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Programs How much damage will a B- in Calc II do to a prospective math/econ/stat PhD

  1. Dec 22, 2010 #1
    I know this is a low level math course, but will it screw up my chances for grad school admissions? I plan to apply for grad school in either math, statistics, or economics (not entirely sure yet).

    I'm especially pissed by this because I knew the material inside and out, aced every quiz, midterm, and final I took except one - the one I didn't take.

    I accidentally skipped my first midterm so that brought my grade down like a *****..Had I gotten even a B on that midterm, I would've received an A for the class.

    So how bad is this really? I'm taking Linear Algebra, and Multivariable in the spring. Pretty sure I'll ace them if I pay attention to the exam schedule. Do you think A's in higher level math will render that B- irrelevant?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2010 #2
    I would re-take the course. You already know the material and MORE so it shouldn't take up a lot of your time.
  4. Dec 22, 2010 #3
    Retake? That would be a huge waste of my time. Besides, retaking it won't erase that B-.
  5. Dec 22, 2010 #4


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    I'm still an undergraduate but from what I've read on these forums of people who have gotten a PhD, a large majority say that your grades in higher level courses, research experience and letters of recommendation are the ones that matter.

    I think that if you ace high level courses, then the lower level courses won't impact as much. Besides, everyone makes mistakes and has to learn from them: if we didn't tolerate mistakes, we wouldn't really get far as a race.
  6. Dec 22, 2010 #5
    This is my first semester btw.
  7. Dec 22, 2010 #6
    You're kidding, right? A B is a good grade. This isn't high school. You're not expected to have a string of A's. Please understand this as you move forward in school. Worry about getting C's, not the occasional B.
  8. Dec 22, 2010 #7
    Even an occasional 'C' won't ruin you. For example, if you're a Math student and your interest is Analysis, it won't be too harmful if you get a 'C' in PDEs but an 'A' in your Analysis classes and Topology, for example.
  9. Dec 23, 2010 #8
    BTW, how do you accidentally skip a midterm?
  10. Dec 23, 2010 #9
    I was wondering the same thing.
  11. Dec 23, 2010 #10
    I forgot I had one that day.
  12. Dec 24, 2010 #11
  13. Dec 24, 2010 #12


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    Keep up your GPA. A 3.1 or higher, preferrably 3.3 or higher, is what you want in the end. A 'cum laude' degree, goes a long way. Getting a C in your freshman year doesn't mean that much....it's your overall performance over 4 years, especially in the later year courses, that matters.
  14. Dec 24, 2010 #13
    don't take this the wrong way since it's honestly the only real truth of this matter: you should stop worrying about the B- but rather figure out why you "forgot" about a midterm exam. i can't even begin to understand how that's even possible for a serious student who wants to go to graduate school!!!!!
  15. Dec 24, 2010 #14
    Use an electronic calendar of some sort. I use one and I have it programmed to send me e-mail each morning with that day's agenda, send me SMS messages about 20 minutes before an exam, and send me popups on both my computer and my phone as well (so I get lots of beeping on my phone, basically). Works perfectly. Do something like this and you'll never forget anything ever again, unless you fail to enter it into the calendar in the first place.
  16. Dec 24, 2010 #15
    Are you sure about that? You may want to check with your advisor; I think my school, at least, replaces the lower grade on your transcript if you retake a course and do better.

    At any rate, since you know the material, you'll only have to take time to go to exams this time around (all of them, mind you!)
  17. Dec 24, 2010 #16
    I'm taking linear algebra and calc III next semester, so I don't think I'm taking it again.
  18. Dec 24, 2010 #17


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    why are you asking us this question? do you really think what we say will have any effect on your future?

    go talk to the professor. he/she is the one who will write the letter that will explain why you got the grade. by the way, i got a D- in calc II, and now I am a renowned genius. or a renowned moron, depending on who[m?] you ask.

    [do you want to know which, before heeding my advice?] (or perhaps my answer makes it evident!)
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