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What were your class averages for exams/grades in science/math classes?


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I am slowly trying to accept the fact that PA school may be out of reach for me. I'm a traditional college student (sophomore) and I already have plenty of HCE hours and quite few prerequisites done for PA schools. But my GPA is going down with each semester. I work hard, study, get help when I need and I still can't break those B's in science classes. My major and science GPA is 3.0. It's painful to even write this.

When I read about people who have 3.8 or 4.0 GPA (especially in science), I wonder how they achieved those grades. I know hard work is number one reason, but I work hard too. Now, I'm starting to think that maybe I chose the wrong school. I go to a large, public university (very heavy on research). In each of my science/math classes there are anywhere from 100-400 people. It's not a bad school (one of the better ones in my state), but getting an A seems impossible to earn.

Here are some exam averages in percentages for science classes at my school:

- General Chemistry: 50's

- Organic Chemistry: 30's

- Physics: 20's to 40's

- Calculus: 40's

- General Biology: 60's to 70's

- Advanced Bio classes: 40's to low 70's

Obviously, professors curve them or everyone would fail.

These are not stupid people. You would not believe how competitive some students are. And keep in mind that majority of people who take these classes are either pre-med, pre-pharmacy, pre-dental, and engineering majors. Most of the time exams count for 70-90% of grade and there are usually 2-4 exams per class so if you screw on one of them, you screw up your entire grade.

So, I'm just asking if this is how classes are everywhere. What were your class averages (not yours) for science classes?

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I am slowly trying to accept the fact that PA school may be out of reach for me. I'm a traditional college student (sophomore) and I already have plenty of HCE hours and quite few prerequisites done for PA schools. But my GPA is going down with each semester. I work hard, study, get help when I need and I still can't break those B's in science classes. My major and science GPA is 3.0. It's painful to even write this.

When I read about people who have 3.8 or 4.0 GPA (especially in science), I wonder how they achieved those grades. I know hard work is number one reason, but I work hard too. Now, I'm starting to think that maybe I chose the wrong school. I go to a large, public university (very heavy on research). In each of my science/math classes there are anywhere from 100-400 people. It's not a bad school (one of the better ones in my state), but getting an A seems impossible to earn.

Here are some exam averages in percentages for science classes at my school:

- General Chemistry: 50's

- Organic Chemistry: 30's

- Physics: 20's to 40's

- Calculus: 40's

- General Biology: 60's to 70's

- Advanced Bio classes: 40's to low 70's

Obviously, professors curve them or everyone would fail.

These are not stupid people. You would not believe how competitive some students are. And keep in mind that majority of people who take these classes are either pre-med, pre-pharmacy, pre-dental, and engineering majors. Most of the time exams count for 70-90% of grade and there are usually 2-4 exams per class so if you screw on one of them, you screw up your entire grade.

So, I'm just asking if this is how classes are everywhere. What were your class averages (not yours) for science classes?

 

Sorry I cannot give you actual averages for my science classes (I don't really think it matters that much, actually...). They vary, of course, and some classes are less "fair" than others. In my experience grades can vary dramatically depending on the professor. I've been quite disappointed with the lack of decent science professors at my university - to put it frankly, I had VERY passionate professors at community college, they weren't all about doing research.

 

There are, of course, many factors that can result a good grade (despite a bad professor). For me, this usually means having a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, and the only way I can achieve this is to dedicate as much time as possible to the course. I find that a lot of my classmates don't have to work (unfortunately I have to work to pay rent...), and I always wish I could go back to those days. I also find that many science or engineering majors take way too many classes, then they complain about things... (c'mon... a bit unnecessary).

 

If you feel it's too much, take a lighter load and destroy those classes. Is this possible for you?

 

When I took math classes I went to tutoring two or three times a week and still had a hard time, but I made progress and I sure as hell tried my best in that class.

 

P.S. You'd be lucky to have exams count for 70-90% of the grade. I've had (non-science) classes based on 2 exams. That'll make you sweat.

