Is it Worth Retaking a "C" in Differential Equations?

  • #1
I got a C last semester in elementary differential equations. It was an online class using ProctorU and I always had technical difficulties, so while my homework category was a 95% my test category was around a 60%. I am a spring-semester sophomore right now and my GPA is 3.611. If I retake and get an A in the class my GPA will be 3.70. Is there any point in retaking the class to boost my GPA? Will grad school reviewers see this as a weakness over leaving it as a C? I have hopes to get into a top grad program once I clean up my act and raise my GPA to around a 3.8 through hard work and good study skills. I have A's and B's in the rest of my classes; this is my only C. I already have 7 400-level classes as well and a 500-level grad. class. I also have very strong research experience.

This is my first post on this forum and I would appreciate any advice since at this time I am trying to work out my schedule for the spring semester.

Thank you.
- Vince
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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My recommendation is to retake the class. If your major requires proficiency in mathematics, a grade of C won't be helpful, regardless of the reason for it.
 
  • #3
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The key point is that you should have an A understanding in the subject in order to proceed to higher degrees. How you get that might mean self-study (Khan Academy?), or retaking the course.

I think if this were the only problem grad schools would overlook it especially if you did well on courses that depended on DE.

If you do decide to retake it then I suggest self-study and go over where you fell down and why. It could be one key concept is tripping you up or you are making mistakes in your checks and going back and fixing things that aren't broken. It could be that your knowledge of Calculus is weaker than you thought or your memory is poor or tests paralyze you.

Only you can find what was causing you to do poorly by looking at it objectively and fixing it.

The one trap of retaking a course is that you might spend too much time on stuff you know and not enough on the things you need to learn. Conversely, you might spend too little time on stuff you think you know and thus not having the basis to learn the stuff that you need to learn. In short, treading the same path you took earlier.
 
  • #4
ZapperZ
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I got a C last semester in elementary differential equations. It was an online class using ProctorU and I always had technical difficulties, so while my homework category was a 95% my test category was around a 60%. I am a spring-semester sophomore right now and my GPA is 3.611. If I retake and get an A in the class my GPA will be 3.70. Is there any point in retaking the class to boost my GPA? Will grad school reviewers see this as a weakness over leaving it as a C? I have hopes to get into a top grad program once I clean up my act and raise my GPA to around a 3.8 through hard work and good study skills. I have A's and B's in the rest of my classes; this is my only C. I already have 7 400-level classes as well and a 500-level grad. class. I also have very strong research experience.

This is my first post on this forum and I would appreciate any advice since at this time I am trying to work out my schedule for the spring semester.

Thank you.
- Vince
You seem to have missed the point of such exams, and going to school in general. It isn't about getting an "A" or a "B" or a "C". It is about making sure you understand the material so that you will be able to use it!

Getting a "C", while it is a pass, is often a sign that you have not understood the material, regardless of how well you do in the homework. I know. I've seen many of my students did well in their online homework, and they crash when they sit for an in-class exam, even when I purposely include one or two problems that were either identical, or similar to their homework problems that they had solved, often "successfully".

So ask yourself whether you have actually understood the material. If not, take it again. Differential equations are so important in many aspects that a shaky foundation in it is seldom a good situation.

Zz.
 
  • #5
Stephen Tashi
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It was an online class using ProctorU and I always had technical difficulties,
Are talking about computer glitches? - or about difficulty in comprehending technicalities of the subject matter?

If you decide to retake the course, is there some deadline by which you must do it? Must you retake it from ProctorU? Perhaps you will be mathematically much wiser as a senior. On the other hand, some courses you take next semester may use DE heavily. You have to weigh those two possibilities.
 
  • #6
You seem to have missed the point of such exams, and going to school in general. It isn't about getting an "A" or a "B" or a "C". It is about making sure you understand the material so that you will be able to use it!

Getting a "C", while it is a pass, is often a sign that you have not understood the material, regardless of how well you do in the homework. I know. I've seen many of my students did well in their online homework, and they crash when they sit for an in-class exam, even when I purposely include one or two problems that were either identical, or similar to their homework problems that they had solved, often "successfully".

So ask yourself whether you have actually understood the material. If not, take it again. Differential equations are so important in many aspects that a shaky foundation in it is seldom a good situation.

Zz.
Yes, I understood the material and have no problem with them in other classes. The reasons I failed on the exams were due to technical glitches. That is why I am asking whether it will hurt me on applications to take it again. I would be taking it to raise my GPA to make me appear more competitive at top grad schools, but this may not be the right idea and I'm not sure if grad schools see right through that strategy or not.
 
  • #7
Are talking about computer glitches? - or about difficulty in comprehending technicalities of the subject matter?

If you decide to retake the course, is there some deadline by which you must do it? Must you retake it from ProctorU? Perhaps you will be mathematically much wiser as a senior. On the other hand, some courses you take next semester may use DE heavily. You have to weigh those two possibilities.
I would retake the course, but not online, so there wouldn't be any ProctorU issues. All of the issues were related to glitches with my computer, drawing tablet, and ProctorU. I understand the concepts of the class.
 
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  • #8
ZapperZ
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Yes, I understood the material and have no problem with them in other classes. The reasons I failed on the exams were due to technical glitches. That is why I am asking whether it will hurt me on applications to take it again. I would be taking it to raise my GPA to make me appear more competitive at top grad schools, but this may not be the right idea and I'm not sure if grad schools see right through that strategy or not.
Do you not have an academic advisor to ask about this? Or even the course instructor?

Zz.
 
  • #9
Do you not have an academic advisor to ask about this? Or even the course instructor?

Zz.
I have scheduled a meeting with him but wanted others' opinions.
 
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  • #10
vela
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All of the issues were related to glitches with my computer, drawing tablet, and ProctorU. I understand the concepts of the class.
Just curious, why didn't you deal with these problems during the semester?

As far as your plan to retake the course, is it allowed by the school? At the schools I've attended, you could only retake a course if you received a grade of C- or worse.
 
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