Cumulative GPA vs Overall GPA

There is not much difference between cumulative GPA and overall GPA. The term “GPA” stands for grade point average. 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.

The grades may be defined as a measurement of varying levels of performance in a subject. Most of the graduate and postgraduate institutes across the world measure the performance level of students in a particular subject through grades. 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 (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 an “A, A,” and “B” grades. For this particular student, the cumulative GPA 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. For those situations, international students’ high school scores are evaluated on different basis. Colleges have different ways of calculating the Overall GPA and sometimes they do communicate their methods with the applicants.

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. At Damian SAT ACT Prep Center the tutors encourage students to focus on the continuous performance not on one single semester. The SAT or ACT prep does not help substitute for a good Overall GPA. All courses in the “academics” area have to be treated with utmost attention. In a different article Damian SAT ACT Prep will analyze the impact of the AP, AICE, IB, and Honors courses on the Overall GPA.


1.Cumulative GPA is an average grade of a particular semester or term while the overall GPA is the average of all the cumulative GPAs.
2.Absolute performance of a student is judged on the basis of overall GPA and not on the basis of cumulative GPA.
3.Cumulative GPA is the score that the student has received from the most recent institute while the overall GPA also includes the transfer grades as well.
4.Overall GPA is calculated taking into consideration all the grades regardless of the institution while cumulative GPA is for one particular institute.

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