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Grad School GPA Maintenance Requirement

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I'm a "mature student" and have been out of the higher ed. environment for a while. I've recently begun a grad school program at an ivy league and been told that I must maintain a 3.0 GPA in each class to continue with my program or have to repeat the course, or eventually be deregistered. At orientation the dean explained that a 3.0 is just that and a 2.99 wouldn't be rounded up. (Is there really a difference in knowledge /competence at the 0.01 level?) 

Most courses are made of two MCQ quizzes, a term paper and a final. The papers are graded according to a "strict rubric" (supposedly to "avoid grade inflation", the school also does not allow student evaluations for the same reason). 

Looking at the course in full, the safest way is to aim for a 4.0 in each assessment just so that if I have a bad day in one particular assessment I don't fall below 3.0 for the course. 

I think it's much easier to score below a 4 in mcqs than the term papers because papers allow for a degree of subjectivity. 

Take for example a mcq of 20 questions with 17 correct responses, which given that distractors are so often close to the key (often by a word or two), can easily happen, would immediately make the course "risky". A 2.9 on a MCQ and then a bad day on the final (and this could also easily happen to a mature student who has significant responsibilities outside the classroom) and a student could easily find themselves flunking a course.

This is leading to a high degree of anxiety before an assessment because I know the entire course could be jeopardised in 40 minutes. And this anxiety no doubts affect my performance. 

Do you have any exam preparation suggestions for me? 


Edited by Teddy Bear
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