During the course of your search for colleges and universities abroad, you’ll often come across the term ‘GPA’. The Indian education system does follow a GPA grading scale, however it is different to the International GPA scale used by schools abroad, like in the US and Australia. International students from schools who follow a different GPA grading scale may be confused when they switch to a new system.

What is GPA and CGPA?

GPA is an abbreviation for Grade Point Average. It is a standard method of calculating a student’s average grade over a stipulated period, like one term/semester. GPA is calculated by dividing the average of grade points a student achieves, by the total credit hours attended by the student.

how to calculate gpa

CGPA CGPA refers to ‘Cumulative Grade Point Average’. It is used to denote a student’s overall average performance throughout their academic program, be it a high school, Bachelor’s, or Master’s program. To start off with, credit hours are the total amount of time a student spends in classes. Grade points are the marks you receive for your subjects. To calculate a CGPA, you simply divide your total score of grade points for all subjects throughout your semesters by the total number of credit hours attended throughout your semesters. GPA and CGPA are indicated by a number as opposed to percentages, and grades are assigned under the Indian grading system.

GPA is a standard grading method practiced across the US, Canada, and Australia. However the grading scale is different for every country.  In the US, the GPA band is 0.0 to 4.0 points, with 4 being the highest mark/score, whereas certain schools in Australia follows a GPA band starting from 0.0 to 7.0, where 7 is the highest mark/score.  

How the GPA System Compares to Indian Grading System:

Students from an Indian education background will find the International GPA grading system used by schools abroad different to what they are used to. This is because Indian schools grade academic performance through one of these two systems: a) Percentage system, and b) A 10-point GPA system. In the percentage system, marks are converted to a percentage which are then assigned to a category of four ranks known as divisions: Distinction, which is 75% and above, 1st Division which is between 60% and 75%, 2nd Division which is between 50% and 60%, and 3rd Division which is between 40% and 50%. In the 10-point GPA system, letter grades are normally attached to points, for instance a grade point of 9 earns an ‘A’ letter grade.

Normally letter grades and percentages can easily be converted to an American GPA. First the percentages are translated to letter grades, and these letter grades are matched to the standardised American GPA score, for instance a 69% is an ‘A’ letter grade which converts into 4 points in the US GPA system.  

Here is a GPA conversion table for your reference:

US Grade Point Equivalent for Percentages and Grade Points Scored in Indian Schools

Indian Percentage Grading System Letter Grades US 4-point GPA System

60-100

A

4

55-59%

B+

3.5

50-54%

B

3

43-49%

C+

2.5

35-42%

C

2

0-34%

F

0

For students applying abroad, American and Canadian schools consider a minimum GPA as an essential requirement for admission into Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs.

If you want to apply to a certain school abroad and are not familiar with their GPA system, do some research! It’s always better to be prepared. If you need help converting your grades to a different system, there are some great online resources available such as Foreign Credits or World Education Services.

Now that you’ve got the hang of the international GPA scale, check out San Jose State University, or Carleton University, and apply now with SchoolApply!

About the Author: Mustafa Sutarwala, originally from Mumbai, India lives in the UAE and studied marketing in Dubai. He currently works as the creative Ninja for SchoolApply's content team.