We present to you the final grade calculator: a simple-to-use tool that will allow you to effortlessly calculate your final exam grade so you can focus on studying. In this calculator, we will answer the question "what grade do I need on my final?" and explain why it matters. On top of all of that, this final exam grade calculator will teach you how to calculate your final exam grade by hand or by using our convenient average calculator.

What is your final grade?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to use this final grade calculator or the justification for using it, it is worth making sure we are all on the same page and know what we mean by final grade. The final grade of a subject or of a semester is the score of all of your relevant grades and their average according to their individual weights. This might seem complicated but it's easier than it looks.

For many subjects, the final grade is the grade you would get in the final (and only) exam. If this is your case, close the browser and get to studying - you're not trying to calculate anything, you're procrastinating 😜 In many other cases, one subject might have multiple tests that can range from smaller mid-term exams to written coursework and essays to oral presentations. In those cases, you need to know the weight of each of the forms of examination.

The weight of each of these exams is no more than a mathematical representation of their importance. Generally, the weights are expressed as a percentage of the total grade or as a number from 0 to 1, which represents the same concept.

There is also the final semester grade, which you can obtain using this calculator. The final semester grade is the combination of all the grades of all the subjects you took in a given semester. Generally, these grades tend to have the same weight, but sometimes different subjects have different credit counts or a different impact on your final degree. In the latter case, the weighting system works the same as in the case of an individual subject with multiple examination processes.

There are multiple grading systems with different values and nomenclatures, so we have to settle for one as the default for any future example we will make. For simplicity, our exemplary grading system will range from 0 to 100, with a passing grade to be determined by the user. We will explain this in more detail when we talk about how to use this calculator.

The importance of the final semester grade

When it comes to the grades in your degree, we all know they don't necessarily represent your level of knowledge. However, we don't have a better way to assess someone's abilities without performing another exam or undergoing a hands-on testing period. It is for this reason that final grades matter.

When you apply for a job, one of the key things people will look at (especially if you don't have any work experience) will be your final grades. Generally speaking, there is a perception that your final grades are a good indicator of how good of an employee you will be, so, even if you think it's not worth it, aiming for a higher grade can be beneficial for your future.

Increasingly, though, more and more companies are switching their focus from knowledge markers (such as your semester grades) to personality or aptitude markers (such as wide range of interests or personal projects), which is a good thing. This move releases some pressure from the exams themselves, leaving students freer to focus on learning the material rather than learning to pass the exam with high grades.

Grades are still crucial, and will probably remain crucial for a long time, in grants and subsidy programs. When you apply for a grant, there are many factors taken into account, but almost always your average grade is one of them.

As unfair as it may be, your final grade matters, and for some people might even be the difference between an average life and fulfilling their dreams, so maybe grab another coffee and keep trying hard!

Not all final grades are equal - grading systems

It's time to talk about the confusing mess that is the vast variety of different grading systems. On the one hand, you have simple grading systems, like the Spanish one, 0-10 with 5 being a passing grade, or systems with points 1-5 with 3 being a passing grade, as they do in countries like Poland & Norway. All of these are numerical systems that allow for easy conversion between them.

Then, things start to get complicated when we look at the USA and their grading system that uses letters from A to F (generally skipping the letter E). Which seem easy and intuitive when you compare it to the Australian system, where either HD, D, Cr or P means passing (with different levels of success), and F means failing. You can be forgiven for thinking this makes conversions really hard and makes it very difficult to translate your grade from one country to another.

However, the letters in the North American and Australian grading system have the same meaning as the numbers in the other systems; in fact, the Polish system has an almost 1-to-1 equivalence with the system in the United States of America.

More over, most of the grading systems are defined in terms of the percentage of the maximum grade. So, for example, Cr in Australia means 60-69% of the total grade which would mean a D in the USA, a 3 in Poland and a 6 in Spain. So at the end of the day, converting from one grading system to another is as easy as converting from a fraction to a percentage, and looking up the resultant value in a table.

What grade do I need on my final exam? Tricks for better time/effort management

One question you might be asking yourself is: What grade do I need on my final exam?, and although it might be a lazy question to ask, it's also a very good one if you need to manage your time efficiently. Let's take a look at a very common situation that happens to students during their finals period.

Let's assume you're an average student, and let's say you've done well, but not excellent in your subjects. Now, your finals are right around the corner and your goals are twofold: first and foremost you want to pass all of your subjects, and, given you achieve the first goal, you want as high a grade as you can possibly get in each of them.

But time is finite and so is your attention. So one way you could go about it would be to answer that question you already have: "What grade do I need on my final?" for every subject. By knowing this you can dedicate more time to those subjects that you either find harder or for which you need a higher grade on your final exam.

Assuming you will pass all your subjects, you can later focus on the subjects that would be more relevant for your future career or that you like the best. This might sound like indulging, but it is also the most efficient solution, since liking something increases your motivation and your will to put effort into it.

Now that you know how important it can be to know what grade you need in your next exam, let's use our final grade calculator and show you how to calculate your final grade. Our calculator is not limited to final exams; it can both work as a semester grade calculator or as a finals calculator, as we will see now.

How to use the final grade calculator

So it's time to learn how to calculate grades using our finals calculator or final grade calculator. Either is fine by us, as long as it's helpful for you. First thing you should do, though, is to familiarize yourself with the calculator.

It might look a bit intimidating at first, but let's go field by field and you'll see that it is actually much easier than it might seem now. Here is a list and a short description of what each of the fields mean:

  • Current grade: The grade you currently have on your subject, before the final exam.
  • Final exam's weight: Percentage of the final grade of the subject assigned to the final exam.
  • Required grade: Passing grade. The minimum grade necessary to achieve your goal.
  • Final exam grade needed: The grade required to achieve your goal or the passing grade in said subject.

