Sometimes life throws a curveball your way, and you get caught up in problems that take up all your time and focus. Perhaps you’re in this position, causing you to fall behind in your studies and get bad grades in some high school courses. If you’re wondering what to do, keep reading as we look at how much an F drops your GPA and tips on improving it.
What Does an F Grade Mean?
An F grade stands for unsatisfactory performance. Typically, getting a grade between A+ to A- is an indication of excellent performance, B+ to B- is good performance, and C+ to C- is satisfactory performance. If you obtain a D+, D, D-, your performance is less than satisfactory, while an F will result in no credit for the course.
One other letter grade you should be aware of is “WU”, which stands for withdrawal unauthorized. Students receive a WU when they fail to officially withdraw from an enrolled course and don’t meet its requirements. This symbol generally equals an ‘F’ for progress point computation and GPA purposes.
What is the Impact of an F Grade on Your GPA?
Unfortunately, Fs count towards your GPA and make it fall significantly because an F is equivalent to 0.0 on the GPA scale. Although students don’t obtain credit for failed courses, Fs are still counted for attempted credits when you put them into a GPA calculator. Most schools offer the possibility of retaking the course and earning a better grade to replace the F grade in your GPA.
Let’s take a look at a simple mathematical formula to determine how GPAs are calculated:
- GPA = (grades* attempted credits) / attempted credits
- A 4.0 GPA scale may have F as 0, D as 1, C as 2, B as 3, and A as 4
- Even more complex grading scales use this equation and vary their scale grades according to their academic policies
Even if you don’t get enough credit to complete a course, an F or other low grades are still calculated into your GPA, including all failed classes and attempted credits.
Examples of How F Grades Can Affect a Student’s GPA
Fear not if you’re still unsure how quickly an F drops an excellent GPA into average territory because we’ll provide examples of how this works.
Suppose you take five courses a semester, earning four A grades and one F grade. In that case, your GPA will be one times zero plus four times four, coming out to 16/5 and leaving you with a 3.2 GPA. As for what an F does to a 4.0 GPA? It will drop your GPA down to 3.6 or lower depending on the credits, which is a considerable decrease.
Now consider a 10-course example with a student obtaining 8 Bs and 2 Fs. And when they use the equation from the previous section, they multiply 8 by 3 and 2 by 0. This gives a total of 24/10, meaning that when it comes to the question of what an F will do to the student’s 3.0 GPA, it will make it fall to 2.4.
It’s no surprise that a student who obtains Fs in three courses out of five will see the most decrease in their GPA. If someone has two As and 3 Fs, their GPA will be calculated using two times four and three times zero. Their GPA will then be 0.8 due to the 8/10 total GPA calculator, and they’ll need to repeat several courses to bring up their GPA to a point where it can be submitted to college applications.
Now that you have a clearer picture of how many points does an F drop your GPA, you can take the necessary steps to avoid obtaining bad grades.
How to Improve Your GPA After Receiving an F: 5 Tips
Here are some strategies you can adopt to improve your GPA and score better grades:
Hire a Tutor
If you’re struggling in a class or two, getting extra help and scheduling tutoring sessions with someone who knows the subject thoroughly and wants to see you improve is recommended. Show your commitment by being proactive and meeting regularly with your tutor. For instance, don’t hesitate to jot down the concepts you don’t understand, like a science topic or math equation.
Your tutor can help you work through these concepts. When you gain a deeper comprehension of the material and practice academic concepts, you’re bound to see results like higher grades on your tests and assignments.
Set Personal Goals
Determine what your objectives are frequently and revise them if needed. Perhaps your goal is to earn an A on every homework assignment you turn in for your calculus course or to obtain an A on your science project. Either way, evaluating the steps required to meet your goals and measuring your weekly success is a great way to improve your GPA.
Talk to Your Teachers
It’s in your best interest to consult an academic advisor or your teachers if your course load is overwhelming you. Counselors, instructors, and other educational experts can help you adopt effective learning strategies to comprehend academic material since they have years of experience and knowledge.
Talk to your instructor during their office hours or after class about your weak points and difficulties, and ask for feedback on how you should work on the coursework or attempt quizzes. You’ll notice that new concepts register quicker when you have excellent guidance and learning strategies.
Don’t Overburden Yourself
Sure, classes such as AP or IB solidify your academic portfolio and increase your chances of getting into college, but not everyone can take on that much. These classes have specific requirements and extensive coursework, so keep this in mind when choosing additional courses or electives. Sign up for what you can handle and feel confident about securing an A+ or A-.
Submit Assignments on Time
Here’s the golden rule to being a good student and maintaining your GPA that most people forget over time: always turn in your class assignments before or when they’re due to secure as many As as possible. You may submit a good-quality assignment late that you believe deserves an A. However, most teachers deduct points for tardiness or apply a penalty, ultimately affecting your grade.
Rather than losing an A grade because of homework, focus on ensuring that you hand your assignments in on time. In contrast, if you know beforehand that you’ll miss a few classes or won’t be able to turn in an assignment when it’s due, talk to your professor and let them know why. Remember that your teachers want to see you excel and will most likely be happy to give you an extension or find a flexible alternative.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Does an F Drop Your GPA?
Failing a class can seem like the end of the world, especially if it’s your first time. Someone in this circumstance will have a million questions running through their mind: ‘What will an F do to a 3.8 GPA’, ‘How much does failing a class affect GPA in college’, and so on.
Still, there’s no reason to give up hope because there’s always room for improvement. You can go through the tips mentioned above to avoid getting Fs and dropping your GPA. The best way to ensure a good GPA is by not getting any Fs at all; after all, nobody wants to put their future and career in jeopardy.