• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Worth taking a year off to re-read all literature and aim for higher grades?

  • #1
128
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm an undergraduate civil engineering student in my first year and I've passed all courses in my first semester with average grades except one kind of introduction course.
Now I have 2 math courses and 2 physics courses this term. What I'm thinking is that having average or barely passing these courses won't be good enough as a solid foundation for coming courses.
I'm thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to take a year off after summer, re-read all my books and do all problems in them thoroughly in my own pace and redo the tests aiming for A's.

What do you think? Waste of time, or good idea?
Obviously repeating things is never a waste of time, but maybe it won't make much of a difference?

The courses are basic, like: classical mechanics, thermodynamics, linear algebra, analysis in one and multivariable
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,107
73
I'd say that taking a year off to re-do this at 'your own pace' is a waste of time. Why not, instead, focus on the classes you have this semester, work your way through the notes and the exercises keeping up with the pace of the class. This reads like you want an excuse to slack off for a semester so you choose to take a year off. However, you can't afford to do this for every year of your degree, and your classes are only going to get harder.
 
  • #3
128
0
I'd say that taking a year off to re-do this at 'your own pace' is a waste of time. Why not, instead, focus on the classes you have this semester, work your way through the notes and the exercises keeping up with the pace of the class. This reads like you want an excuse to slack off for a semester so you choose to take a year off. However, you can't afford to do this for every year of your degree, and your classes are only going to get harder.
I guess you're right. By the way I meant after summer, meaning after this semester is over.
But for example I've never really been very good at trigonometry, and that has made some things difficult before. So I'm thinking that just getting average or worse on physics and math classes are just going to make things more difficult for me in the future since these courses make up the basics that the coming courses probably rely on.
It's like, if I don't fix these grades and get my knowledge up, then I will keep getting average throughout my 5 years here.
 
  • #4
22,097
3,281
I don't find it a particularly good idea either. What I would do, is just try to do the second year and revise everything whenever you need it. If you take a year off, then it will just be a waste of time, since a lot of things in the first year are not needed later on. And the things that are needed, they can be revised easily...

Furthermore, as cristo points out, you can't keep taking years off if you don't understand something. Not understanding something completely in the first year is normal, often understanding will come later. So it's no crime if you don't immediately grasp something...
 
  • #5
22,097
3,281
I guess you're right. By the way I meant after summer, meaning after this semester is over.
But for example I've never really been very good at trigonometry, and that has made some things difficult before. So I'm thinking that just getting average or worse on physics and math classes are just going to make things more difficult for me in the future since these courses make up the basics that the coming courses probably rely on.
It's like, if I don't fix these grades and get my knowledge up, then I will keep getting average throughout my 5 years here.
Completely agreed, you should try to get your knowledge up. But I don't think the best way of doing this is by skipping a year... Try to fix things during the summer, or put some effort in next year. It's not impossible to do that!
 
  • #6
1,086
2
Obviously repeating things is never a waste of time ...
This is not so obvious to me, to be honest :smile:
 
  • #7
AlephZero
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
6,994
291
You need to remember that you are "competing" with a group of people who can handle the material at the pace it is being taught. And you will still be competing with people with that level of abilitiy for the rest of your life, for employment.

I think taking a year off after your first year is a bad plan. Do you think the situation is going to get any easier in the later years? Most likely the pace will increase, not decrease. You can't take a year out after every year of the course. Apart from that, the idea that you can self-study effectively for a whole year is probably idealistic.

It's impossible to know whether your problem is that you are not working effectively (which is not the same as "not working hard enough" or "not doing spending enough time working"), or you are just aiming for something you can't quite achieve.

But the positive message to take home from this is that, you know you have a problem part way through the first year, so you have plenty of time to get some professional advice on how to fix it. Find out what resources your univ. has to help people like you, and don't be shy about using them.
 
  • #8
141
0
Nope, to be frank..
Taking a year off will not do you any good..
Low grades will most likely due to not enough effort..

Try to ask for more help in your course of study(friends, teachers)
And actually spend more time on the subject...

I think it's OK, you just did your first semester.
It may not indicate your performance later.

No offense btw..
 
  • #9
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,914
1,077
you might be the counterexample, but there was a study at harvard that showed that students who took a year off to study actually did less well than those who stayed in school, even with all the distrACTIONS AND EXTRA work load. I.e. the stimulation of school is better than individual study, for many.
 

Related Threads on Worth taking a year off to re-read all literature and aim for higher grades?

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
4K
Replies
3
Views
566
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
3K
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
23
Views
4K
Top