SRS Going insane. I'm failing a class for the fourth time.

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by lugoismad, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I've tried to take Calculus Based Physics 4 times in the last 2 years, and I always fail. I never even get past the first course, and its a three course sequence.

    Its a horrible professor. He explains nothing, you just show up to class and he puts everyone in groups and makes you work on a practice problem. He will not awnser questions, but instead directs you to look at everyone elses work and see if you can't figure it out from that. NO ONE does well in this class at all.

    He only takes 3 grades all quarter, he gives 3 tests. Each test only has 5 problems. And they are always trick problems too. I've shown them to my other engineering professors and they always agree that the tests are impossibly hard with the way he teaches.

    I went to the dean about it last quarter, and the Dean blew me off and lied to my face. He said that the course had the same grades whether that professor had taught it or not and that it was just a hard course. WRONG. Only that professor has taught that class for the last 20 years, since the university became a fucking university. I can't believe I was outright lied to like that.

    Only this one professor teaches it, no one else. And now, in the 4th time I've taken it, I'm failing. Again. I got a 50 on the first test and I actually thought I knew what I was doing. We have another test on friday and I can not figure any of this stuff out. And its next to impossible to motivate myself to study when I know I'm just going to fail anyways.

    I spoke to my advisor about it. He told me that alot of people have the same problem. The only possible solution is for me to take the same course at another university. The closest place to take it is 30 miles away. And I have to pay out of pocket, my student loans won't cover it at another college.

    I'm scared out of my mind, because I'll be a senior next year, and if I fuck it up again, I can't graduate. I've been told taking it at this other college is alot easier, but who knows. What if its just as hard there? What if my car breaks down and I can't get to class (my car tends to be unreliable), and how am I supposed to afford the $700 or so a quarter to take it at this other college?

    The only way I can afford to pay for it is if I take out extra student loans here, and get an overage, and use that to pay for there.

    I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. Its way too late in the game for me to change majors, every other class I do great in. I have a 3.2 GPA (it used to be a 3.5, but failing this has dropped me 0.3 points). I have absolutely no problems with any other class. I did great in highschool physics, and I passed Calc 2 with a B.

    No one tutors for this class because everyone hates it and wants to forget about it ASAP.

    I'm afraid I'm going to fail out of college because of one fucking professor and one fucking course.
     
  2. BradUF

    BradUF Guest

    Damn, you should have done something be for failing it 3 times though. I don't know why you took the same professor 3 times to begin with. You should have just held off on that class and take it online or transfer to another college for that one class if you had too.
     
  3. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    Wow, so I don't think you read what I wrote at all, did you?

    Only one professor teaches that class.

    University of Phoenix does not offer it.

    I can't transfer to another college because only my college has the degree that I am in. My only choice is to take it another college, but then I have to somehow come up with about $1500 to pay for 2 4 hour semesters.


    Edit: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like a dick. I'm just a little stressed out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  4. johan

    johan Active Member

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    If you know the material, then you know the material and even a horrible professor can't fail you if you actually score well on the tests.

    So, having gone through the class four times, do you actually know the material?
    You've had way more exposure to this material than most people.

    And I can guess you're going to reply that the tests are very tricky and meant to deceive.
    That may be, but they still have to actually cover the basic material, and if you know the material, you won't be tricked.

    Meaning that a Calc 301 test (for example), can only cover Calc 301 material, and higher course material won't show up. If it does, just grab that paper and walk over to the Dean's office, and that's that, your case of unfairness has just been made for you.


    And lastly, if the tests are out and out unfair and completely biased, then take that to your academic advisor.
    If you have a student ombudsman office, then go there too.

    Of course if the tests were that blatantly unfair and he's out to intentionally cheat you, then the fail rate would be something near 100% wouldn't it?

    So we're back to....do you know the basic material?
     
  5. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I guess I should clarify. I've taken Phys211 twice and Phys212 twice. You can take any course in the sequence at any time. So for the last 2 years, I've failed the first and then the second (I'm failing the second for the second time now).

    I understand the general material. However as I said, he grades exceedingly hard. On the first test this quarter, the highest grade in the class was a 70, and 7 of 10 people failed it.

