I’m sure you have heard of the term “grade grubber” at some point in school. It doesn’t have a positive connotation to it, does it? I usually picture a stereotypical Rachel Berry (think Glee) raising her hand up high, asking the professor why he didn’t give her an A+ instead of an A. But improving your grade doesn’t have to have a stigma to it. Sometimes, you will legitimately feel that you were graded unfairly. It is times like that in which you should approach your professor.
Step 1: Email You Professor
Be super formal and friendly when you are approaching your professor in an email. Professors have office hours, but I personally think that letting them know what you want to discuss ahead of time is beneficial to you. Why formal and friendly? Seems a bit contrasting, no? You might be upset about the grade, but you shouldn’t let your emotions negatively impact the tone of your meeting. And it’s always an obvious piece of advice that you should be professional in your emails.
Step 2: Greet Your Professor Warmly Before Diving In
We are all busy but that doesn’t mean you can’t exchange pleasantries with your Professor, whom you want to be in a good mood! Setting the tone for the remainder of the conversation will help their decision making — possibly in your favor.
Step 3: Outline What You Wish to Discuss
Letting your Professor know how long this conversation might take in the beginning will give them a chance to plan how they will approach your rebuttals.
Step 4: Give a Valid Reason Why Your Answer is Correct
Why is your answer correct in your point of view? This part will likely be the most important step because your professor will decide from your answers whether you really understood the point of the question!
Step 5: Thank Your Professor for His/Her Time
No matter the outcome, be as pleasant as you were in the beginning. Do not show anger, and please, don’t cry. You have no idea how many times I’ve run into people who left a professor’s office in tears. It just makes everything unpleasant and you don’t want that affiliation the next time you are graded.
Make sure to come to the office prepared to rebut each point on your exam or paper. Preparedness and calmness will only help you when you are trying to improve your grade.
P.S. Notice how I posted this at 11:11am on 11/11/11. Sha BAM.
Photo courtesy of Justin Davis via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).