# What grade do I need to get on the final exam?

Near the end of the semester, students often ask what grade they need to get on the final in order to pass a class or get a certain overall class grade. Final exams usually make up a large portion of a student's class grade, much more than homework, quizzes, or mid-term tests. If you are unsure what grade you need to earn on your final exam, use the calculator on the left. You can also read below for an explanation of how to figure out what final exam grade you need.

Step 1

Look on your syllabus to find out how much homework, quizzes, tests, and the final exam count toward your total class grade. Express these weights as decimals. For example, suppose homework is 20% of your grade, two mid-terms are 25% each, and the final is 30%. Then the homework weight is 0.2, each mid-term's weight is 0.25, and the final exam weight is 0.3.

(When using the calculator, do not convert any percents to decimals. The calculator does this for you.)

Step 2

Review your recorded grades to find your homework average, quiz average, and the scores for each mid-term. Express these numbers as decimals as well. For example if you have a 90% average on homework, and you received grades of 76% and 88% on each test, then your scores are 0.9, 0.76, and 0.88.

Step 3

Multiply each component score by its weight. For example, since homework is 0.2 of the total grade and your homework score is 0.9, you compute (0.2)(0.9) = 0.18. Likewise, for the exams you compute (0.25)(0.8) = 0.19 and (0.25)(0.88) = 0.22. Do not worry about doing this for the final exam since you have not yet taken it and do not have a grade.

Step 4

Add the numbers you found in Step 3. Using the example above, we get 0.18 + 0.19 + 0.22 = 0.59

Step 5

Subtract this number from the overall grade you want to receive in the class (expressed as a decimal), and then divide by the final exam weight. For example, if you want to receive an overall grade of 87% (B+) and the final is 30% of the grade, then you compute (0.87 - 0.59)/0.3 = 0.933. So you need to get about a 94% on the final in order to earn an overall class grade of 87%.