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Is it better to get a B in a course or an F and repeat?

  1. Dec 1, 2015 #1
    Odd question, but I am in a very bad situation. I will preface by saying that I am a straight A student (I have managed to make it to my junior year with my 4.0 still intact), but I have just landed in quite a terrible position. I am (or was) on track to get an A in my circuit analysis class and this is my last week of the semester. In class, we were assigned partners to work on a final project with and we each agreed to pay for half of the materials used in the project. Well, we just returned from Thanksgiving break and my partner did not buy his half of the materials and the project is due tomorrow. There is literally no way for me to get my hands on these materials (thermisters, photoresistors, capacitors, etc.) by the time class rolls around tomorrow and without having the physical project built the highest grade I can receive on this project is a 60, which would result in no way of possibly making an A in the course because of the way the project is weighted. But, as fortune has it, if I do not turn in anything tomorrow and I skip taking the final exam it will put me at a grade of 59 for the course (an F), but I will be able to retake the course next summer and replace the grade. So which option is better? Obviously the more reasonable thing to do would be to take the B, but I cannot see myself as a B student. Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2015 #2


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    Do your best and TAKE THE GRADE OF B. The only meaningful reason to earn an F is if you are not learning enough to get better than F. That would then be, actually earning and deserving an F, the only reason for repeating the course.
  4. Dec 1, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    So instead you want to be an F student? That doesn't seem logical.
  5. Dec 1, 2015 #4
    Wait, so you waited until the very last day to actually do your project? Sorry to say it, but a B is probably deserved then.
  6. Dec 1, 2015 #5


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    Consider the following:
    1. What happens if the same thing or worse happens next time? Then you get an F, a B, and waste a whole lot of time.
    2. A graduate school admission committee is unlikely to balk at a single B among a forest of As. An F however is likely to be flagged, even if the course was eventually repeated with a better grade.
    3. At best, giving up and taking an F only to come back for an A will signify someone who is more concerned about his or her GPA appearance than building a solid foundation in the subject because it can appear as if you're sacrificing the opportunity to learn something else in favour of grade improvment. As a general rule, people on admissions committees are wise to games like this.
    4. Can't you just talk to your professor and explain the situation? Perhaps you could be granted an extension with a smaller penalty.
  7. Dec 1, 2015 #6
    Through my engineering degree this situation came up a few times for various people. Most times a conversation with the prof resulted in some sort of accommodation.

    Take the B, a single B isn't going to ruin your academic record by any means, and most universities will still show an F on a transcript even if you retake the course.

    Let us know how it turns out.
  8. Dec 1, 2015 #7
    Right there's the problem. Your grades aren't your identity.

    If it's not too late, if you're truly desperate, I'm sure there are some other students who have these materials. Have you asked around? There are dozens of electronics hobbyists in my department who would be glad to loan me some components if I needed them (of course, I'm in electrical engineering).

    Did you look around for any hobby electronics shops near you that would sell the components you need? Is there anything you can have assembled by tomorrow?

    What did your partner say? Are they content with failing the project?

    What about your professor? Did you talk to your professor?

    Finally, you might just have to accept a B. If you haven't even bought the appropriate materials to do the project with only 1-2 days until its due date, you're already cutting it way too close, and could you have even guaranteed you would have gotten it all working in that time span?
  9. Dec 4, 2015 #8
    @micromass The project was assigned the day before Thanksgiving and my partner and I both agreed to pay for half of the project. Then he decided he did not care enough about the class for it to happen. Not that I owe you an explanation or anything.

    @Choppy I do understand the material very well, and it is actually a very easy class. And I did have a discussion with the professor and she actually gave me a week extension and I finished it today, so my grade is saved!

    @cpscdave I talked to the professor and all is well, and the project turned out great as well!

    @axmls I had talked to a few people, but we all did very different projects and I am sort of an over achiever and wanted to do something big. Unfortunately this meant no one else had all the parts I needed. Though finding resistors and transistors was no problem, thermistors and zener diodes got me very confused looks when I asked around.

    I was finally convinced (by all of you and fellow classmates) that the B would have been the better option, but I really want to keep a perfect GPA throughout college to prove to myself I was good enough.
  10. Dec 4, 2015 #9
    Perfect is the enemy of good.
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