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A university blunder has messed up my undergraduate result, and I may end up taking a gap year because of it

Hello, PF members. This is my first post here. I got my undergrad result for final semester few days ago and to my surprise it showed that I have failed in 'classical dynamics'. This is not at all possible as I clearly remember it being easy and quite simple. What bothers me more is that I had taken most interest in CD than any other subject this sem. Hell, I even got an above average grade in EMT even though our EMT teacher was not comprehensible (I did all the studying myself for EMT). Also, my internal marks in CD were also very good, so failing just isn't an option. All my friends are confused about this result. Even a close friend who said that he would definitely fail made it through, so I don't know what's going on anymore. I talked to my teachers and they told me to apply for re-evaluation as soon as possible. What makes it worse is that I got a seat for an M.Sc Physics program in one of the premier institutes of my country. I was supposed to leave in a few weeks for the registration process. Now that this has happened I can't even do that (the re-evaluation process may take well over 1 or 2 months unless they make an exception for final year students). I have never once failed in a subject in my life. I know this isn't possible.

Now, I may have to take a gap year. Sadly, to some certainty I know that I probably won't make it through to the M.Sc program in time. Given that I'm adding a year to my life I plan on catching up to it by directly applying to a PhD program next year. I want to be in research and I'm aware how scary a gap year is for people aiming for a PhD (given the time of completion is uncertain in itself).

I want some advice from people on what I should be focusing on and how to make up for the time I have lost. I would hugely appreciate any advice from people who pursued a PhD right after a B.Sc degree and what were all the struggles they faced and how they could have been better prepared for it. I know this isn't going to be as easy as it sounds. But, I am willing to put the work in. By the way, I want to be pursue a career in astrophysics.

Thanks.
 
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Do you know more about what happened? I don't know where you are: Where I studied we would get exams back (graded), that made it easy to understand where the overall grades come from.
What makes it worse is that I got a seat for an M.Sc Physics program in one of the premier institutes of my country. I was supposed to leave in a few weeks for the registration process. Now that this has happened I can't even do that (the re-evaluation process may take well over 1 or 2 months unless they make an exception for final year students)
Talk to responsible persons in both universities. Explain the people of the MSc program the situation, explain the people at your current university the situation. See what they can do.
I want to be in research and I'm aware how scary a gap year is for people aiming for a PhD (given the time of completion is uncertain in itself).
Not scary at all. If you do something useful in that year it is not a downside, especially if you can apply for a PhD program then (check how these are organized - if they are just MSc and PhD combined then it doesn't make a difference).
 
Do you know more about what happened? I don't know where you are: Where I studied we would get exams back (graded), that made it easy to understand where the overall grades come from.Talk to responsible persons in both universities. Explain the people of the MSc program the situation, explain the people at your current university the situation. See what they can do.
Not scary at all. If you do something useful in that year it is not a downside, especially if you can apply for a PhD program then (check how these are organized - if they are just MSc and PhD combined then it doesn't make a difference).
Thanks for the reply. I plan on revising all of my course work and then start with my preparation for the various entrance examinations. And, I do see some integrated-PhD or even PhD courses with its first 2 years or just the first year, respectively, invested in learning coursework (theory) which would be considered equivalent to that of an M.Sc degree (though a separate M.Sc degree wouldn't be awarded which isn't an issue for me). In mean time, I think I should start learning different programming languages which might help me later on and also go over some grad books; need to make sure that I don't get overwhelmed.
 
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When you say it's impossible that you failed the course, do you mean "I knew my grade going into the final exam and mathematically I couldn't have failed", or do you mean "I've never failed before and don't think it's likely"?
 

phinds

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Thanks for the reply. I plan on revising all of my course work and then start with my preparation for the various entrance examinations. And, I do see some integrated-PhD or even PhD courses with its first 2 years or just the first year, respectively, invested in learning coursework (theory) which would be considered equivalent to that of an M.Sc degree (though a separate M.Sc degree wouldn't be awarded which isn't an issue for me). In mean time, I think I should start learning different programming languages which might help me later on and also go over some grad books; need to make sure that I don't get overwhelmed.
Sounds like you are just rolling over and accepting the failing grade even though you think it's a mistake. I can't understand that attitude at all. Why do you not wish to find out what happened?
 

symbolipoint

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A student would generally know how he is doing in a course throughout the term of the course. By end of the term, student basically knows if he is passing successfully, or not passing. The professor will know what grade he is issuing to the student, so first at least, check with professor to verify or confirm the grade he determined to issue...
 
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You need to dig into this. Ask to see your results. Ask to talk them over with whoever graded them.

