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Getting a degree: speed or grades?

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  • Thread starter djosey
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Well to give some background info, i'm 25 and currently doing my first undergraduate year in physics.

I'm unemployed at the moment, but was working until december and expect to get a new job soon, and that plus me having to relearn lots of high school stuff has led me to expect that, although i may be able to pass this year, it probably will be with only passable grades, and not always a very profound understanding.

Now the question is, is it better to voluntarily fail this year, lose one year so that i'll be able to get much better grades next time, or is it better to scrape through this time and hopefully get better grades in my 2nd year? In your experience, how important are 1st year lectures, both for your career and understanding of more advanced subjects? What would you do in my situation?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Well that depends. What GPA are we talking about and what's your GPA goal for next time. If it's a 2.0 it'll be hard to recover (3.7 maximum). What about your school's policies, I doubt all of them will be fully replaced. I think explaining why you got C's at your first try at 25 is easier to explain than straight F's.

If you were to get 4.0's from now on you'd be fine with a 3.7, but you have to really devote yourself seriously.
 
  • #3
6,814
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Now the question is, is it better to voluntarily fail this year, lose one year so that i'll be able to get much better grades next time, or is it better to scrape through this time and hopefully get better grades in my 2nd year?
If you are sinking and you can drop some classes without penalty, then do it.

Also, if your understanding of first year material is weak, then you are going to have a lot of trouble with second year material.

In your experience, how important are 1st year lectures, both for your career and understanding of more advanced subjects?
Absolutely essential.
 
  • #4
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If you were to get 4.0's from now on you'd be fine with a 3.7, but you have to really devote yourself seriously.
But don't kid yourself. If you barely squeak through the first year, then you are very, very, very unlikely to get 4.0's from now on.
 
  • #5
28
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Thanks for the answers. Well to explain and clarify some more, the situation is that what i have time to do, i do quite well. I'm in france, so the system is different, but i'm guessing i'm getting A's or B+'s for that. However, i don't have time to do everything, so i'm guessing i'll finish the year with A's or B+'s for 1st semester lectures (17/20 in french system), and D's or perhaps E's (06/20) for 2nd semester lectures, ending with a C i guess (11/20), passing grades being 10/20.

I'm planning to quit working entirely and do physics full time from approx jan 2012 onwards, and i'm confident of being able to get good grades from then. The question is, is it worth it losing a year and hopefully starting with much better grades. It depends of course a lot on personal factors, and also on how important GPA is in the french education system (something that i should investigate, now that i think of it) still i'd like to get some outside opinion.
 
  • #6
525
16
Thanks for the answers. Well to explain and clarify some more, the situation is that what i have time to do, i do quite well. I'm in france, so the system is different, but i'm guessing i'm getting A's or B+'s for that. However, i don't have time to do everything, so i'm guessing i'll finish the year with A's or B+'s for 1st semester lectures (17/20 in french system), and D's or perhaps E's (06/20) for 2nd semester lectures, ending with a C i guess (11/20), passing grades being 10/20.

I'm planning to quit working entirely and do physics full time from approx jan 2012 onwards, and i'm confident of being able to get good grades from then. The question is, is it worth it losing a year and hopefully starting with much better grades. It depends of course a lot on personal factors, and also on how important GPA is in the french education system (something that i should investigate, now that i think of it) still i'd like to get some outside opinion.
I don't have a ton of experience in this area, but I think far more important than grades in first year is your level of understanding. If you're getting lower grades because you don't have time to fully understand the concepts, then I would suggest either re-taking the courses, or at least getting some tutoring or study on your own before you move on. The low grades won't hurt you as much I think as the weaker understanding base.

I'm only in second semester engineering, but already I can see: people who didn't take the time to master their linear algebra and calculus from first semester are dying in our electricity and magnetism course. We've already lost a good chunk of the class 2 weeks in, and it's a required course for any engineering degree. Stuff builds on the stuff you learned before, so once you're behind it becomes much harder to catch up.
 

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