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Bad Gpa- Worked really hard this semester

  1. Dec 25, 2015 #1
    Hi guys,

    I feel like a failure and I am miserable. I got two/five grades back. For physics lab, I got a C- and for thermodynamics I got a C. I worked really hard this semester, but I have failed. I put everything aside for studies, yet I am in misery. My aim is to get into graduate school, the grad schools in canada look at the last two years. My last two years will start from next semester. But I cannot get through the feeling of working so hard yet still failing. I'll be out of my honors program will have to switch to regular bsc degree because of this. I really need some help right now.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2015 #2
    Review during the holidays? Maybe you are studying wrong? Ditch the solutions manuals, and give it the old, I will solve you on my own the honest way (including help in office hour of course). Are you trying to understand the material or going by rote memorization? I got 2 B's and 2 A's this semester. I worked really hard, but in the end I got 2 the B's in Calculus 3 and Differential Equations. It happens.
     
  4. Dec 25, 2015 #3

    micromass

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    Yeah, getting a C is very bad. But you can feel bad about it, or you can try to find out what went wrong. If you do that, then you might be able to fix it. If you work hard, you should be able to get good grades. Why do you think you didn't?
     
  5. Dec 25, 2015 #4
    I working during the semester too. I think i need to give more time to physics. I wasn't really interested in thermodynamics and I'm not sure what i did wrong in the lab. I got really bad grade in the formal lab which was supposed to be written like a research paper. I followed the template and everything.
     
  6. Dec 25, 2015 #5

    micromass

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    You're not approaching this well. You basically posted a thread complaining how your grades are too low. OK, I get that it must hit hard, but that doesn't solve anything.

    What you need to do is find out how come you got such bad grades. If you did a bad job on your lab report and don't know why, then that puzzles me a lot. The first thing you should do is actually find out why you got a bad grade. How are you supposed to learn anything if you're not curious for your mistakes.

    There might be a lot of things wrong. You might be studying inefficiently. You might have too much anxiety. You might make careless errors. All of these can contribute to a low grade. You need to find out what's wrong and then fix it. Complaining about your bad grades won't get you into grad school.
     
  7. Dec 25, 2015 #6
    I'm sorry I;m just taking the hit really hard. This is what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna talk to my professor once the break is over to see where I went wrong for the lab report because I'll be taking classical experiments this semester and I don't wanna repeat my mistakes. I was definitely anxious due to the gpa requirement for my program. Its one thing to get above a 3.0 and another thing to get put under pressure to get above a 3.0.

    I'm aware that complaining won't do anything but I just really needed this gpa. It sucks when you work hard for something and you still fail at it. I'm definitely gonna figure out where I went wrong.
     
  8. Dec 25, 2015 #7

    micromass

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    OK, talking the professor is a very good first step. Be sure you're not taking an attitude like "please improve my grade", but rather "how can I improve myelf" towards the professor.

    Anyway, can you perhaps tell us how you study? The more details the better?
     
  9. Dec 25, 2015 #8
    For thermodynamics, I did all the assignments, midterm, and sample final without looking at the solutions. Then I went back to solutions for problems I couldn't solve. I studied notes every day for different classes. I went to professor during office hours to understand what I couldn't on my own. I know from my experience, the more the questions, the better understanding. I made sure to implement these in my study habits.
     
  10. Dec 25, 2015 #9

    micromass

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    Did you look up extra books and did problems in those books? Did you invent problems for yourself to play with the material? How long did you try to understand something before you went to the professor? How did you study the notes? Did you read the relevant chapter before lecture? Did you form a study group with other people to help understand the material better? Did you rely only on the notes, or did you consult other resources like books or websites too?
     
  11. Dec 25, 2015 #10
    I did refer to extra books. I didn't invent problems for myself.
    I gave myself 2 days to understand the material from books and if I wasn't understanding it , i went to the professor.
    Sometimes I did read chapters before going to lectures- I'm gonna do it everyday now.
    I didn't form study groups because I study best alone.
    I study better from books but sometimes the notes were really good as well. I never study from notes alone.
     