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So riddle me this...why do you stay there? Why do you continue spending THOUSANDS of dollars at a program that won't get you where you want when there are ooohhhhhh I don't know..maybe a about a kazillion other colleges that will fulfill the requirements for PA school that don't sit triple digits of students in some lecture hall and blather on about how tough their class is.

 

I predict some reason along the lines of "it's close to home, I save money by living with my family/friends/good roommates" so on and so forth. If that is true, that would mean you're willing to spend the money for a bachelor's degree that may not let you continue into a job market that you want, thus sticking you with a tuition bill being paid for by a job you don't like.(assuming you can find work) I don't follow that logic very well, but it is presumptuous of me to assume that is why you stay at a school that you just admitted will not be of benefit to you in your application to PA school.

 

On a lighter note, there are still PA programs out there that value experience more than grades. You said that you have plenty of HCE hours. Can you clarify that a bit? I got into PA school with a sGPA of 3.0, no GRE, and didn't even have to have a bachelor's degree. I did my pre reqs at a community college with on average 20-25 students in the class. The PA school I got into is even one of those "top ten" PA schools you hear about.

 

You have options. Exercise them.

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There is little logic to dropping out of a university to go to community college. Admission BACK into the university after having dropped out can be tricky (and time consuming), and in our current economy I would pick an Bachelors degree over not having one or not having the ability to earn one. Even though the tuition cost, quality of professors and classroom size may be factors, I would never encourage anyone to drop out and just take courses at CC. I would, however, encourage use of simultaneous enrollment.

 

Think about that for a moment. There are many people without GREs, without bachelor degrees, and with ~3.0 sGPA who are NOT getting into PA school. Just because you were able to accomplish it, does it mean that it is something that that every normal person can expect to accomplish?

 

P.S. Not sure why you're dishing out attitude to someone who is just looking for some help. Sometimes giving someone a hard time can be more detrimental than helpful...

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P.S. Not sure why you're dishing out attitude to someone who is just looking for some help. Sometimes giving someone a hard time can be more detrimental than helpful...

 

What you view as attitude I view as un-sugarcoated sound critical thinking. To tell the OP what my average science class grade was, would do nothing to benefit them. But to ask the OP to introspect their current situation rather than giving up on a PA school dream will, in fact, benefit them as they evaluate and gut check themselves into, as Just Steve said, Exercising their options.

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What you view as attitude I view as un-sugarcoated sound critical thinking. To tell the OP what my average science class grade was, would do nothing to benefit them. But to ask the OP to introspect their current situation rather than giving up on a PA school dream will, in fact, benefit them as they evaluate and gut check themselves into, as Just Steve said, Exercising their options.

 

I see the intention, however as I stated in my earlier post, dropping out of a university to attend community college is not sound thinking from where I'm standing. We can agree to disagree. (Please, before people jump on me about community, I did come transfer from one. I think they are amazing, they just won't give you a bachelors degree).

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I see the intention, however as I stated in my earlier post, dropping out of a university to attend community college is not sound thinking from where I'm standing. We can agree to disagree. (Please, before people jump on me about community, I did come transfer from one. I think they are amazing, they just won't give you a bachelors degree).

 

No one will "jump" on you about community colleges. The fact is that a bachelor's degree is not necessary to get into PA school. There are a few ways to skin this cat. Again, the OP needs to explore all the options and choose the one that best fits.

 

As LESH says time and time again, "Get in where you fit in." At the end of the day, it's all about the "C."

 

It's amazing how one can perceive "attitude" over the internet. Here's a friendly reminder: medicine is a people-based business. You must deal with ALL kinds of personalities and "attitudes" in order to survive it.

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I do not pay for college. I have a grant that the university has given be for good grades (high GPA) in high school. I have other scholarships and grants, but the downfall is that in order to keep them, I have to take at least 15 credit hours. That is about 4 classes each semester.

 

Transferring now is not possible as my dad lost his job and I help my family with what I earn. Private schools are way too expensive and CC near me don't have classes that I need (I have only about 50 credits left to get bachelor's).