    He grades on a points system, and takes points off of problems for stuff you do wrong. I've seen him take off more points on a problem than what that problem was worth. (ex. taking 30 points off a 20 point problem). He doesn't so much as grade you on what you know, but on doing things HIS way. I've gotten 4 or 5 problems on a test correct, only to get a 55 on it because I didn't draw the diagram perfectly, and my x wasn't below the line it was next to it, or I did something a way I shouldn't have. My feelings are, if I got the problem correct, I got it correct. I can understand taking points off for not including information that was asked for, but he takes off points for total bullshit reasons.

    He has tenure, and even though every professor I've talked agress its a horrible class and professor, he's still here.

    I'll give you an example of his trickyness. Last test there was a problem with a binomial. We were working with kinetic and potential energy, and the problem asked to find at what points in the equation where the energy was 0. None of us had ever seen a similar problem, he had never shown and example like that or anything like that. I asked him "would you use the quadratic equation to solve this?" and he turns around and writes the quadratic equation on the board for everyone. BUT NO. When we got the tests back and went over it, thats not how you solved it. You solved for x and then did some calculus on it. All he would have had to do was say "no, you do not solve it like that" and I probably would have figured it out.

    As it goes on in the quarter, I understand less and less stuff. Right now I'm very confused. The only way to get help is to go to his office, but he still does not awnser questions, he will only help you with a problem, and by help, I mean give you one step, and tell you to go work on it and come back for the next step. And if you come back too soon, he tells you you aren't trying. All I need to see are some example problems worked through so I can understand this shit, and I would be fine.
     
  6. LiqwudIce

    LiqwudIce New Member

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    How about taking it at a community college? It should be cheaper that way than at another university. Or getting a tutor that will try to explain the stuff. I know how difficult physics can be especially when you get a hardheaded professor like that.
     
  7. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    The college I am taking it at is the only one within about a 30 mile radius. The only other college I can take it at in the area is another state college. There aren't any community colleges around here.

    And there are no tutors. I ask for one every quarter, and no one will tutor for it because its such a redicoulasly hard class.
     
  8. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    My next test is on friday. Basically I've decided I'm going to bust my ass and study atleast 2 or 3 hours a day for this class until then. If I pass the test with a decent grade, I'll stay in, and try to tough things out.

    Otherwise, I'll drop, and take it at the college thats 30 miles away next year. I'll just have to take out a crazy amount of student loans to pay for full time at my college, plus some living expenses, PLUS paying for another college part time.

    Damn my shitty parents and their lack of money. I may also think about asking my super rich uncle for a loan to pay for the extra part time college expense until I graduate and get on my feet. Last time we talked, he told me if I ever needed anything to go to him, but I hate using up favors like that.
     
  9. unorthadox

    unorthadox New Member

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    another excuse
    Study hard, and use this situation as a challenge. Nothing in life will be given to you, and although I agree with you that this prof seems fucked out of his mind, take it for what it is.

    Don't study alone either. Try to get together with other classmates, it can help alot.

    All the best man!
     
  10. krott5333

    krott5333 Guest

    take it at the other college. do what you have to do.
     
  11. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    Do you get together with other students in your class? If what you say is true then they're ALL having the same problem as you. Make plans to get together and study. Bring your past exams and notes and homework/classwork and do them over and over. Take control of your situation, don't let him just fuck you again.

    If that's what it takes to graduate, that's what it takes.

    Graduating is worth "using up" a serious favor. What's the alternative? Don't ask, fail, don't graduate, take the course again, fail, don't graduate, don't ask again, fail, don't graduate.................... where is something going to change?
     
  12. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Physics is hard. There is no easy way and there is no substitute for time in the material. You simply must put the time in or you won't do well in the class at all.

    I know what you are going through, my very first physics class ever was with one of the worst professors ever. He just assumed we knew how to do physics but I hadn't had any phy ever so I was screwed. I constantly asked questions in class and forced him to explain shit. He didn't like it but fuck him, I'm paying his salary so I'll ask all the questions I need to in order to understand the material....always in a respectful way tho.

    To let you know, I'd devote about 4-5 hours a day on his class and it truly sucked balls. I was never soo happy to get out of a class in all my life. I did learn some things but I didn't like it much. To this day, the thought of that class is a sad spot in my Uni career.

