Low Marks in Cal I-III

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Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:34 pm

Low Marks in Cal I-III

Post by Ricoma1234 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:05 pm

Hello everyone,

I am an incoming sophomore and I have just received my final grade for Calculus 3 and I have to say I am not too happy. I received a B+ despite getting an A+ (97%) on the final. The reason I got a B+ was because I wasn't ready for the mid-term and got low marks on it. I also received a B+ in Calc 1 and 2; my question is, even though I feel I fully understand the material and the grade does not reflect my knowledge on the subject (in the scope of my class), will these B+'s raise red flags when it comes to applying for Physics Graduate programs in the future? My overall GPA sits at around a 3.7 and I have received A's in all my Physics courses thus far (Intro to Mechanics and E & M) and have a year of research under my belt. Perhaps I am freaking out over this too much, but any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:06 am

Re: Low Marks in Cal I-III

Post by HubbleBubble » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:59 pm

If you maintain a 3.7 with all A's in physics courses you will be competitive at most schools, with research results (e.g. posters, presentations, and papers) being the deciding factor in admissions. So don't freak out over it at all. That said, the math courses that really matter for physics/astronomy are multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, so a B+ isn't ideal (again, not the end of the world). I suggest you continue taking math courses and prove your ability. Even if a B+ in multivariable calculus slightly hurts your application, the effect will be negligible given A's in linear algebra and differential equations. You might even be considered superior to someone with A's in those 3 if you take advance math courses like complex analysis or differential geometry and score A's.

Also remember that a PhD is a research program - departments are paying you to make discoveries. Admissions want to see high grades in hard courses so they know you can handle their program, but really what they are looking for is undergraduates who love researching the universe and have spread new ideas in the scientific community through conferences and in journals.

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