What's your GPA

GPA "Grade Point Average"

The grade point average in the USA and how you can convert your German school grades

The GPA ("Grade Point Average") is the expression used in the United States for your grade point average. With it, your academic performance can be expressed in just one number. For example, you need a GPA to apply for a high school year. Find out here how you can transfer your German school grades into the American grading system and calculate your own GPA and what you need to consider.


What is the GPA?

GPA is an abbreviation for “Grade Point Average” and can be translated into German as “Grade Point Average”. The expression will mainly used in the USA, but also in other countries. Both American high school and American college students receive a GPA for their accomplishments. It is used in high school, college, internship and job applications.

The basis for the GPA calculation is the American grading system that differs significantly from the German system. Due to the high number of German-speaking pupils and students who complete a high school year or a semester abroad in the USA, a conversion of German grades into American grades is now common and in also standardized to certain limits. This means that a GPA can also be calculated from German grades.

This is not only the basis for applying for an exchange year at a high school or college in the USA, but also enables you to do your return to Germany yours convert American grades into German grades and have them recognized.

The American Grading System and the GPA

A rating scale from A to F is used for individual school subjects in the USA. A is the best and F the worst, an E is not awarded. You have passed with grades A, B, C and D., an F means failed.

The simplest assignment of German to American notes is:

1 corresponds to A
2 corresponds to B
3 corresponds to C
4 corresponds to D.
5/6 corresponds to F.

In addition, for American notes Gradations can be made by the symbols + and -. In order to be able to calculate a GPA, these grades are now assigned numerical values. The higher the grade, the higher the numerical value. Overall, the following comparative values ​​result for German and American notes:

So the best GPA value is 4.0, the worst 0.0. The values ​​are, however not fully standardized. An example of this is the number of decimal places: in some schools only one decimal place is used (a B + is then a 3.3), in others two places are used (a B + is then a 3.33). So always find out exactly which grading system is relevant for you.

Also in the US are still other staves used. Then, for example, a 5.0 is the best grade. If you convert your grades using this scale, you will get a higher average value than with a 4.0 as the best grade. Even if the 4.0 scale is the most widespread, you should always state the grading system based on which your GPA value was calculated so that there is no confusion.

Weighting of grades and GPA calculation

You can now easily manage your GPA using the Calculate the average of all your grades. To do this, you add up all grades and then divide them by the total number of grades. However, this only works if all subjects are equally important. Since that is not the case, they still need to be weighted. You can use the Weight lessons per week.

Imagine that you want to calculate an American GPA value from the following German school subjects:

In the first step you transfer the German grades into the American grading system:

In the second step, you multiply the American grades by the number of hours per week and add up all the results:

Grand total: 60

In the third step, you divide the result by the sum of all weekly hours and you get your GPA. In this example it would be:

60 / 18 = 3,33.

The calculation for students is based on the same principle, only here for example credit points instead of weekly hours.

Possible problems converting German school grades for a GPA

A problem with the conversion of German school grades can arise from the fact that it is compared to the American system fewer grades gives. In principle, the German school system has only six grades, with both 5 and 6 standing for “failed”. If no additional grades are awarded, then the calculation is a GPA inaccurate. In some cases this can be an advantage for you, but sometimes it can also be a disadvantage.

Imagine that you have a grade point average of 1.6 in a certain school subject. Your teacher turns this into a 2+ on the semester report. In the American grading system, a 2+ becomes a B + or a 3.3. Your average will not change until the end of the year, so it is still 1.6. Your teacher will now give you a 2, as there are no graduations in the form of plus and minus on the end-of-year report. In the American grading system, this becomes a B or a 3.0. So your grade has deteriorated without your grade point average having changed. An improvement in your grade is conceivable, for example, if you had a 3 in the semester, which then becomes a 3 on the certificate at the end of the school year.

This problem does not usually arise when converting grades from studies, as there are more grades here.

If you apply to a program or to a school that regularly accepts international students or even students from Germany, then you will also be accepted there know your German grades. In general, the conversion of grades and the calculation of a GPA even with German grades is meanwhile already done routine. As long as you exactly informwhat needs to be considered in your case is the whole done quickly.

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