    Physics is hard enough, no reason to make it more difficult by having shitty profs. But it seems very common....many phy prof suck at teaching. They have simply forgotten how difficult this material can be.....if they ever knew.
    Huh? So having to take a class that's 30 miles away will cause all this?
    Asking for help to pay for college has it's own drawbacks. If you are lazy and have to repeat classes, these loved ones don't take too kindly to that....well at least mine didn't (way back in my first degree).
     
  13. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I've tried to get together with other students before, but none of them ever want to. Or they say they will, and then never show.

    Taking the class 30 miles away puts a big financial burden on me because my student loans and grants will not cover it. I have to take out a surplus of loans on my home college, to get a student loan overage check, to use to pay the other college with. Its a horrible mess, when the colleges really should just work together and say "Hey, he's taking 3 classes here and one there, here's a quarter of the money we're getting from him"

    As it stands, I generally read the reading assignments. He also assigns homework, and I always try to tackle that on the weekends. Sometimes I'm not too successful at it. The problem is, he never goes over the homework and explains it, he just passes out solutions. When you go to him for help, he refers you to the solution.

    This morning I put in about an hour of study time doing the last 2 and a half homework assignments. I'm going to catch myself back up on the homework, and take it to him every day for explanations.

    I'm going to put in another 2 or so hours this afternoon studying, but my time is limited because I have a midterm this evening and one at 8am tommorow morning I totally forgot about and have to study for.

    Edit: And I wasn't saying my parents cut off money because of failing the class. They just have no damn money to begin with. My mom is a single parent and my dad is a crackhead.
     
  14. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    I hear ya, but if 2 hours a day isn't getting you the grades you want, you need to spend more time on your studies. There really is no easy way to understand physics. I had to work my fucking ass off to pass these classes. They are HARD.

    Don't just read the reading assgnments, look at the examples....they can be awesome teaching guides. Just read enough of the examples to get the problem in your mind....then work the problem....if you get stuck, then look at just enough of the solution to get unstuck...then go back to working the problem. Don't just give up and say I don't know how to work it so I'm moving on. NO....force yourself to stay with difficult problems until you understand them...or at least much more about them.

    Examples are one of the best ways to learn because they usually have very detailed explanations on how to solve problems. However, most ppl are lazy and don't work the examples....they simply read them then say, "Yep, that makes sense. Next". THat won't help you!!!!

    You need to develop your own problem solving skills. You may think you know how to solve a particular problem but you should force yourself to work every single example. It will sharpen and hone your skills.

    The part about being lazy was a reference to asking your uncle for money...not your parents. But anyways, if you need money to finish, then yeah, ask for help.....it would just be better in the long run if you don't have to. That's my opinion anyways...others may disagree.
     
  15. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I totally understand where your coming from, and I don't want to wimp out and take it at another college so that it would be easier. However, I'll know by friday if I have a choice on that matter or not.
     
  16. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Well good luck. If you need help be sure to post your questions in the tutoring section...there are some very helpful people there.
     
  17. BradUF

    BradUF Guest

    Taking it 30 miles away costs more then failing it again...
     
  18. Falconer

    Falconer OT Supporter

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    Can you talk to the professor about it? Maybe if he sees you are serious about it he might be a little more lenient with your tests since he seems like the asshole type. I was failing the crap out of a class, I went and talked to the teacher about dropping it and retaking it the next semester when my course load was lighter, and he told me to "stick with it" and I ended up getting a B.

    I've had teachers like that before. I arrived at the correct solution but I didn't do it their way so I lost points. It's lame. The dean sounds like a dick, too. I'd go over his head with evidence, but make sure you have evidence to back up your point or you will lose all credibility forever at that university. Challenging authority is difficult but it can be done.

