. Unless you graduate from a wellknown, prestigious high school, you should concern yourself much more with your performance on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) than with your performance in your GPA. We are glad to hear that you are taking practice tests for the ACT. Continue your hard work towards that. Practice and hard work is what it takes to do well on the entrance exam. Trying to project your performance on the actual test from practice tests is not particularly productive. First, it depends on the quality of the practice test and how well it represents the actual test. Second, projecting performance is interesting but it does not help you in any way to do well on the actual tests. We encourage you to work hard to do your very best on the real exam. Continue practicing but do not become complacent. More hard work will lead you to a better score. Often when students ask what their real ACT score might be, they are really asking two questions: Is the score on the practice test likely to be what I score on the real test? Is this score on the practice test good enough to get into the college I want to go to? We cannot answer the first question, as we explained previously. We can give some very broad guidelines for thinking about the second question:
As you can see, an ACT score near 15 is not considered good. But you should also not view it as evidence that you cannot be accepted at a college. Remember: your chances for admission will be improved if you study very hard and do your best on the real test. And don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help. As a matter of policy and practice, we can not personally help you with the calculation of your GPA. You can perhaps understand why. We get hundreds of email inquiries every week and we can not afford to indulge in offering personal help. We wish you the very best.