 

My HCE include working as CNA at a nursing home for disabled. I have a job lined up for me at a hospital as PCT (I will start in May). I also found a clinic that will train in phlebotomy. Keep in mind that I'm only 20 years old, so I'm not a Paramedic or a nurse.

 

I do not blame my school OR my professors for my bad grades. I KNOW that that I am largely responsible for my grades. I just wanted to see what colleges are like for you guys. Obviously, I picked the wrong forum.

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If we told you that college was a cake walk and I didn't study outside of the classroom, would that help you feel better?

 

If told you that college was a soul crushing drudgery that left me doubting my own self worth, would help you feel better?

 

We all know each classroom is different. We have all had those conversations in the cafeteria, "oh man professor xcxcx is such a hard nose" and everyone nods and offers some encouragement to push on. Here you are self reporting that you have what you see as a none competive sGPA due to hard classes. What feedback where you looking for?

 

Congrats on the scholarships and such. Good luck, hope it all works out.

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Agatha,

 

It sounds like we are in the same boat. What I've decided to do is finish my BS (I graduate in May) and I am currently taking an EMT-B class. I think I'll work for a year or two as an EMT-B, retake a couple classes (mainly orgo), and then reapply.

 

You can do it :)

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There is little logic to dropping out of a university to go to community college. Admission BACK into the university after having dropped out can be tricky (and time consuming), and in our current economy I would pick an Bachelors degree over not having one or not having the ability to earn one. Even though the tuition cost, quality of professors and classroom size may be factors, I would never encourage anyone to drop out and just take courses at CC. I would, however, encourage use of simultaneous enrollment.

 

Think about that for a moment. There are many people without GREs, without bachelor degrees, and with ~3.0 sGPA who are NOT getting into PA school. Just because you were able to accomplish it, does it mean that it is something that that every normal person can expect to accomplish?

 

P.S. Not sure why you're dishing out attitude to someone who is just looking for some help. Sometimes giving someone a hard time can be more detrimental than helpful...

 

Attitude is about perception. For me, giving the proverbial "you can do it!" speech doesnt really change anything. They are about halfway through their junior year with a 3.0 sGPA and a self reported decline in success rate with every class. How much further do you think they can pull up that GPA in the time remaining? They are anxious/depressed about their perception of missing the PA boat. They don't need a cheerleader giving a pep rally, they need options.i shared some options based on the limited information that they gave us. What did you offer them besides the perceived downsides of not continuing down their current, not highly successful current path?

 

The good thing is that they are working in healthcare. Hopefully they can prevent the GPA from slipping below the 3.0 mark, then continue working to gather the HCE needed to offset the marginal grades. Smash out a strong GRE and hope for the best. But I am sure they already had that plan.

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Does your school have any type of student support services? Mine has tutoring, counseling, etc. Another service they offer is testing your learning style. If your school doesn't have something similar, and I'd be very surprised they don't if they are as big as you imply, here is the link for the VARK. http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire It might seem a lil silly, but by your own report, your study skills aren't working for you. It might be possible that you simply don't know which method works for you. Most schools generally only hit the "visual/reading" groups so if you're another option then you might not best know how to utilize the info you're being given. I think it's great that you've realized you had a problem before sinking more money into your education, but now you need to figure out Plan B to get back on track. Something that helped me, and sadly I didn't learn it until my last year of college, was to be an active reader/listener. That means that while I was reading/listening to lecture, I was trying to make connections with material I'd already learned. I came to class with questions on things that didn't make sense or that I wasn't "connecting" with. At my school, anatomy and physiology in one of the 3 biggest classes, and in that giant lecture hall with 300+ of us, my instructor knew my name. There's a difference between "I took notes in class and I read the chapters in the book" and "I studied."

