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GPA for UCLA. Let's Talk about it.

GPA — One number that encompasses who knows what; one number that schools and parents obsess so much; one number that determines your chance to enter a prestigious college like UCLA.

I struggled to raise my GPA because I did not know how did it even work. For example, did you know that an A earns you 4 GPA points and a B earns you 3 points? And did you know if the course is not credited, it doesn't count as part of your GPA? Did you know if you simply add all your points and divide them by the total number of credited courses, you get your GPA? I did not know the rules, and I couldn't figure out a strategy to raise my GPA.

In this post, I would like to explore the following questions:

  • What does GPA represent?

  • How is it calculated?

  • How to increase your GPA?

  • Why care about GPA?


Grade Point Average represents the average academic performance of a particular period of time.

My junior GPA is 3.6. My first-year GPA is 2.8.

It makes sense that schools and parents obsess with your GPA. That is an important indicator that if you are doing well in school and, maybe, just maybe, you will do well in life.

And that’s all I want to say about GPA for the extrinsic reason. What does GPA represent to a student like you?

I coach students and help them to overcome academic difficulties. They hate to look at their GPAs, and they hate when people judge them by their GPAs. I told them, people don’t judge you based on your GPA. People judged you before your GPA, and GPA results from that judgment on your academic performance. If you do not have a good GPA, it’s not 100% your fault but mainly your fault. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you asked your teacher how to fix your GPA?

  • Have you asked around and ask people how they raise their GPA?

  • Have you spent enough time and do your due diligence as an active learning member in each class?

  • Did you pick a class that you are not interested in or too challenging?

  • When you see a “D” on your assignment, do you talk to someone to seek improvement before the next assignment?

An athlete who spends time training might not be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) but will certainly not perform poorly. Your GPA represents your ability to manage your role as a student in an environment where learning progress is being graded.

Nothing more.


GPA is calculated based on two numbers: Total GPA Points and Total GPA Hours/Credits

GPA point in a class= class grade point (A=4; B=3; C=2; D=1; F=0) multiply number of units for that class

*If you are in high school, then every class is just 1 unit/credit/credit hour.

Total GPA Points = sum of all GPA points from all course taken with a letter grade

Total GPA Units = sum of all the units that contribute to your total GPA points GPA = GPA Points/GPA Units

Let’s raise that GPA mathematically.

A college student has a cumulative 3.4 GPA and would like to raise it to a 3.6 within a year. Assuming he has earned 60 units — the total GPA points are 3.4 x 60 = 204, and he can earn 32 units a year this year.


Current GPA = 204/60=3.4 Prospecting GPA = (204 + ?)/(60+32)>3.6 → (204+?)>331.2 → ?>127.2 So, if he is taking 32 units in the next year, try to get an average GPA of 3.975 or higher to raise your GPA to 3.6.

A high school student has a 3.4 GPA in Sophmore and wants to obtain a 3.6 GPA in Junior. He has a 3.4 GPA in Sophmore that encompasses two As and three Bs.

To get a higher GPA, like 3.6 GPA, he needs to work harder on one of the three classes and boost that one B grade to an A grade.


But remember, GPA simply measures your academic performance. Let’s raise that GPA strategically and behaviorally, or here are some actions to take and raise your GPA.

  • Spend up to 2 hours to preview the schedule of each class for the next week. Your mind will form a weekly strategy once you are aware of the upcoming assignments and exams.

  • Take notes in every class. Think that note-taking in class is a requirement, not an option. The amount and detail of the notes almost don't matter. Just write something. Suppose you want to be more effective in note-taking. Check out some note-taking techniques on my Smart Note-Taking Tip Sheet.

  • Use the mighty Google Doc to compile your class materials, notes, quizzes, and practice test in one place. Create a study guide before you start to study and add more content as you study more and more. Your study guide will serve as the last-minute cram before your exam.

For more, you may visit UC Berkeley’s Strategic Learning Program to gain more ideas.


Why care about GPA? The answer is that you do not care about your GPA. Care about academic effort and optimize study methods according to GPA’s up and down.

I hope that this post resolves the struggle of raising your GPA and you can finally enjoy learning and stopping worrying.


Sidestory My GPA never reached 3.6 until I stopped paying so much attention to it and shifted my attention to my daily effort that contributes bit by bit to my final grades. I fine-tuned my study methods and earned points strategically.

Most importantly, I learned how to learn effectively and perform precisely as expected. Learning has not been the same for me, and I want to share my experience and inspire students to learn how to learn.

I also help students to navigate the complicated process of college transfer at

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