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Drop for a W rather than get a C?

  1. Feb 12, 2009 #1
    Short Version:
    I goofed up and received an F on the first calc III midterm. It looks like the max I can get in the Class is a C. That wouldn't be a problem except for I already have 2 other C's.

    Long Version:
    I am a sophomore in engineering physics, looking to go into nuclear engineering in grad school. My freshman year I went to a local college because my mom worked there so I was able to go for free. I was able to pull a 3.5 or so gpa for the first year with no effort.

    This current year I transferred to a huge state university. Fall quarter I received 2 C's and 1 A, mostly because I was putting forth minimal effort like last year. That dropped me to just under a 3.3 cumulative GPA. This quarter I am receiving A's in all of my classes except for Calc III, which I recently just bombed the first midterm. I understand the concepts, however I wasn't expecting all the odd limits and such (my ignorance).

    So now I am in an uncomfortable situation in either dropping the class and taking the last gen physics with sophomore physics next fall or making sure I do realy well on the next midterm and Final and pulling a C.

    (Just to note that I was not the only one who did horrible. the grading scheme for this midterm was: Below 25/100-F, 35/100-C, 45/100-B, 55/100-A).

    Any and all advice and suggestion are appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2009 #2


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    That's quite the curve - although not unheard off.

    It's been my experience that when mid-term results are less than stellar, the grading scheme may often be altered to place more weight on the final exam. You may want to speak with your professor about this - although I suspect since the mid-term has already been curved, this is unlikely.
  4. Feb 12, 2009 #3
    That was my first impression as well. I talked the professor about it, and he said in his experience people who failed the first midterm usually end up failing the class, due to statistically not doing much better on the second midterm and final. We crunched the numbers and If I did perfectly on the last two exams than I could theoretically get a B-.
  5. Feb 12, 2009 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    You should take his advice seriously.
  6. Feb 12, 2009 #5


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    Tough decision because you really do not know how well you will improve or retain what you are currently studying. If you continue to struggle and not improve and if you have two or more other courses now, then maybe drop the Calc III with a W; but try to continue attending the course for a few weeks just to try to keep learning. If you appear to be earning a true C in the course, then maybe just stay enrolled and take the risk, but work very intensely at this Calc III. In any case, you might still need to study it again on your own during the summer; if you earned a C, the review will keep you familar and skilled. If you dropped with a W, the review should render the course easier to successfully pass when you take it the second time.
  7. Feb 12, 2009 #6
    I am thinking if I do drop the course, then I will probably still go to the class.

    I just learned from my TA that only a handful of people actually passed the midterm (with a 25 or higher). Next Friday is the deadline to drop, so I have about a week left to get a feel what will happen.

    Thanks all!
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