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I'm not even sure what you are asking. I personally have a very hard time sympathizing with students complaining about how hard they have it. I'm not trying to be mean, and I don't know you or your situation, but nobody ever said going to college was supposed to be easy at all. You are in college for one reason and one reason only... to master the material you are pursuing. If you cannot accomplish that, don't blame anybody else. Yes, there are bad professors and good professors. At the end of the day you have to own your own education and use the professors as a guide only, not your sole source of information. Everybody has their priorities that may prevent them from spending the extra hours they need to get an A. That's fine. I have priorities that prevent me from studying as much as I would like to. BUT, if you cannot sacrifice those other priorities then you should perhaps choose a different path that is more compatible with your other priorities, or attend a different university or a different professor that is easier. Just remember that there was a time when going to university was such a high honor that was reserved for only the elite and rich. It is still that way... treat it as such. Good luck sorting out what you need to do.

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Check out ratemyprofessors.com. It helped me avoid the teachers that destroy GPAs. Take everything you see there with a grain of salt because many are just lazy undergrads who can't tell the difference between fair and easy. But sometimes people will post how the teachers grade which will help you know if it's the kind of professor that believes the average grade should be a C or if they believe your grade should be based on your knowledge as opposed to your knowledge compared to the smartest guy in the class (or the guy who is taking an easier schedule).

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I'm not sure of your major. Our how quick you want to get into PA school. I graduated in 2006 found a decent job and paid for my Pre sciences class out of pocket when I had the money. This allowed me to focus on them one at a time and get good grades. I applied last year and had three interviews and was accepted. Was not the quickest way but it worked for me.

 

On paper your science GPA needs to shine.

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to the OP- My classes have all varied, so I am not sure how to answer exactly. My most recent class was General Chemistry II at a CC, and most of the exams averaged around 75 but there was no curve at all. I did a lot better than that thankfully. When I took Orgo II (many years ago) there was something like a 25 pt curve! I don't recall most of my undergrad work because it was over 10 years ago, but I do remember that class. There was no curve in my A & P classes (taken at a university) and the class average was around a B if I remember correctly, but it was a night class made up of people taking pre-reqs for competitive programs (PA, pharmacy, accelerated nursing etc). If you find the large classes more difficult to succeed in, maybe there are options for smaller classes at your university if you choose ones that are offered at different times of day. I remember at my public university that class size also got smaller as I moved up in the sciences. Also, our local public universities partner with community colleges in the area, so students can choose equivalent classes at the CC. Maybe you could check into something like that- CC classes are usually small (at least all of mine have been). And, you know, PA isn't for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. If you decide that really is the case- there are plenty of fulfilling careers out there (in medicine or not).

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I graduated in 2006 found a decent job and paid for my Pre sciences class out of pocket when I had the money. This allowed me to focus on them one at a time and get good grades. I applied last year and had three interviews and was accepted. Was not the quickest way but it worked for me.

 

THIS. I'm not sure of the other paths that people have taken, but it sounds as if you, koollayed, and I were in similar situations. I don't know how many semesters you have left, but take only as much SCIENCE as you can handle (meaning, get better than a B in). The rest use for other classes that interest you. This will make your semesters much, much easier. When you graduate, hopefully your PCT job will have tuition reimbursement or something of the like; any pre-reqs you haven't taken yet, take at a CC. If you have any classes that you know you really didn't learn the material from (and/or got a bad grade in), retake them and get an A. Do this until your ready to apply, along with working up your HCE. You may have to spend a little bit of money on it, but if you can't get higher than a B in the university courses, it's probably worth it.

 

If you can't do this, take everyone else's advice: rock the GRE hardcore (study study study, take at a time when you AREN'T in class, when you're rested and not stressed), and rack up your HCE, then do research on which programs fit your stats. Actually, do those things regardless. It'll give you your best chances of getting in.

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Some of you guys are over-analyzing my question, which by the way, only one person was able to answer.

You don't know how many classes and which classes I have taken or what my major is. The 3.0 science GPA is only for the few prerequisites that are needed for PA schools. The list that I have provided does not reflect my grades or my averages. Trust me, my overall GPA is much higher than that. I have two more years of college left and for those two years I will be taking only science classes.

Again, I am not here to rant about my professors or how hard the classes are. No **** it's not going to be easy.

