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If you fail a class is it the end?

  1. Oct 20, 2008 #1
    I'm not doing too well this semmester. I should pass all my physics and math courses, but I might just fail a computer science class. I was sick for a week, missed some days, and then haven't been able to catch up. It hit me hard on a test.

    So, my question is, if I end up with an F or a D in that class, and only C's or B's in my physics/math courses, am I totally sunk? Would that mean it's time to change majors or throw in the towell?


    What happens if you fail or do really bad in a course? How bad does it hurt you?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2008 #2
    Things to consider:

    Can you still withdraw from the course (even with WF -- withdraw with failing grade)? You may want to later retake the course to demonstrate success.

    Does your institution have a course forgiveness policy (where you can formally retake the course and have the grade cleared from your gpa -- sometimes it stays on the transcript)?


    But more importantly:
    What do you want to do AFTER school with your physics major? (this, and your present C/B situation in physics/math courses could effect your choice of whether or not to stay in physics or decide on something else altogether... i.e. do you really want PHYSICS, or just a degree?)? If you want to teach high school physics, a B/C gpa would be acceptable to get you into a masters-degree teaching program. If you want to go to graduate school, it won't be enough to get you into a strong program, but there's less strong programs out there that might still help you reach your goals. Best luck deciding.

    P.S. -- always let the professor know when a personal or medical emergency comes up. I have a line in my syllabus that says a test can be taken late with a medical official's note (or legal official, if the student is summoned to court, etc.). Professor's are generally OK people.
     
  4. Oct 21, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    Yes. Even if it's too late to withdraw, it's not too late to talk to the professor about your week of illness and difficulty catching up since then. A week of missed coursework is a LOT of catching up, especially when all the new material builds off the stuff you missed. Ask about tutors or other resources to help you study and catch up as well. For example, the course I teach has two tutors available now. If a student asks, I can refer them. If a student has an excused absence (such as illness, religious obligations, or anything else the dean's office considers reasonable with documentation), make-up exams can be provided. Sometimes, if the student is well enough by the exam date, but missed work leading up to it, I might still have them take the exam with their class, but I make a note of it and can weight it differently if they do better on all the others. I even had one student whose best friend died in a car accident the day of an exam, and still showed up for the exam! At the time, the instructors in the course decided to allow her to take the exam, since she had already made it in and scheduling a make-up exam might have been worse. She never did catch up, but continued to take the course to learn as much as she could. However, our school has discretion whether a student doing poorly in a course is allowed to retake it or kicked out of the program. In her case, that was considered a sufficient mitigating circumstance to retake the course and continue in the program.

    So, when in doubt, talk to your professors.
     
  5. Oct 21, 2008 #4

    cristo

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    Are you sure that your illness really affected your studies, or are you just using it as an excuse to yourself? Studying maths/physics is not easy, and it's certainly not a degree you can do without some form of dedication. If you are just wanting 'a degree,' like an above poster mentions, then perhaps you should change to an 'easier' one (i.e. one which you enjoy more).

    However, if you do really want to do maths/physics, then missing a few weeks is certainly not the end of the world. As I've mentioned here before, in my first year of university I had some pretty uncertain times where I doubted myself and just stopped going to classes. After about a month of this, I decided to go back home and pull myself together. I returned a few weeks later, having to this time missed around 6 weeks of classes, and started working. I did pretty well, obtaining what would probably equate to an A/B in American talk for the year. I did manage to pull myself together, and do pretty well after that.

    The point of my post is this: it's not too late to succeed supposing that you really are wanting to study your subject, and are willing to work.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2008 #5
    Hey,

    It's definitely not the end, but it should be the start of you making adjustments. Failing a class isn't the end of the world, but actually a valuable learning experience.
     
  7. Oct 22, 2008 #6
    "Are you sure that your illness really affected your studies, or are you just using it as an excuse to yourself? Studying maths/physics is not easy, and it's certainly not a degree you can do without some form of dedication. If you are just wanting 'a degree,' like an above poster mentions, then perhaps you should change to an 'easier' one (i.e. one which you enjoy more)."

    That's a quitter advice.
     
  8. Oct 22, 2008 #7

    cristo

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    What does that mean?
     
  9. Oct 22, 2008 #8
    It means exactly what it means, nothing in life is easy, you need to work hard in order to be able to say on something that it's easy for you.
     
  10. Oct 22, 2008 #9

    cristo

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    Sometimes hard work is not enough to succeed in a subject: it's naïve to think otherwise. I see this in the students I teach who are apparently just trying to muddle through in order to obtain a degree.
     
  11. Oct 22, 2008 #10
    I failed both calc II and calc III. I never for one moment thought about giving up or changing majors. If you quite just because things get hard you will never get anywhere in life.
     
  12. Oct 22, 2008 #11
    dude you worry to much. So what if you fail ONE copmuter class, worse case scenario you retake the course in second semester or during the summer. As long as you hit back hard in second/third/fourth year you will be fine because master programs only require a 77+ average to get into and its based on academic performance for third/fourth year(at least for university of ottawa).

    I can tell you from experience that the most important thing to do is stay positive and dont doubt yourself, do that and you'll be unstoppable. Now go hit those books.
     
  13. Oct 24, 2008 #12
    I can't say that I never thought of quitting, I got a faild in my first class at newtonian mechanics, it made me a bit depressed, and luckily for me, the place where I learn we have two examination dates, which gives you a second chance, as far as I know in the states and most other places this is not so, you have only one examination date, which is a lot of pressure on the pupil.
     
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