Should you Retake a Course?

yes or no

Post #40 What to Know Before you Retake a Course

Contrary to what most students believe, retaking a course usually isn’t easier.  It is tempting to tell yourself, “I’ve already seen the material once, I know what to expect.”  Sounds logical enough, but it’s a trap.  As a general rule, only retake a course if it’s an absolute necessity.  Here’s why.

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False Sense of Certainty

You may feel like you’re ahead of the game because you’ve taken the course once before.  It could be easy to believe you’ll “get it” the second time around.  Or it could be easy to believe you won’t make the same mistakes.  These thoughts may deceive you because during a full time semester, other classes usually take priority.  It is likely you will end up putting more effort into the courses that are new to you.  As time goes on, you then make the mistake of believing that the course you’re retaking “should” be easy.  Or that you “should” be able to catch up after falling behind only to discover yourself cramming at the end.  Many students end up getting the same grade or even a worse grade the second time around.  This is a very tricky topic so pay close attention to your course even if it’s your second time around.

Transcripts Record Everything

You should verify with your Registrar, but every single grade you earn will be recorded on your transcripts.  This fact alone could defeat the purpose of retaking a course.  Some students believe it’s worth retaking a course if they can “erase” the old grade.  However, what they fail to realize is that the first grade will still show up in their records.  And these are records that future employers will review.  Can you as a student legitimately explain to a potential employer why you decided to retake a course?  Absolutely you can.  What I am trying to tell you is that your old grade doesn’t disappear.  It will forever be documented on your transcripts.

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GPA Calculation

After reading Post #39, you realize that GPAs are recalculated differently depending upon your school.  Students mistakenly assume that after retaking a course, the higher grade wins.  In other words, they falsely assume their school automatically calculates their GPA with the higher of the 2 grades.  This is not so!  Some schools may and other schools may not.  You must be aware, as an engineering student, how your college considers your second grade in the same course.  The university I attended always used the second grade if we retook a course.  Whether better or worse, the second grade replaced the first without question.  Before you decide to retake that course you’re thinking about, you must understand how your college will recalculate your GPA!

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