  12. Dec 25, 2015 #11

    micromass

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    Sure. But with study groups, you get to test eachothers understanding to the limits. If you study on your own, you might often fool yourself into thinking you understood it. Additionally, you get to explain concepts to eachother which is really helpful too. Try it next time!
     
  13. Dec 25, 2015 #12
    Yes, i'll work on it. Do you think I can still make it to grad school after a bad sem? i love physics, it can be overwhelming but still.
     
  14. Dec 25, 2015 #13
    Did you have sufficient mathematics for the classes you took? I am a math major, so I am not sure what math a thermodynamics class has. I noticed a lot of my engineering and physics buddies had problems with some of the physics classes, because there math understanding was not there.

    Ie. One of my buddies took circuits, I took EnM, so i was familiar with some of the ideas. My friend asked for help, so I solved a problem using Linear Algebra. He took linear but did not understand how I applied Linear to it. Something to think about.

    When you say you study with your notes. Do you mean, look at the notes while solving problems? Or reviewing the notes randomly throughout the day?

    The labs can be tricky. Make sure you do not follow the template verbatim, like many science students do. Make sure to list uncertainties, etc in the lab report.
     
  15. Dec 25, 2015 #14
    I'm pretty good at math. I didn't have any problems with math. I was more surprised by getting a C- in physics lab
     
  16. Dec 25, 2015 #15
    If it's any consolation OP, thermodynamics/statistical mechanics is one of the most toughest classes (at least at my Uni. anyway, and I suspect other places too.) If some numbers I saw are accurate only 2 percent of the class received A- or better, and the overwhelming majority (85 percent) were C-F. I luckily fared pretty well, but it was NOT easy by any means. I actually realllly liked it though. It was the first class I really felt like I was doing physics. The tests were just really novel/interesting problems where I had to try to think up some model to make a reasonable approximation to real life. Definitely takes a while to develop that type of reasoning from the introductory physics/math classes. So if it was the same for you I wouldn't be too worried. Just keep trying real hard and put the time in, if you want it you can have it.
     
  17. Dec 25, 2015 #16
    Yeah, it was hard for sure. I wanted some more time to understand einstein solids and be clear about multiplicity of states. I know I ****ed up. I just don't wanna give up on the thought of graduate school.
     
  18. Dec 25, 2015 #17

    micromass

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    If you want me to be honest: if you don't find out what went wrong and fix it, then yeah, getting to grad school will be very difficult. You absolutely need to do some introspective thinking on your study methods and other things.
    Part of being a good physicist and scientist is exactly finding out how to improve yourself. I'm a mathematician and do you think I understand everything just like that? No, of course not. And I've see many other people struggle with a lot of concepts. Struggling to understand something is very very natural. Inherent intelligence is of course a bit important, but there is something much more important. What is it? Everybody will run into walls. And what's important is how you react to such moments. And everybody is different. Some people will get discouraged and quit easily. Understandable, but they won't make it to grad school. Other people just don't enjoy this struggle to understand something, and they go do something else that they enjoy more. Understandable, but they won't make it to grad school. Then there are some people who are really persistent and who keep hurling themselves towards the wall over and over again. Very admirable, but they also won't make it in grad school. The people who make it are the people who think about what they're doing. Find out how they're approaching the wall and why the wall doesn't break. Then optimize their chances and keep pushing until the wall breaks. Those are the people who make it far.

    You've hit a wall now. It caused a bad grade. Sad, but this was supposed to happen. It happens with everybody sooner or later. If not now, they will encounter the wall during grad school or even later. Your reaction to this wall will decide how you will perform in grad school.
     
  19. Dec 26, 2015 #18
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah it'll be stupid to repeat my mistakes again. I'm gonna look closely at everything and figure out what went wrong. Also, I'm gonna quit my job and focus on school. I have 4 semesters to improve my grade and luckily in canada they look at the last 4 semesters' grade. Hopefully things will work out.
     
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