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msc grades: advice desperately needed Watch

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    I am just completed my Msc and i have been told that i will be awarded with a pass rather than a merit that i was hoping for. I am really saddened and unhappy about this. I have been able to sleep or do anything. The aim of getting the Msc was to increase my chances in getting a good job and make myself and my parents proud but now i feel like i am a total failure.

    My first semester was really awful as i had four Ds in the four courses i took.

    Second semester was much better and i had one A, two Bs, one C and another B in dissertation. The total course unit was 180units. I was thinking that with my grades i could still nail a merit. So i am really surprised when i was told by the uni that based on a formula that was used, all i will get is a pass grade.

    I feel strongly that i am close to the merit mark. The examination board that awards the final grade is yet to sit and i am wondering if there is any advice or suggestion that anyone could give me that could make me present my case to the school and maybe review my grades or give me the opportunity to take some more courses. I had a 67B grade in my dissertation and since the board is yet to sit am wondering if this can be changed to an A.

    I did put in a letter for extenuating circumstances about one month before my first semester exams asking for some days off from school. I do not know if i can still use that as a reason to explain why i did so poorly in my first semester.

    Please, any advice or suggestions or loopholes just to get this merit grade will be highly appreciated. I have sacrificed a lot financially just to commence this degree and it is just a shame if at the end of the day all i have to show for it is a pass grade.

    Please help me.

    Thanks.
    Thanks.
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    There are basically three things you can fall on to appeal a classification:

    1. Procedural error, that the correct regulations were not followed in deciding the overall classification on the basis of your submitted papers.

    2. Academic misjudgment, that the examiners unfairly marked you down.

    3. Extenuating circumstances.

    Of those, 2) is to be avoided at all costs. I really, really wouldn't suggest asking for your dissertation to be 'bumped up'. You can ask if it was second marked/external'ed, but most dissertations are second marked as standard and passed to the external if there is a disagreement, so I suspect all you would achieve by asking for three marks they decided not to award you is to piss the department off royally by suggesting they don't know how to do their jobs.

    1) can be very successful if you have a case for procedural error. Check the department and university regulations for awarding a merit. You say you were surprised - did you marks fulfill the criteria for a merit, even in a slightly loose interpretation? Are there any differences between departmental and university statutes on the matter? If say the department requires half your marks to be at 65 or above, which you don't have but *do* have a 65 average, there may be a case to be made for arguing that they ought to be a little creative with the rules. Likewise if they have any exit velocity calculations that may stand in your favour. Likewise if the dissertation wasn't second marked this might be a point to raise (although it's a risky strategy since a second marker might lower your result). In my experience taking a humble but firm approach can pay dividends - 'I entirely accept the marks you've awarded me and recognise that the academic judgment exercised is correct, but I think that there are grounds for considering my spread of marks for the higher award' is a good strategy to take.

    3) Can be successful if you do have documentary evidence. You say you've submitted a letter in the past - depending on what this was for, whether you have doctors' evidence etc, this might be worthwhile. I don't know quite the extent of it and whether a plea for clemency regarding your first semester on this basis would work. You can try, I suppose. It might be worth asking either the MA convenor or your student advice services whether this is a reasonable course of action.
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    Thank you all for your reply. I am indeed most grateful.

    I had nursed the fear of finishing with a bad grade right from the moment i saw my first semester grades. I cried my eyes out when i saw the first semester grades and i kept asking myself where i went wrong. I had a few meetings with my school tutor where i discussed and expressed my fears and he told me that i could still meet up with a good grade if i did well in my second semester and have a minimum B grade in my dissertation.


    According to what he told me, i need to have a minimum grade of Bs in 5 courses. So in my case, i have 1A, 3Bs and 1c. I felt that the A and C in the two respective courses will work out on the average as 2Bs.

    Based on the university's regulations and i quote:
    For awards of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Arts, Master of Science, or other taught postgraduate Masters Degree, the Board of Examiners shall
    recommend the highest classification arising from the application of the following formulae:
    a) the classification calculated from the weighted mean of the relevant credits at level M;
    b) the minimum classification in which the best 50% of the relevant credits at level M were attained.

    Based on a formula my friend explained to me, i worked out my cummulative grade as 57. Just 3marks short of the required 60marks.

    (Original post by IlexAquifolium)

    1) can be very successful if you have a case for procedural error. Check the department and university regulations for awarding a merit. You say you were surprised - did you marks fulfill the criteria for a merit, even in a slightly loose interpretation? Are there any differences between departmental and university statutes on the matter? If say the department requires half your marks to be at 65 or above, which you don't have but *do* have a 65 average, there may be a case to be made for arguing that they ought to be a little creative with the rules. Likewise if they have any exit velocity calculations that may stand in your favour. Likewise if the dissertation wasn't second marked this might be a point to raise (although it's a risky strategy since a second marker might lower your result). In my experience taking a humble but firm approach can pay dividends - 'I entirely accept the marks you've awarded me and recognise that the academic judgment exercised is correct, but I think that there are grounds for considering my spread of marks for the higher award' is a good strategy to take.
    Based on your suggestion above which i have just quoted , do you think i can use that to plead my case or write a letter begging or explaining my case.

    (Original post by IlexAquifolium)
    3) Can be successful if you do have documentary evidence. You say you've submitted a letter in the past - depending on what this was for, whether you have doctors' evidence etc, this might be worthwhile. I don't know quite the extent of it and whether a plea for clemency regarding your first semester on this basis would work. You can try, I suppose. It might be worth asking either the MA convenor or your student advice services whether this is a reasonable course of action.
    Regarding the extenuating circumstance, all i asked was for about 2 weeks off from school (i didn't attend lectures) to enable me sort out some personal issue. I asked for the leave about two months or a little less than that before my exams, so i am not sure of this counts. Or what do you think?

    Please, i await your response. Thank you.
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    (Original post by iamworried)
    Based on a formula my friend explained to me, i worked out my cummulative grade as 57. Just 3marks short of the required 60marks.

    Please, i await your response. Thank you.
    Your uni's system seems more complex than mine, but if the pass mark is 50, and you need an average of 60 to get a merit then "Just 3 marks short of the required 60" is 30% short of what was required... that's actually quite a lot. If you were 1 mark short, or at a push 2 with extenuating circumstances then you might have a case. But i think being 30% short of the required mark you would need pretty impressive extenuating circumstances to argue that you deserve a merit.

    I understand your pain. At my uni we don't deal in merits, you either pass or get a distinction. I was 1% off a distinction in my project, so even though my average was well over the distinction boundary i was not awarded a distinction. I get a pass. Like everyone else who averaged 50% and got above 50 in their project. Despite my average of 75% and project mark of 68 (i needed above 69). Grr.

    Uni's generally argue over borderline cases, if they considered you a borderline case (to be honest i don't think you are...) then they will have discussed your work in their examiner's meeting and come to a conclusion. In my case, they spent a long time discussing my grade and looking at my project, but they came to the conclusion that my project just wasn't good enough to warrant a distinction. And although i would love to argue.... their assessment of my project is correct. So can you honestly say that the standard of your work over the Masters deserves a merit grade? Or are you just wanting to argue because you don't think a "pass" is what you need?

    My advice to you is just to accept it and move on. Easier said than done, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And you will be able to learn lessons from the fact that you missed the grade you wanted. Take those lessons and apply them in future. I have learned that i should never give up - I presumed my project was crap and at the end didn't apply myself as i should have done, if i had believed in it a bit more then i would have got the grade. But i gave up. So, identify where you went wrong and learn from it.

    Sorry for the essay and clichés...
 
 
 
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