The Grade Point Average (GPA) is actually just a composite of every class that’s been taken at University of Northwestern – St. Paul. There are a handful of quirks that go into the number, but the basics are relatively simple. Use this calculator to find out how your current semester will affect your cumulative GPA.
1. Know the scale – pay close attention to the “+” and “-” at the end of some grades; they make a big difference in the total points that can accumulate at the end. This means it is wise to never give away cheap points—they always add up. Participation points and small assignments tend to be a place students choose to disregard, but ultimately they can make up the difference between a “B” and a “B+.”
2. The number of credits matter - bigger classes have a bigger impact on your GPA—take a look:
Every class will earn what are called “quality points.” The formula is simple:
GRADE x NUMBER OF CREDITS = QUALITY POINTS
B+ (3.33) x History of Western Civilization (4 credits) = 13.32 Quality Points
B+ (3.33) x Lifetime Fitness and Wellness (1 credit) = 3.33 Quality Points
The “B+” earned in History of Western Civilization is worth four times more quality points towards your GPA. This might be helpful to know when deciding whether or not to put in the extra time to study for your 4-credit class or your 1-credit class. The biggest classes carry the biggest weight. Spend time accordingly.
3. Effect of retaking a class - if a class didn’t go well in a previous semester, a quick way to boost the GPA back up is taking the same class again. Effectively, it is taking away the bad grade and replacing it with the new grade. Note: your previous grade will stay on your transcript, but it is no longer calculated into your GPA. Before you make any decisions, consult your academic advisor; he or she is there to help.