The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and with it comes final exams and grades. After pulling all-nighters and cramming until your brain is full, you’ll finally find out if it was all worth it. So when your professor submits your final grade, what should you expect? What factors do professors take into consideration when grading? What do your grades mean?

American Letter Grades

American letter grades are percentages or scores represented by five letters:

  • A: 90–100 %
  • B: 80–89 %
  • C: 70–79 %
  • D: 60–69 %
  • F: < 50 %

Schools in the U.S typically use this letter grading system. However, some schools use an altered version of this system. They may change the percentages, letters, or grading standards.

In college and universities, a “D” is considered to be an unsatisfactory passing grade. Students will usually still earn credit for the class if they get a “D,” but sometimes a “C” or better is required to count your major classes to continue moving toward your degree. A “C” or higher may also be required to satisfy a prerequisite requirement for a class. Check your school’s grading policy to see what qualifies as a passing grade.

Cumulative GPA

What is a GPA?

GPA stands for “Grade Point Average,” the average or mean of all of your grades over a semester or school year. GPAs exist on a scale from 0–4. A 4.0 GPA is all A’s, while a 0.0 is all Fs.

What is a cumulative GPA?

A cumulative GPA is your “Overall GPA,” calculated by dividing your total points from all semesters by the number of total credit hours. A cumulative GPA is the average of all of your academic terms GPA.  Rather than the GPA, you receive for the year or semester.

How to calculate your college GPA?

To calculate your college GPA or cumulative GPA, divide your total grade points from all semesters by your total number of credit hours. There are usually 120 required hours for a bachelor’s degree. You can also use the Cumulative GPA Calculator or College GPA Calculator to convert letter grades to GPA.

Grading Policies

To understand your school or class’s grading policies, be sure to read each course syllabus carefully. Your school’s grading policies can also be found online or in the student handbook. To fully grasp college grading:

Understand grade curves.

Grading on a curve is any system wherein the group performance is used to moderate evaluation, meaning the curve is used to translate relative class performance into grades. The curve is calculated by finding the difference between the lowest and highest grades and adding many points to the class’s grades. This sort of grading is often helpful when a course produces relatively low scores.

Understand how attendance affects your grade.

Your attendance can be factored into your grade. Some professors account for attendance and participation when calculating your final grade. In addition to the work you miss, too many absences can result in an automatic.

Understand that professors can change the syllabus.

Your professor can change the syllabus as they wish. These changes may mean that the grading scale or assignments and points specified may not remain accurate, and your final grades may be different from what you have estimated.

If you liked this post, check out our article, “College Classes: How to Add Them, Drop Them, and Endure Them.” And if you’re interested in more posts like this, subscribe to our weekly blog!

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