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10 Differences Between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA Updated

Filed in Education by on April 22, 2021

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Difference between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA: GPA represents grade point average, and is commonly used as a point system for most academic institutions. Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA are two ways to calculate and present the grade point average of a student.

10 Differences Between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA


Grades are like the life-wire of a college student’s life. Impressive grades can open doors to a successful future, but low grades can become the biggest disappointment in a student’s college career. This article is aimed at highlighting the distinction between them.

Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA

The cumulative GPA is the grade point average of all grades a student has secured in a semester or term. However, an overall GPA may be defined as an average of all cumulative GPA’s which a student has secured in all semesters and all the courses in an academic term.

Overall GPA is the score that most employers usually look at. It’s an important measurement of consistency because it gives a long term perspective and demonstrates a solid track record of academic success.

The main difference lies in the coverage of the average. Cumulative GPA refers to the average grades of the person within a specific period of time, like a term or semester.

On the other hand, the overall GPA as it is called is the total average of a student. It covers the grades of an individual in the entirety of their academic term or all the semesters they’ve taken.

Cumulative GPAs tend to take into account only the grades from the student’s present or most recent affiliated academe.

How To Calculate Grades

To begin, grades can be assigned in letters like A, B, C, D, or F. These grades may be interpreted variously. Every institute has a different interpretation of a grade and its scale. Here is an example of one of the grading systems.

  • A—Excellent, 4 on a scale of 4.
  • B—Good, 3 on a scale of 4.
  • C—Average, 2 on a scale of 4.
  • D—Poor, 1 on a scale of 4.
  • F—Not satisfactory/Fail, 0 on a scale of 4.

In some countries, these grades are interpreted to be a range of marks. For instance, if a student gets an “A” grade, it means that he or she has scored more than 75 marks out of 100. But this scaling of percentage may also vary from one country to another.

Cumulative GPA

Cumulative GPA

Cumulative GPA (grade point average) can be defined as the average of all the grades that a student has secured in the entire semester or term examinations. This calculation involves all the subjects. It can be easily understood by this example. In a particular semester, a student gets “A, A,” and “B” grades.

For this particular student, the CGPA will be an average of 4, 4, and 3 which comes out to be 3.67. Here we are assuming that the school is measuring on a 4-point scale. In some nations, this grading of performance is done on a 10-point scale.

Overall GPA

Overall GPA (grade point average) can be defined as the average of all cumulative GPAs that a student has secured in all the courses in the total academic duration. This can be explained easily by an example. If a student’s score of a cumulative GPA in four terms is 4, 4, 3.5, 3.5, then his or her overall GPA will be 3.75.

Notable Distinctions Between Cumulative GPA and Overall GPA

1. Cumulative GPA is an average grade of a particular semester.

2. Overall GPA is used to calculate average grades for the entirety of a student’s academic experience

3. Total performance of a student is judged on the basis of overall GPA and not on the basis of cumulative GPA.

4. CGPA is the score that the student has received from the most recent institute while the overall GPA also includes the transfer grades as well.

5. Overall GPA is calculated taking into account all the grades regardless of the institution while cumulative GPA is for one particular institute.

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