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Failed a class

  1. Dec 17, 2015 #1
    I took quantum mechanics 1 this semester. It's part one of two that I need to graduate. I received a D in the course.
    I'm not sure if the D prohibits me from taking quantum 2 next semester. I'm still waiting to hear back from my advisor. The course catalog doesn't say that a C or better is needed to take the second part.
    However, if I am still allowed to take the second part of it, should I?
    I honestly don't feel mathematically and conceptually prepared to take quantum 2. The answer should be a simple "no" after seeing that but I'm scheduled to graduate next summer. And these classes are only offered in sequence. So, if I wait to take quantum 2 until next year (spring 2017) and fail it, my graduation will be pushed back an entire year.
    If I'm allowed to take quantum 2 this coming semester, I will still have a semester to retake it if needed.
    Would anyone like to chime in on this?

    I do plan on retaking quantum 1 next fall though. :-/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2015 #2

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    So, technically, you didn't "fail" the class.
    I don't think that's a good idea. Most likely, the concepts presented in the second course build on knowledge attained in the first course. A grade of D suggests that you don't have a firm grasp on the material in the first class, so you would very likely fail (with an F) the second course.
     
  4. Dec 17, 2015 #3
    We're using the same book for the second part. It's even the same instructor teaching the course. So we will definitely be building off of this semester.
    Do you think sitting through quantum 2 would be a good idea?
     
  5. Dec 17, 2015 #4

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    It wouldn't hurt, but it might not help, either, especially when you need to start using concepts that you don't have a good grasp on.
     
  6. Dec 17, 2015 #5

    symbolipoint

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    What to do when and after failing a course (a grade of D is still failing, for any practical purposes):
    Determine what went wrong, FIX THAT/THOSE ON YOUR OWN before enrolling in the course again, and then re-enroll in the course for the second time, and EARN AT LEAST GRADE OF B - Because, now you should be able to learn the stuff better, even if you still do not fully master it.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2015 #6
    I'm not sure what went wrong. I feel like I'm simply not understanding the material. Maybe I just didn't focus on the class hard enough.

    But I do think I'm either going to take quantum2 or at least sit in on it. What I understand is still fresh in my brain and I think it's less beneficial for my to just skip the second portion of the class.
     
  8. Dec 19, 2015 #7

    Student100

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    It can't hurt to go ahead and take QM2 due to structure of the sequence, but don't be surprised when you fail. At least when you redo them next year you'll have been introduced to the material already, which helps on the second go through.

    You obviously have some skill in physics if you've already got to the point where you just need this sequence to graduate, so you already know how to identify problems in your study/work habits. Maybe this is just a subject you'll never be good at, no one is an expert in every area.

    Did you struggle with the mathematics or the physics, or both in QM1? What topics were you having a hard time with?
     
  9. Dec 19, 2015 #8
    The instructor got back to me and suggested that I still attend the course. Whether it be for a grade or to just sitting in.

    I really struggled with the math. It took about half the semester for me to kind of understand the bra/ket relationship. Even that I'm still a little fuzzy on though.
     
  10. Dec 19, 2015 #9

    Student100

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    Maybe going through a good linear text during the break might help you with the mathematics. There's no getting away from Dirac notation in QM, but if you're struggling to understand that "kets" and "bras" are just column and row vectors, then redoing linear algebra might be a good idea.
     
  11. Dec 19, 2015 #10
    I actually took a senior level linear algebra class prior to taking quantum. I did well in that class. It some what helped but not too much. The Dirac notation is what is hanging me up. I have a much better grasp on it but my weak understanding isn't strong enough to get me through the course... Obviously lol.
    I'm going make my way through the first six chapters of the quantum book. I think I need to focus on the first couple chapters the most because I've been lost since day one.
     
  12. Dec 19, 2015 #11
    In my undergrad QM II was much harder than QM I. I too had the same textbook same instructor, but I did a grade better in QM I than QM II. It would be best to get input from your instructor. In my case I got great marks in HW (which he graded himself every week) but terrible marks on the tests. To this day I generally do well when given a lot of time to think through every step. Your instructor ie. professor can assess whether you are likely to improve performance. Perhaps your grades have already demonstrated slow improvement.

    OK I just read the earlier posts. Your instructor seems to think your situation will improve.
     
  13. Dec 19, 2015 #12

    Student100

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    Interesting, can you give me a concrete example of something that confused you?

    I would think if you've studied senior level LA you wouldn't have too much of a problem with Diracs' notation. It's basically lipstick on a pig, if that pig is linear algebra.
     
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