All the fields are expressed in percentage since mathematically is the easiest way to account for all grading systems at once. Also, many (final) exam grades are expressed as a percentage, or as a fraction of the total amount of points available (perfect score). The only percentage that is a bit different than the rest, conceptually, is the weight of the final exam.

This weight represents the part of the final grade assigned to the final exam alone. For example, if we have a grading system with a maximum of 10 points, and we have a final exam with a weight of 75% it means that there are 0.75 * 10 = 7.5 points in the final grade that correspond directly to the final exam.

Let's take a look at a simple example. Let's say you've enrolled in a subject that is coming to an end. There is only the final exam left before you finish the subject, and throughout the semester you've been set small projects and mid-term exams, so that now your current average grade for this subject sits at 65% of the total points you could've gotten. Let's also assume that the final exam grade is 70% of the total grade of the subject.

This means that you have already collected (1-0.7) * 0.65 * 100 = 19.5% of the total grade. Let's talk about a grading system in terms of 100 points; if you did not get any point on the final exam you would get a final grade of 19.5 points. Now to calculate what grade you need on your final, we need to find out how many points you need to pass. Let's say a passing grade is 50 points.

So, that means you need 50-19.5 = 30.5 points to pass. Since the final exam carries 70% of the final grade, it means that those 30.5 points in the final grade translate to 30.5 / 0.7 = 43.6 points. So, by getting 43.6% of the final exam correct, you are guaranteed to pass the subject. But, please, aim higher than that; just in case ;)

Beyond the final grade, a word on knowledge and studying

We have touched lightly on the fact that grades do not mean knowledge, so let's expand a bit more on that, almost counter-intuitive, statement. In an ideal world, the exams and tests you have to do to pass a subject would be perfectly designed so that you could only pass if you knew enough. On top of that, since we're talking about the perfect scenario, your grade would exactly represent your level of knowledge in the subject.

However, an exam like this would require a lot of research and planning, would probably need be tailor-made for each student, and would have to be completely different from one year to the next so as to avoid students from just studying previous exams. As you can clearly see, it is far from practical and borderline impossible to achieve this goal in a world where time is limited (as is the capacity of professors, they are only human you know).

Enter Real World™ compromises. Professors (and teachers) have limited time and need to optimize it, so, for example, having the same type of exam with different questions from year to year is a good and very common compromise.

Another compromise that professors are very likely to do is to only select a few relevant topics from the subject, instead of having questions about everything they taught in the course. This allows exams to be short enough to be done in just a couple of hours as opposed to the several days that it could take to go over the whole subject.

All these compromises allow for exams to actually be performed, but at the cost of truly representing the knowledge of the student. If done correctly, there should still be a high correlation between the knowledge you have and the grade you get, but some times there can be huge disparities.

In the worst case, you might have to decide if you'd rather have great knowledge and an average grade or an amazing grade and sub-par knowledge. In general, we would recommend aiming for knowledge, but you are probably the best judge if you are in this unfortunate situation.

I finished my exam, I got my final grade, now what?

If you are using this calculator you probably haven't done your exams yet... but at some point, you'll be done with them and you will have to stop asking "what grade do I need on my final?" and start asking "and now what?". If you have finished one of the many years of your studies, enjoy a well-deserved break and clear your head from the stressful exam period. However, if you have just finished high school, college or maybe completed all your university studies, you might be far from done.

The next steps to take are very important in deciding your future, and the most likely thing you would have to (or at least want to) is apply either for your next stage in your education, or for a job. For either of them, it's important to know how to show your capabilities, interests, and knowledge to those who haven't met you yet. A good CV, a well crafted motivational letter and not giving up are some things that will help you succeed in getting that position you aim for.

Here at Omni we cannot write your motivational letter or polish your CV, but still, we would like to offer as much help as we can. As we have discussed, your grades are a typical way to prove your knowledge, but not all places use the same grading system. Fear not, because here is where our Omnicalculators can prove very helpful for you.

For starters you can calculate your high school GPA or your college GPA. These can be very important if you're applying for a position abroad since GPA is the de facto international standard for grades. What's more, some colleges have their own way to re-evaluate your grades; generally using a weighted average. Here we can recommend that you use our weighted average calculator to make this process as easy as possible.

Final exam and anxiety, how to balance now and then sensibly

One of the biggest problems associated with final exams is anxiety/stress. As we have mentioned before, getting good grades can be crucial at certain points in your life. Add to this that exams grow in importance as we get older and we barely face any final exams once we are an adult, and that's a recipe for real anxiety problems.

One very important thing to realize (and it's almost impossible to do so before a certain age) is that nothing is really "written in stone". We all remember that when we sat our first really important exam, we felt almost like we were in a "life or death" situation... then as years passed we realized that exams are not always as important as we thought, and that second chances are more common than it seemed to us when we were younger.

That is not to say that exams don't matter, and that there's always another chance - not at all. However, there is a level of stress and anxiety that is very unhealthy and counter-productive, and we should try to avoid that at all cost. And for that, it's important to keep in mind that there not a single "life-deciding" exam.

Life tends to be the result of multiple important and unimportant decisions, and none of them is 100% responsible for our future. As cheesy as that line is, there are many many examples of very successful, highly realized people that did not pass any of the exams that we would consider "hard requirements" to achieve their success; think Steve Jobs dropping out of college if you're out of examples.

Then again, those are just the exceptions to the rule. So the takeaway, if there's any to be gotten from a calculator, is that you're better off getting as high a grade as you can possibly get... but to remember there is always another way to your destination. As it was inscribed on the cover of the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom: Don't Panic!

Mateusz Mucha and Álvaro Díez.

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