GPA: How To Calculate Grade Point Average and Why You Should Know It

I thought it would be a good idea to disseminate this information to students, especially Grade 12 students, at this time of the year. 

Your grades are awarded a number from 0.0 (FAIL) to 4.0 (A). Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the product of grade points and credit points by the total credit Points. 

This may sound complicated but in fact, it is straight forward if you have your transcript ready. You can either use online calculators or use the formula to work out your GPA. I prefer to use the formula on Excel spreadsheet to calculate my GPA.

Three stand-out reasons why you should know your GPA: 
  • if you are looking for a job, it is useful to know your GPA; 
  • or if you are applying for a scholarship, many overseas institutions will ask for your GPA;
  • or as a new student or continuing student, you should be mindful to stay above a GPA of 2.0, in some cases 2.25 - these are magic numbers! Fall below and you are out, or your parent self-sponsor you.

To be eligible for a Higher Education Contribution Assistant Scheme (HECAS), the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) recommends that you score a minimum of 2.0 or higher. UNITECH has raised this to 2.25.

That means that universities are not places for students scoring a GPA below 2. Questions should be asked as to how they get their foot in if they had. 

If you are an academically bright student, you could qualify for the government's rewarding scheme called the Academic Excellence Scholarship Scheme (AES) with a GPA of 3.6 for first-year students. That means that any grade 12 student with straight As is a candidate for AES) or 3.7 for second to final years.  

If you need assistance, talk to your institutions' students service division. 

An updated version of this post discusses the following GPA topics in details:

  • Calculate Grade 12 GPA
  • GPA for PNG Universities Selection
  • Why you should know the University GPA
  • GPA Uni Entry, Scholarship or Work
  • TESAS Info for Students
  • Grade 12 Guide to TESAS
  • How to apply for TESAS Non-school Leavers
  • Apply for TESAS after admission
Click here for more information.

About PNG Insight

PNG Insight is an education blog. It aims to highlight the key developments in the education sector in Papua New Guinea. Started in 2014 on Google's blogger (now self-hosted on WordPress), PNG Insight strives to be a platform for critical thinking and discussions; and a source of information.

You can follow us on Twitter (@PNG_Insight) for the information on Education and Development in Papua New Guinea.


The impact of expanding primary and secondary schools in PNG is damning. Students numbers are evidently increasing compounded by government's tuition fee free (TFF) education policy. 

An ABC report revealed that something was finally going to be done about it (increase capacity at higher institutions). Higher education minister, Malakai Tabar, reportedly  said government planned to increase intake at tertiary institution  which is likely to take effect sooner. (Pacific Beat, ABC 19/10/2015). 

Meanwhile, details of how this would happen remained sketchy. A likely avenue to make it work is by expanding existing resources and infrastructure. It is about looking within, utilising what it has and stretching whatever resource it may have to cater for the immediate needs. By this I mean, now - this year's Grade 12. This can be done. It must be done.

Obviously, PNG higher institutions lack the capacity. Numbers released by the Acting Education Secretary indicated a shocking reality. Over 96% of Grade 8,  92% of  Grade 10 and 80% of Grade 12 students do not make to tertiary institutions due to limited space. 

The plan to increase Grade 12 intake from 20% to 50% is a breath of fresh air, in fact an exciting news. 

At 20%, there are just over 4500 spaces at tertiary institution (universities, colleges, vocational centres and other higher learning set-ups). For Mr Tabar's words to come to fruition, PNG government has to ensure half of this year's 23 200 Grade 12 students secure a placing at one of the higher learning institutions. 

That would mean a further 7100 spaces would have to be created to reach the government's promise of over 50% increment in intake. Surely, It is going to be the best thing the government can do right now. And. that is to increase yearly intake from a mere 4500 to 11600 for the academic year 2016.


PNG government and education department would have realised that a large portion of teenagers is missing out on higher education. Stats are indicating a sad situation where over 96% of primary school students are pushed out of the system just 4 years before they could have had a chance to get a tertiary education. 

The point here is not about Grade 12 students entering colleges or universities, but to have a plan for MOST of the Year 8s to get a tertiary education. It is important to take them on board the education train, then to leave them on their own to fend for themselves when it comes to education at such an early age.

The  Acting Education Secretary, Dr Kombra, in a newspaper report revealed that this year 120 000 Grade 8, 59 000 Grade 10 and 23 200 Grade 12 students would be taking national examinations. But, there are fewer than 4500 spaces at tertiary institutions.

Take a look at the table showing numbers of students at grades 8, 10 and 12 compared to spaces available to them after leaving school at the age of 18 years.

Retention is the problem, not drop out: students do drop out at will sometimes but those pushed out are more than those leaving. So, the government has the responsibility to do something- anything it can- to increase spaces at tertiary level. If this trend is left unchecked, government's plan to give younger generation a proper education would not be realised.

Primary and secondary schools (then community and high schools) mushroomed whereas spaces at tertiary institutions remain low since structural changes took place. Number of students entering lower and upper secondary schools increases proportionately, too.

One can also argue that number of students is further growing as a result of government's free education policy. Go back to the village and you'll find youngsters are going back to classroom after years outside. This not a bad thing. The point is where else do they go after they are given this second chance, or what can be done to improve their chance of getting into universities and colleges. 

If the government is really serious about educating the younger generations, it has to start putting its money where the mouth is - increase retention within the system, especially at higher level of education.

This does not mean only creating new institutions if it needs to, but also expanding number of spaces available to students at existing higher learning institutions. This is surely not a lot to ask. Why giving Year 8 students false hope - hope that one day they could be entering a university or college when 96% are bound for the villages or streets?

Any goals in our National education plans, medium or long term, would not be of any meaning if only 4% of 15 and 16 year olds will enter higher learning institutions. It would be BETTER if 96% make it through, wouldn’t it? The onus is now on the government and leaders in education circles to see through the problem and find an immediate solution.  

120 000 Grade 8, 59 000 Grade 10 and 23 200 Grade 12 students To Sit Examinations in 2015

More than 59,000 Grade 10 students in 256 schools will sit for their weeklong School Certificate Examination (SCE) from next week, an official says.

Secretary for Education Dr Uke Kombra said: “We have reduced the national examined subjects from 12 to seven as of this year.

“The other subjects will still be assessed and results will be based on the internal assessment.”

He said the subjects examined are English, mathematics, social science, science, personal development and two optional subjects.

The examinations will be conducted from Oct 12 to 16.

Kombra said preparations for Grade 8, Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations were well underway.

Grade 10 SEC papers are currently being dispatched to the provinces.

“All provincial education advisers and examination supervisors are urged to ensure that the examination papers are well secured before they are dispatched to the respective schools.

A total of 23,200 Grade 12 students from 146 secondary schools will be sitting for their Higher School Certificate Examinations (HSCE) from Oct 19-30.

“About 120,000 Grade 8 students from 2,663 schools will sit for the Certificate of Basic Education Examinations (COBE) from Nov 2-5.”

Kombra appealed to everyone to support fair conduct of exams and to report any malpractice to school administrations, provincial and national authorities or Police for appropriate action.

“There are strategies already in place to minimise and avoid cheating in schools.

Source: The National, Tuesday October 6th, 2015 || By SHEILA MALKEN