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How to rebound from mediocre grades?
November 7, 2011 10:07 AM   Subscribe

How to rebound from two almost failed midterms?

I am about to finalize my year at a very tough part-time MBA. For the most part I had been doing well in all of my tests (scoring low 90s or high 80s), but something happened to me this semester and I almost failed two of my midterms (in one I had a 65 out of a 100, in the other I had 13 out of 25). I believe that with hard work I can pull out B's in both classes but sigh...sometimes I am not so sure. GPA is really important for me more so in this economy (and because I really dislike my job and want to change industries). These are the relevant points:

1) While I haven't been studying as much as I want, I spent the week before the exams trying to catch up and due to the amount of hours I put in I really thought at least a B was in order.

2) I was a philosophy major in undergrad now dealing with quantitative aspects of Finance and Econ, I am a bit out of my element but I really enjoy the courses. I felt that I had a grasp of the basic concepts and yet still had low grades.

3) Because I really hate my job, this semester I have been concentrating in recruiting and networking much more so than in prior ones, I also have only been sleeping an average of 4 hours.

4) I had office hours with one of the professors before the test...and he had a very dismissive attitude in regards to me asking very basic questions. Now I fear I have to go and talk to him after my performance on the test....is this even worthy? Or should I just focus on getting better on my own?

All in all I am taking steps to remediate the situation, which include sleeping more and making sure to be on top of all the coursework each week...nevertheless because it was such a surprise to get low scores in the first place my confidence is wavering....Have you guys ever been in a similar situation? Could you provide me with some of the concrete steps you took to get back in track?
posted by The1andonly to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Spending more time studying is obvious. Perhaps you could hire a tutor (probably an econ or finance PhD student) to go over homeworks with you and tell you where you're going wrong. Perhaps you could join a study group with some of your classmates; the value to trying to explain concepts to others is very high.

Re: 4), I'm sure he'll be happy to talk to you, but I doubt you'll get an answer beyond "work more and make sure you do lots of practice problems."
posted by deadweightloss at 10:13 AM on November 7, 2011


Instructors often have an understandable distaste for students who come in expecting a personal one hour lecture working up from a basic concept at the core of the class or without a clear idea of what they want. Don't use office hours as a starting point, but for parts where you get stuck and can form complex and intelligent questions that the professor can answer easily. This will provide study focus for you, save your instructor time, and give them good reason to respect your effort.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:29 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I haven't been studying as much as I want, I spent the week before the exams trying to catch up and due to the amount of hours I put in I really thought at least a B was in order.

Maybe your problem isn't how much you are studying, rather the methods use are using? I failed a chemistry midterm in my second year, and found these articles useful for dealing with the immediate "what do I do now" feeling?. I followed the ideas outlined in the articles, and ended up passing chemistry with a C+ in the end (I did a happy dance across my kitchen...chemistry and I don't get along very well)

The Study Hacks blog has been really helpful for me and revising how I think about and choose to study. Maybe check it out some of his older stuff and see if it would work for you? Alot of the newer material is career orientated (very interesting!), but the practical stuff was published earlier. Check this article out for a good start.
posted by snowysoul at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


Snowy, thank you, you hit it right on the nail with those links....I fear that more that I don't know how to study rather than me not putting in the time.
posted by The1andonly at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2011


I also have only been sleeping an average of 4 hours.

Maybe you're a very different person than me and everyone I know, or maybe you just have access to the good drugs, but working full time+finishing a degree (MBA?)+4 hours of sleep a night is a recipe for disaster. Stop doing this.

Presumably you're going to school so you can get a better job. School should be your number 1 priority right now. If you have to stop your extra networking in order to get a decent night's sleep, then do it.

Worry about networking stuff after you get your degree. A few extra months in a crappy job is much, much better than doing crappy in school because you're over-extending yourself.
posted by auto-correct at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you are studying a new area, is it possible you started in too difficult of a course or missed an intro level? If it was basic stuff you were asking the prof about, my first thought is that he expects you to know that stuff from a previous class.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:05 AM on November 7, 2011


You've gotten some great advice above which I won't repeat (more sleep, study group/tutor, revising study methods), but will emphasize as someone who has taught on a university level - Some professors simply aren't nice/have a bad day/aren't people-persons, but it is their job to assist you with mastering the material. By the same token, it is your job to come to see him with focus and intent to do so. Were your basic questions things that had been covered prior, per him or per the course pre-reqs? You should go back to him with test in hand, for sure, but if he is still not helpful you should perhaps consult your advisor.
posted by sm1tten at 4:46 PM on November 7, 2011


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