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Is it a good idea to repeat low first year classes to boost your overall GPA?

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1
    I am a 3rd-4th year student planning to try and get into graduate school in my field of study. But I got some terrible marks in my first year in courses relating to my program (science and math courses), and in a non-related course. Since some universities specifically require an undergraduate 3.0 GPA to get into their graduate program, I was wondering if I should retake a few of these courses in my last year. In my university, marks from repeated courses will replace the original marks (but the original ones will still show up on my transcript). I am wondering if this would be a good idea, considering that my later year courses tend to build on my first year classes. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2011 #2
    Depends how bad they were. If they were C-ish and you've improved, getting As and Bs (mostly As) in later courses, I wouldn't worry incredibly as long as you're above the GPA threshold. If they were Ds or Fs or your GPA will be below 3.0, it would be worth it to retake some but only if you're confident you can get top marks this time around.
  4. Oct 16, 2011 #3


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    I wouldn't waste my time trying to boost my marks in first year classes. Assuming that you've figured out why you were getting less-than stellar marks and you are doing better in your upper year classes, I would focus on those. A high mark in a fourth-year class will look much better than the same mark in a course you've already passed.
  5. Oct 17, 2011 #4
    BINGO!! If you didn't LEARN those years you had bad marks and you know in the future the material will revolve around your bad years, please go back and learn it. But there are two way to doing that:
    [1] get FREE materials and teach yourself
    [2] take another shot by re-taking the courses

    Now my advice overall is this:
    [1] if you have a below 3.0 GPA then either re-take them to get a 3.0+ unless you can get your GPA to a 3.0 with the courses you are yet to take
    [2] look into the schools and specific program you're into. some schools & programs wont take applicants with below C grades in some mandatory / pre-req courses.

    some cases, an individual can take more advanced, upper level courses to demonstrate capability to handle work in the courses that were failed earlier. Ex, suppose you failed General Bio, getting A's - B+ in Biochem, Molecular Bio, Genetics, indipendent study, etc., will show you can handle Bio work although you had a "rough" first year. GL.
  6. Oct 18, 2011 #5
    If I made a C in my Physics I: mechanics class and if I don't feel like I know the material very well, should I retake it? I am an engineering major BTW...

    Or should I just try to learn it on my own? The reason I am worried about doing that is because I will be busy with my other classes so it will be hard to find the time to self-study cuz it will always take last priority...
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  7. Oct 18, 2011 #6
    I like Edin's concise advice here.
    Generally the "readers" of an application will look for anomolies in the transcript/GPA... especially looking for grade improvement in the upper-levels if grades were low in the lower-levels. In my experience as a member of a graduate selection committee, it was generally be preferable to see the lower-level courses left alone (with low marks) and to see more upper-level (even graduate) courses and electives that build on the material, with higher marks in those courses raising the GPA back to acceptable levels. Then let the committee on its own make some assumptions about the student having trouble adjusting to university life but getting back on track and having strong competency in the field at the end of the undergraduate experience (or mention this BRIEFLY in the statement of purpose).

    @ nickadams: Physics I is pretty general stuff that a lot of courses build on (forces, motion, etc.)... what point are you at in your studies? If you're just starting (i.e. in your first year), you might want to repeat.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  8. Oct 18, 2011 #7
    I am a sophomore by hours, but in terms of knowledge there is no way I can consider myself a sophomore. The problem is that I took...

    Differential Calculus
    Integral Calculus
    Multivariable Calculus
    Differential Equations
    Physics II: E&M

    ... in 4-week mini semesters at a community college instead of at my University because I was lazy and idiotic. T_T

    I did actually take physics 1 at my university, but I brought the same lazy attitude and basically only slipped by with a C because our professor let us bring an index card with formulas to the test. So I would cram enough stuff on there to pass, but I ended up with next to no level of understanding. T_T

    please help!
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