It’s possible that your grade was misapplied. As an example, if the test were a Scantron fill in the bubble answer one and it read your answers in wrong or that you placed them with the wrong question like answering q2 in the q3 slot so that all your answers were shifted by one.


I had this happen to me in and AI course. I got a poor grade on a project assignment. I asked the prof why and he said it didn’t work. I was surprised and asked him to run it again and wondrously it did work. Then he said it looked like some other students homework by the naming conventions we used on our variables and he thought we collaborated so that students project didn’t work ergo mine couldn’t work. I explained that while I did work with a student it was not that one and further my variable naming came directly from our book. My grade went from C to an A.

It’s possible that someone wrote your name on their test or that they had a similar name and so you got their results and they got yours. It could be someone entered the grade wrong into the system or forgot to enter it at all. There are a lot of ways the system can fail.

Surely someone at the university will champion your case considering your grades are so good in general and the impact a mistake like this can have on your graduate studies and that you might have grounds to sue the university over the mistake if indeed it did happen.
 
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Math_QED

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I agree with the other responses here. Make sure that you see your graded exam. Chances are that they made a mistake. Instructors are humans and therefore make mistakes. No need to panic for now.
 
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jtbell

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do you mean "I knew my grade going into the final exam and mathematically I couldn't have failed", or do you mean "I've never failed before and don't think it's likely"?
I suspect that in the OP's university system, the course grade is based completely on the final exam. Many of us here are accustomed to the US system, in which the final exam is usually only part of the course grade. For example, the college where I taught required that the final exam be between 1/4 and 1/3 of the final grade.
 
Sounds like you are just rolling over and accepting the failing grade even though you think it's a mistake. I can't understand that attitude at all. Why do you not wish to find out what happened?
I do want to. I have talked to over a dozen of teachers. The HoD of my college and so forth. A teacher who taught me these last 2 sems helped me out today by vouching for me to the principle of our college to get an application forwarded by him to the Dean of the Examination Dept. The papers aren't checked in our college, but by other colleges that are affiliated under our university. This whole mess is anything but simple. I couldn't meet him as he had a meeting today. I am trying my best to get it resolved.
 
I suspect that in the OP's university system, the course grade is based completely on the final exam. Many of us here are accustomed to the US system, in which the final exam is usually only part of the course grade. For example, the college where I taught required that the final exam be between 1/4 and 1/3 of the final grade.
Not completely. But, this paper's final exam still covered 3/4 of its course grade.
 

symbolipoint

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The papers aren't checked in our college, but by other colleges that are affiliated under our university. This whole mess is anything but simple. I couldn't meet him as he had a meeting today. I
That is really bad, as some kind of serious mismanagement.
 

HallsofIvy

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Why are you asking/telling us? You should have gone immediately to your teacher and ask him/her what your grade was. I remember a student coming to me complaining about a failing grade. I was taken aback since I remembered the student as having done well in the course. I checked my grade book and saw that I had a "B" recorded for the student in my grade book. I was very much afraid that I had miswritten on the form on which I sent the grades to the registrar so went immediately to the registrar's office and asked to see it. In fact, the student had a "B" on that form. It turned out the person who copied the grades onto the registrar's records had mis-copied it.

(Yes, this is very very old fashioned. This was many years ago.)
 
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Great story @HallsofIvy!

The scary thing about old fashioned is that steps like these may still be present in the system.

There’s that recent story of launch codes for ballistic missiles still being recorded on floppy disks even though they have been on the dustbin of Computer history for a few decades. Not very much in the way of fancy error correction for these recordings but a great way to counter hackers.


 
Why are you asking/telling us? You should have gone immediately to your teacher and ask him/her what your grade was. I remember a student coming to me complaining about a failing grade. I was taken aback since I remembered the student as having done well in the course. I checked my grade book and saw that I had a "B" recorded for the student in my grade book. I was very much afraid that I had miswritten on the form on which I sent the grades to the registrar so went immediately to the registrar's office and asked to see it. In fact, the student had a "B" on that form. It turned out the person who copied the grades onto the registrar's records had mis-copied it.

(Yes, this is very very old fashioned. This was many years ago.)
I did go to them. Like I said in an earlier post, the final papers are checked in a different college. That's why there's not much that my teacher could possibly do about it. Unless we go to the authorities in-charge directly, which is what I have been trying to do. But they have only been making it all more difficult.
 

symbolipoint

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the final papers are checked in a different college. That's why there's not much that my teacher could possibly do about it. Unless we go to the authorities in-charge directly, which is what I have been trying to do.
WHY?


edit: I am interested to know of any update but also still am interested to know why.
 