I posted a little bit of background info so people wouldn't have to ask why I want to know this. I didn't ask for advice or how to improve my grades/GPA. I SIMPLY WANTED TO COMPARE CLASS AVERAGES. Got it?

No need to respond to this thread anymore as none of you bother to answer my question.

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Agata

I can see you are frustrated with your situation. To give you some idea of how difficult the science classes I have attended:

 

In my General chem class about half the class dropped with a W becasue they were failing. The remainder of the class ended up with A's and B's. Again, only because those who were failing dropped. The same thing happened in my Anatomy class, my Physiology class, and Microbiology. When I took Immunology online through UC Berkeley MANY failed and the class average for the final was about 60%.

 

Good luck to you.

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The courses I took that sound anything like what you describe were heavily curved.

 

I'm sure the classes are just as difficult as you describe, but you benefit from the curve the same as everyone else in the class. I bombed a whole bunch of tests in my 300-student inorganic chemistry classes, but the curve made me decent again. B's are not a problem. No, really, they're not. It's easy to start thinking that anything less than an A is the end of your life, but it's just not true. You could get ALL B's in your sciences and be a great, competitive applicant at the right school.

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Some of you guys are over-analyzing my question, which by the way, only one person was able to answer.

You don't know how many classes and which classes I have taken or what my major is. The 3.0 science GPA is only for the few prerequisites that are needed for PA schools. The list that I have provided does not reflect my grades or my averages. Trust me, my overall GPA is much higher than that. I have two more years of college left and for those two years I will be taking only science classes.

Again, I am not here to rant about my professors or how hard the classes are. No **** it's not going to be easy.

I posted a little bit of background info so people wouldn't have to ask why I want to know this. I didn't ask for advice or how to improve my grades/GPA. I SIMPLY WANTED TO COMPARE CLASS AVERAGES. Got it?

No need to respond to this thread anymore as none of you bother to answer my question.

 

Hahaha and I get flack for having attitude.

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^Right?

 

To the OP, your attitude isn't necessary, either. When I was reading your question, your description could have applied to my situation: large, state university with emphasis on research, large classes... I responded because I can tell you that unless you've had the unlikely misfortune to have had horrible professors in every single class, IT'S NOT THE SCHOOL, IT'S YOU. Perhaps next time, I'll just be more blunt. Those people who "mysteriously" seem to get 3.8-4.0s do so because they know how to absorb relevant material and study. I know, because I'm one of them. Pretty sure I don't have any mythical powers. If you knew those same skills, it really wouldn't matter what everyone else was getting because you would be succeeding.

 

Just Steve makes an excellent point in that if the school isn't working for you, switch to something that does. Are you going to wait until you start a large PA program before you realize that situation clearly doesn't work for you? Way to set yourself up for (even more) failure.

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Another thing to add - most of us ignored the class average question because a few people had already answered it - it's hard to remember, but your class averages sound about on par, most schools do heavy curving though.

 

To answer the original question - in my orgo classes (as we called them) 40%-50% was considered about a C, 78%-100% was about a an A/A-/B+. I know this because I just looked up the syllabus for your benefit. Heavy curving because the class averages on each exam were around 50-60%. Biology courses were slightly higher (70%) and physics courses depended on which level you were taking. Biochem was a low average - maybe 65 if I'm remembering correctly. Microbio was a lot higher.

 

Hope that helps, but it probably doesn't because finding that out doesn't really change anything. Yes, other schools are difficult too. No, most PA schools do not take into consideration which school you went to when considering your GPA (believe me, I've asked many schools). So what really matters is doing better than your peers in those courses.

 

Sorry for any unsolicited advice that I may have accidentally inserted in there.

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That sounds like my school. My orgo professor said at the beginning of the semester "I write my exams so the average is in the 40-50 range"... The first one averaged a 62 - we paid for it the remainder of the semester (2 more exams) with the averages of 39 and 32.

 

It appeared to bother him greatly that a 900 student class could accomplish a 62 average.

 

When I went to him to request an appointment for some clarification on something HE SAID during lecture, he said "thats what the TAs are for, I do research"...

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