    If I had been dicked over repeatedly, and I don't mean I'm having a bad day, or I personally don't like a teacher, or some other meaningless high school shit, but I mean if the logical facts supported my cause, I would go out of my way to destroy the reputation of the course, the professor, the dean, whoever, in a professional (AND LEGAL) way. Remember that you have to have absolute, irrefutable evidence that you are correct. Not your opinion, not you "think" you are correct, not "everyone in the class agrees with me," but solid, concrete, logical proof. Again, for all the psychos reading this, I don't mean slash his tires or accuse him or rape or something. But bring it to the attention of the public what goes on in his class. You have free domain, the internet, radio, print, newspapers, etc. to get your point across. There is nothing wrong with speaking the truth. aolsucks.com wasn't created cuz some guy wanted to bitch about aol. It was supported with facts and proof about WHY aol sucks (I think that site's been taken down). I've seen this done before (against a racist teacher) and it was messy, but beautiful.

    Anyway, I don't mean to send you on a revenge streak. In fact, I'd talk to the professor and explain to him the problems you're having. But personally, it sounds like his hand is in the dean's pants and, what kind of dick takes off 30 points on a 20 point question? You lose more points for trying than you would have for skipping it? Please.

    Has anyone ever passed this class? Can you talk to them? Can you get tips? Notes? Old assignments? Copies of tests? I'm not suggesting cheating and you WILL be thrown out of university if you get caught and have your official record tarnished, but yeah. Seeing old tests (he probably changes them, anyway) will give you an insight into his style of giving tests. In college this is called "cheating." In sports it's called "watching recordings of your opponents' old games." In business it's called "studying your competitors' strategies" and sometimes "reverse engineering."

    I don't know. But I sympathize with you. Sometimes you just get one dick teacher and no matter what you do it's not right.

    And we're just getting one side of the story. It's possible YOU'RE the dick and your teacher keeps failing you because you don't understand it. Don't get pissed. I'm obligated to point out a possible other side of the story for the sake of completeness (like in case your prof is also an OTer).
     
  19. BradUF

    BradUF Guest

    Yeah if he is that bad and the only professor for the subject then I am sure there are other students on there 3rd retake also.
     
  20. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    :confused:

    If the professor sucks, take it somewhere else. If there was another professor at your college who taught it would you be signing up for his class? Sure you would. Would you consider it "wimping out"? I doubt it.

    Do what you have to do to get done.


    You meant "less" right?
     
  21. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I really appreciate the advice you guys have given.

    Everyone has the same problem as me. The smartest guy in the class has a 70% right now. And the most intelligent person that I know, the one I go to for help with this stuff when he can spare the time, passed with a D-.

    Talking to him won't help, because he's one of those "I grade fair. Look, see, only put your student ID number on the test, that way I won't recognize your name and take all my hatred for the world out on you"

    I spoke to another faculty member in the physics department (our resident astronomer). He said he would tutor me if I came by his office. Which is great, because this dude is brilliant. He's worked for nasa and all kinds off stuff. I'm burnt today, I just got out of a midterm and I have another at 8am, but I'm going to study my ass off tommorow for a few hours and then go by his office.


    I think one of my major problems is that calculus doesn't come up too much on the homework and practice problems. Then, on the test, almost every problem has calculus in it and I'm screwed because I'm not used to thinking that way.

    Today I got up and studied for about 2 hours, catching myself back up on the homework (I had a very busy last few days) and reading. Then I went to him after class and made him help me figure out where I was wrong. I was really happy with myself because it had worked out that I was right besides some stupid arithimatic mistakes because i was using an unfamiliar calculator.

    Wednesday I have no class besides this one, and I plan on spending atleast 4 or so hours doing nothing but practice problems.
     
  22. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    Atleast half the people take it twice.

    I'm on my 2nd retake of the 2nd quarter of the class now. Like I said, you can take any quarter in any sequence.

    I know several others who have had to take it thrice.

    I mentioned to some people I'm going to take it at the other college next year, and about 3 people are interested in carpooling if I do it.
     
  23. BradUF

    BradUF Guest

    If the problem is that big then something needs to be. I know at my college if professors get high fail rates they can get fired.
     
  24. lugoismad

    lugoismad Active Member

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    I wish it was that way here. Like I said, when I went to the dean about the problem, I was outright lied to.
     
  25. Abit

    Abit This isn't a morality contest

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    Well if the class is truly that hard I suggest you write a formal letter to the dean, department heads, any comities, etc and have all your class mates and former students sign it.

    Keep a cool head, explain your situation, and work out a solution. You won't get anywhere if you are all bent out of shape.

    I'm sure there are tutors in the physics department that have passes his class
     

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