What to do if you fail a midterm

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There’s one thing that’s truly horrifying for most if not all UC Berkeley students: failing an exam. It sucks, especially if you had previously thought you’d done well. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world though. There are still ways you can come out of this with a grade you’re proud of or at least an unscathed GPA. Here are some tips to get you through in case this true horror befalls you.

Extra credit

Many classes have a way for you to get a few more additional points. Take those opportunities when you can — it’s probably the easiest way to bump your grade. Just don’t pester your professors for extra credit opportunities when they haven’t offered any. That’ll just be rude.

Go to office hours

If you really want to do better in a class, your GSI or professor will have a much better idea of how to do so than some list on the internet will. They can help you with any topics you’re struggling with or just give you advice on studying and the like. Go to them asking for help, and chances are that they’ll be more than willing to lend a hand.

Pass/no pass 

If you’re truly scared about your grade, and it’s before the deadline, you can switch the class to the pass/no pass option. That means that even if you fail the class, it won’t affect your GPA. If it’s a class you need to take for your major, there’s a chance that if you fail, you can retake it and have the nonfailing grade appear on your transcript. If it’s an elective or you’re just doing it for units, you can pass/no pass. 

Talk to an adviser

If you’re looking for more advice, an academic adviser will be able to give that to you. They won’t be as versed with the specific details of the class, but they can help you with the bigger picture. They can help you if things do go wrong by figuring out your schedule for future semesters and letting you know how this incident will impact your future career, if it all. If you’re worried that this failed test will ruin your future, they’re the right people to go to for advice.

Don’t panic

This isn’t necessarily the end of the world. You’ll get through this as you did with all the other difficult things in college. It might seem pretty scary right now, but you’re in the thick of it. Just keep moving forward, and try to do the best you can in all your classes — that’s all anybody can ask of you.

Failing a midterm will never feel particularly good. If this has happened to you, hopefully things have gotten better or will be better soon. For the rest of you, good luck with all of your exams so that you’ll never need this list.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .