How to calculate GPA & CGPA

The following information was taken from a posting on tanggam.com. It gives a very detailed working on how GPA and CGPA are calculated including how to recalculate GPA/CGPA if you repeat a subject successfully. Students should familiarise themselves with the methodology of calculating GPA and CGPA using the information from tanggam.com as the reference.

The original posting from tanggam.com is no longer available, however a cached copy was found on Google. This is the link to the cached copy. There is no assurance of how long this cached copy will be available. Nevertheless, the essence of this posting has been captured here for the benefit of students. (Updated: 8 Mar 10)

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what is CGPA?

ultimately, CGPA is where everything boils down to in ur studies. it stands for Cummulative Grade Point Average, hence CGPA, which is an accumulation of all ur grade points divided to every single credit u take. CGPA is also the determining factor of whether u get to graduate with 1st class, 2nd class upper, 2nd class lower or 3rd class. however, the minimum point for each class differs from university to university. UTM for example classifies 1st class as 3.70 and above and 2nd class upper from 3.00 to 3.69. MMU on the other hand classifies 2nd class upper from 3.30 to 3.69.

what is calculated?

CGPA is calculated based on all subjects that u take. each subjects usually comes with a credit value. some less important subjects carry between 1 to 2 credits, more important ones carry 3 to 4, and the core subjects can carry between 5 to 8 credits each. also, there are subjects categorized as "compulsory attendance only" (hadir wajib sahaja) which usually carry 0 credits. these subjects hold no value, but failing it (due to poor attendance or whatever) will still hold u down from graduating successfully.

cgpa

how is it calculated?

for each subject that u've successfully taken, a grade will be issued after the final exam. these grades each carry a specific point value. typically, A carries 4.00, B carries 3.00 and C carries 2.00. each of these points will be calculated based on the credit rating of each subject, and later summed up to give u ur GPA for that particular semester. for example:

semester 1

subject M (6 credits): B = 3.00
subject N (2 credits): A = 4.00
subject O (3 credits): C = 2.00

(6 x 3.00) + (2 x 4.00) + (3 x 2.00) = 32 total grade point for 11 credits. hence, your GPA for semester 1 is:

32 / 11 = 2.91 GPA for sem 1. since this is ur first semester, ur GPA is also ur CGPA.

semester 2

subject P (6 credits): A = 4.00
subject Q (3 credits): B = 3.00
subject R (3 credits): E = 0.00 (FAIL)
subject S (2 credits): B = 3.00

(6 x 4.00) + (3 x 3.00) + (3 x 0.00) + (2 x 3.00) = 39 total grade point for 14 credits. hence your GPA for semester 2 is:

39 / 14 = 2.79 GPA for sem 2

now that this is ur second semester, ur CGPA will be calculated by combining the two. however, a direct average is wrong.  CGPA is calculated NOT based on the average of GPAs per semester, but based on grade points per credit that u take. to calculate ur CGPA based on the two semesters above:

[(total grade point for sem 1) + (total grade point for sem 2)] / total credit taken in all semesters

[(32) + (39)] / (11 + 14) = 2.84 CGPA

compare this if u simply average the two semesters:

(2.91 + 2.79) / 2 = 2.85 CGPA

not much difference? it will make a HUGE difference when u start retaking ur failed subject.

now, let's try the next semester where u retake the failed subject:

semester 3

subject R (3 credits): A = 4.00 (REPEATED SUBJECT)
subject T (3 credits): B = 3.00
subject U (3 credits): B = 3.00
subject V (3 credits): B = 3.00

(3 x 4.00) + (3 x 3.00) + (3 x 3.00) + (3 x 3.00) = 39 total grade point for 12 credits. hence your GPA for semester 3 is:

39 / 12 = 3.25 GPA.

now, how do u calculate ur CGPA when u have a repeated subject? here's the main rule: u recalculate the repeated subject by replacing the old grade with the new one. it means, in ur CGPA calculation, u never failed ur subject R, u actually scored A! lets see what it looks like:

[(grade points for sem 1) + (grade points for sem 2 excluding the failed subject) + (grade points for sem 3)] / [(credit for sem 1) + (credit for sem 2 excluding the failed subject) + (credit for sem 3)]

[(32) + (39 - 0) + (39)] / [(11) + (14 - 3) + (12)] = 110 / 34 = 3.24 CGPA!

a lot of students made the mistake of including the failed subject into the calculation despite having repeated it. here's what the wrong calculation usually looks like:
[(32) + (39) + (39)] / [(11) + (14) + (11)] = 110 / 36 = 3.06 CGPA!

can u see how much difference it can make if u calculate ur grades wrongly?

implications

wrong calculations would lead to students being afraid to fail, simply bcoz the impression that failed subjects would drag the CGPA even further down. this is wrong. repeating the failed subject replaces the old grades. in ur CGPA, it is as if u've never failed before. most students would simply accept a C- or D+, which is usually the minimum passing rate, in hope that they dont have to ever repeat the subject, and hopefully score more subjects in time.

thing is, once u've got a D+/C-, it's very hard to catch up and drag ur pointers up. i strongly advise students whom ultimately concerned for their grades to DARE to fail and repeat it again. ofcourse, certain subjects are big enough that repeating means u have to extend another semester. well, if it means graduating between a 2nd class lower and a 2nd class upper, why not?  

this system seems unfair to the non-failers, isnt it?

now, lets address the most common misconception over this system. we are extremely conditioned to accept that failure is not an option, or fail = death since school. we even frown upon those who ever failed at something, anything. and those who've failed will carry with them a shoulder load of shame all their life. this is not a good environment to encourage learning.

this will only encourage people to find ways not to fail. some studied really hard, some studied smart and some cheated - all for the sake of not to fail. but that's missing the point entirely. we're talking about adult education, where people start to have more things to do other than study. the nature of tertiery education is independent learning, where a student is self motivated to learn, not bcoz the teacher's teaching or their parents says so.

the ability to fail and repeat the subject is an option previously unavailable in school. the cost of failing in school is simply unbearable. fail a subject, and u repeat the entire year. that's not very encouraging.

so in tertiery level education, u are given an opportunity to fail a particular subject and retake it in the future. yes, it does however come with several drawbacks:

  1. subjects are not always available every semester. failing a particular subject offered only once a year would mean u'd have to wait several months before resitting the subject again.
  2. repeating a credit means paying the fees again. yes, u've paid for the previous credit that u've failed. but now u're retaking it again. so pay up!
  3. repeating would often mean extending ur studies. literally, u wont be graduating the same year as 1st year friends. it's kinda weird going to convocations where u dont know the rest of the graduates.
  4. learning with ur juniors might not be the same or as fun as learning with ur friends. but some guys find this a great way to get to know girls