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Terrible Start to my first semester

Tygolfs94Tygolfs94 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
edited November 2012 in Engineering Majors
I'm a freshman engineering major at Texas A&M university. I'm only taking 14 hours this semester (accepted some AP credits), and I just finished my first round of tests.
I got two B's, one D, one F, and I'm still waiting on my last grade to come back.

On the D and F, I actually felt really confident leaving the exams that I got at least a B. My heart dropped as soon as I saw my grades. These are in my two 4 credit hour classes, so they weigh heavily on my GPA (and they're big parts of my major). I felt that I knew the material, and on the homeworks and quizzes up to that point I had done fairly well. I studied hours and hours, and thought I knew the material, but apparently I didn't.

Now I'm freaking out. Everyone told me to get my college career off to a good start, and I pretty much ruined that right off the bat. In high school, I had a 3.6 GPA in all AP classes. I understood coming in that college is harder, but these grades are unacceptable. My parents are going to kill me, I feel terribly, and I'm doubting my ability to succeed in my current major.

Has anybody else experienced this before?
Post edited by Tygolfs94 on

Replies to: Terrible Start to my first semester

  • clandryclandry . Posts: 128 Junior Member
    Well, they're freshman classes, probably of little value.
    Some colleges try to weed students out of engineering, so that could have been the cases with those classes.
    You're worrying because your parents are going to kill you? You're 18+, you can think for yourself.
  • BarflyBarfly Registered User Posts: 1,456 Senior Member
    Tygolfs, I sent you a private message!
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Registered User Posts: 7,101 Senior Member
    Many people struggle at first. More people start with bad grades and finish with good grades than the other way around, so don't freak out too much yet. After all, by the time you are done, you will have some 120+ credit hours, so a bad grade on 8 of them isn't going to be too big a killer, especially earlier in your studies.

    The most important thing now is to figure out the topics that caused you trouble and why your method of studying didn't help prepare you better. The biggest thing for me when I first started was just learning how to study effectively, and I still struggled with that sometimes even later on. It sounds to me like this is just what you need to figure out.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 3,876 Senior Member
    I remember thinking I killed a Chem test, only to find that I eeked a C. Worse yet, I remember seeing the range in an Organic test, 3-89, and worried that I might have had a 3! Yes, out of 100 possible. The class did so poorly that my 36 was a solid C.

    In high school sheer talent or just brute force can get you by, often with very satisfactory results. Usually not so in college. You need a little of both, but mostly you need to be more organized and more efficient.

    I can't recommend highly enough Cal Newport's book "How to Become a Straight-A Student." It is a quick, entertaining read, that is based on a survey of the study habits of many Phi Beta Kappa inductees, including himself. It is all about time and material organization and efficiency. I've not read anything that's even close in outlining real world, practical solutions.

    Good luck and hang in there. You're not the first and certainly won't be the last to experience that shock. It's all about what you do from here on.

  • Tygolfs94Tygolfs94 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Not worried so much about my parents killing me, but since they are paying a decent portion of my tuition, if I don't do well I'm worried about them not being happy with grades, and stopping
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 3,876 Senior Member
    As long as they sense that you are trying your best and doing something to stem the tide, I doubt they'll go nuclear. If you were screwing around, don't. Ya just got spanked. If you weren't, it's time to can your current system (if you even have one, most don't) and get a new one.
  • HPuck35HPuck35 Registered User Posts: 1,630 Senior Member
    Not only is the subject material harder in college but most of your peers are at about your same level. Makes getting good grades even tougher.

    As mentioned previously, you probably need to learn to study effectively. That also means not just learning to do the problems by rote but the fundamentals behind the problems. To me, walking out of the test thinking you did "B" work means you really didn't know it as well as you should have (otherwise you'd be thinking you got a "A").

    You should also join or form a study group for each class. That way you can test each other. It will help to insure that you really know the material.

    You do still have time to bring your grades up. So, good luck for the rest of the term.
  • spectrum2spectrum2 Registered User Posts: 1,291 Senior Member
    Tygolf, my S is also a TAMU freshman. I don't know what classes you had problem with but if it is a class they tutor you might consider getting a season's pass for A+ tutoring before your next round of tests. All things considered the price is very reasonable. I have heard good things about it.
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Registered User Posts: 8,393 Senior Member
    Are you sure they are really D and F? If you are just looking at numeric grades, you may get "saved by the curve".
  • BCDragonBCDragon Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Exactly what colorado_mom said. A number grade by itself means nothing unless you're comparing it to the mean; if it's higher than the mean or median, that means you did better than half the class. And depending on where the mean or median is, a 20/100 could be the equivalent of a 80.
  • Tygolfs94Tygolfs94 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    It's a D and F after any curving
  • nugraddadnugraddad Registered User Posts: 1,247 Senior Member
    My D reported the same - and so did her classmates - some schools / teachers/programs purposely grade toughest early on to make sure they have your attention...

    And it's always easier to lighten up in the future, rather than the reverse.

    I personally do NOT like game playing like this, but I can understand the reasoning.

    I think you'll do fine - based on your post. You obsiously care - and that's a big step in the right direction. But nothing wrong with a little quality Prof Meeting Time - just to make sure,. :)
  • EarthPigEarthPig . Posts: 94 Junior Member
    I just sent you a private message.
  • mom6350mom6350 Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    I would suggest that you get back the exams and go over them carefully against the answer keys to make sure there wasn't a grading error. If you don't understand why points were taken off, go to your prof's office hours and ask him or her to walk you through anything you don't understand.

    Then, find out if your school offers tutoring or extra help sessions for the courses you're enrolled in. Also, see if there are old tests available. The A Phi O office at my son's school has files of old tests that you can look at and photocopy to use for practice before the real exam.

    Make a note of your prof's and TA's office hours, and go to them every week if you need extra help or clarification. Make sure you do any assigned homework, even if it's not collected and graded.

    My son regularly uses prof's & TA's office hours, and he's amazed by how few students usually show up. Your tuition is paying for their salaries, so use their services if you need them.

    All is not lost after just the first exam(s), but you probably need to come up with a new approach for reviewing the material and studying for the exams. Best wishes.
  • SinkOrSwim123SinkOrSwim123 Registered User Posts: 235 Junior Member
    it's just one exam, in one class, in one semester, and it won't matter in the grand scheme of things. I just got my midterms back, and some weren't so great, but I have to just push through it and work harder, develop a better study / homework habit / technique. Also, I want to go to office hours more, especially to find out what I did wrong on my exams. Everyone's going to have some failures, but you just have to learn from it and not let it hold you back. If you learn from it and improve, then it's not really a failure. Wish you the best of luck, and I need to step it up too haha. I was also worried about failing out and wasting all the money spent on college, but by now there's nothing we can do except push through it, and see how it ends up.
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