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weird markings: how to calculate my GPA

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:58 am
by oleoleguy
Hi there!
I'm the student from some international (good known in Europe) university. Here about the GPA we have all the three points:
- %, being evaluated just as percent of all the assignments and everything you achieved to get
- marks on excellent,good,satisfactory,poor system for exams and pass/fail for other courses (but you can get excellent with 60% and satisfactory with 85%)
- marks on 9 graded system
- we have a credit system, so the courses can be weighted

But we don't have the GPA!
So, I need either to:
a) find the average of all percents and then convert them to 4.0 scale
b) find the weighted average and then convert
c) find and average on the basis of exams and then convert ( how can I then count P/F courses?? they are advanced ones)
d) find the 9-graded average and then convert it to 4.0 scale
e) find the average on any of a-d and do not convert it to any scale

Yes, there is one more option - I don't understand whether I do need to take into account courses I got pass/fail. I couldn't choose to get grades on them it was all due to university. But they include the most graduate ones: and the average on the 0-100 basis will increase significantly (I was the top-2 student in the large class in all the graduate courses, but was in the middle in basic courses).
So, two more additions: I graduated this year cum laude(only 5% got such degrees here), but some courses with P/F are 60-80'ies. Ok, on exams, I got 3 "good (B-)" with 92+. And others were "excellent" with 80+

So, I don't understand how to convert such scale - it is very nonlinear. And yeah, I'm aiming to top10-top20 in hep-th, couldn't that be very optimistic if I have some papers published?

Re: weird markings: how to calculate my GPA

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:55 am
by TakeruK
I'm from Canada and my schools also did not use the 4.0 scale -- we got most of our marks out of 100. It turns out that some applications don't want you to convert at all. Some schools won't even let you enter a GPA if you're international, they will do it themselves from your transcript. Almost all other schools have a box like ____ / ____ followed by a "comments" box, so I can fill in, for example 80 / 100 and say my school only gave grades out of 100. Out of 7 US schools I applied to, none of them required me to convert.

But if you do convert, I think you have to convert EACH grade to the 4.0 scale first, and then take the weighted average. For some, this doesn't make much difference compared to taking average then converting to 4.0 scale, but because of the discrete nature of the 4.0 system, this could have an impact! For example, consider 3 equally weighted courses, marked out of 100%, where the student gets:

79% = 3.3 on the 4.0 scale
79% = 3.3 on the 4.0 scale
84% = 3.7 on the 4.0 scale

The right way gets a GPA of (1/3)*(3.3+3.3+3.7) = 3.43
If you take the average first then convert, then the average is 80.6%, which is a A-, which is a GPA = 3.7.

Of course, I chose numbers that are right on the cusp of the GPA transition levels to engineer the discrepancy but I just wanted to make the point!

If I was you, I would not count any of the Pass/Fail courses, and give your averages in your "native" system. That is, either enter the average out of 100% in the box OR the average on the 9-grade scale in the box. I would put the average that looks better in the main box and the second method in the extra comments box. In this box, I would also mention that you have a lot of pass/fail courses which were not included and your exams marking system.

Note: sometimes the box for comments isn't near the actual GPA mark but on the last page labelled "Special considerations" or "Special notes" etc.

Re: weird markings: how to calculate my GPA

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:55 pm
by bfollinprm
I concur that no one will ask you to convert, and you should simply be clear (and have one of your letters confirm) that your grades put you in the top 5% of your class.