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WHY?
edit: I am interested to know of any update but also still am interested to know why.
I think they want the bias factor sorted out, probably \_( ' ' )_/. That's what I have always thought about it anyway. But, it has its cons, especially in cases such as mine.

Also, I met the Dean of the Examination Dept. today in person. The meeting barely lasted for 2 minutes. But, he personally checked my Mark Sheet, then asked for my internal marks and positively signed my application (the one forwarded by the principal) and sent it to the office in-charge. He told me that it would take around two days if that's alright and asked me not to panic. For now, all that I could do is wait.
 

StatGuy2000

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To the OP:

Just out of curiosity, what country are you located in? I'm asking because it is very unusual in universities in Canada or the US to have papers or exams from undergraduate courses graded at a different university. But perhaps this is the norm in European, Asian, African or Latin American countries?

I'm also curious because you mentioned the term "gap year". The notion of a gap year I associate with the UK, but perhaps is also common in other countries.
 

symbolipoint

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To the OP:

Just out of curiosity, what country are you located in? I'm asking because it is very unusual in universities in Canada or the US to have papers or exams from undergraduate courses graded at a different university. But perhaps this is the norm in European, Asian, African or Latin American countries?

I'm also curious because you mentioned the term "gap year". The notion of a gap year I associate with the UK, but perhaps is also common in other countries.
 
To the OP:

Just out of curiosity, what country are you located in? I'm asking because it is very unusual in universities in Canada or the US to have papers or exams from undergraduate courses graded at a different university. But perhaps this is the norm in European, Asian, African or Latin American countries?

I'm also curious because you mentioned the term "gap year". The notion of a gap year I associate with the UK, but perhaps is also common in other countries.

I am from India. The papers are graded in different colleges that are affiliated under the same university. At least in my uni, not sure about others.

Here a 'gap year' usually refers to a year long break that a student takes so that he/she can prepare for competitive entrance examinations to get into any of the top institutes of their preference. It usually isn't about taking a break, work experience or finding any other interests that you might have. \_( '- ' )_/
 
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Such scanned documents can be a nightmare...
When our site tried to introduce 'matrix management' across the board, we all had to do tests to establish our skills, competence etc. Beyond revealing almost all of us were delivering 1~1½~2 full grades above our 'nominal', we also managed to totally crash the consultants' clunky 'reader' software by adding extra boxes to multiple choice options...

Hey, they said they wanted the truth, and when #1~~#5 don't suffice, here's a 'six' !!
==

Um, as asked by other posts, why did you not query your test's scoring more promptly ?

whimsy:
Plan_B is to take that gap-year, crowd-fund a real-neat start-up, make your first billion, buy your preferred Uni a new research lab and collect honorary degree...
/
 
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I really hope they straighten this out for you and that someone doesn't try to do a coverup for their mistake.

As an aside, there was a story once of a prof who gave an untimed exam. After several hours, one student remained and the prof said: "I know its an untimed exam but you took way too long to complete it and I'm going to have to mark off for that"

The student walked up to the profs desk and asked: "Do you know me?" When the prof said no, the student quickly slipped his paper into the middle of the exam paper stack and left.
 
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The PLAN B reminds me of the Somerset Maughm story called The Verger.
A bloke loses his longtime church job as a verger (someone who handles the day to day church business) because the new pastor discovered he couldn't read.

He goes out to found a series of tobacco shops, gets married and celebrates his stepdaughters new baby's baptism by going back to the same church where he once worked.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, he walks up to the new pastor and drops a large wad of bills as a donation to the church leaving the pastor dumbfounded.

The classic ending though was when he went to deposit his money in the bank one day and the bank president sat him down to discuss investment strategies giving him a prospectus to read. The Verger said he never considered investing because he couldn't read.

The bank president couldn't believe what he heard and said "My god, man do you know what you could have become if you could read?" and his response was ...
 

StatGuy2000

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I am from India. The papers are graded in different colleges that are affiliated under the same university. At least in my uni, not sure about others.

Here a 'gap year' usually refers to a year long break that a student takes so that he/she can prepare for competitive entrance examinations to get into any of the top institutes of their preference. It usually isn't about taking a break, work experience or finding any other interests that you might have. \_( '- ' )_/
I see, that explains a lot. So these different colleges are affiliated at the same university, in much the same way as Cambridge in the UK (e.g. Trinity College, St. John's College, New College) or the University of Toronto (my alma mater; with Trinity College, University College, St. Michael's College, Victoria College, etc.).

That makes more sense to me, but still is unusual for exams to be transferred to different colleges, as this is not done in my alma mater, as far as I am aware.
 
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