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A/A- Cutoff at your school

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by twohearted, May 8, 2007.

  1. twohearted

    twohearted The whistle go . . . 2+ Year Member

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    It seems that weedout sciences usually have lower cutoffs for A's at my school, as the average scores are usually in the 60's. The gen-eds though, like a Span 101 or Phil 101, have higher cutoffs for As, as the courses usually have higher averages. What is the cut of between A and A- in most of your courses?
     
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  3. Crazy4F1

    Crazy4F1 10+ Year Member

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    every class its been a 93 minimum for an A...with the exception of the nursing class i signed into this semester and that's a 95 for an A. although, since the prof basically gave us the answers to the final ahead of time, I can understand why.
     
  4. Vano

    Vano 7+ Year Member

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    Yep usually it's around 92/93 for an A both in science and non-science classes, highest was Physiology and Cell Bio labs 95 for an A, lowest Biochem--85% for an A(but they didn't curve in this class) Some non-science class have pretty high reqs too, remember one theology course had to get at least 95for an A also
     
  5. Kfire326

    Kfire326 7+ Year Member

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    At my school, classes that are not curved have a few diff. grading schemes:
    1) 90+ is an A
    2) Top 7% is an A, 7-10% is an A-
    3) Profs only give out a certain number of As, and the top students get em.
     
  6. mtlove

    mtlove 2+ Year Member

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    For all classes at my school, with no exception, the following grade breakdown was given:
    A=95+
    A-=90-94.9
    B+=87-89.9
    B=83-86.9
    B-=80-82.9 .....

    There was also no curving, especially in the science classes, so you can count As out. I REALLY WISH MED SCHOOLS WOULD CONSIDER THIS. 3.7GPA in the sciences was unusually high at my school, but this is not the norm at most schools unfortunately.
     
  7. DreamyKid

    DreamyKid 10+ Year Member

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    my school curves, which means for certain bio or chem classes, the % might be like 88 for A- or 91.6 for an A based on adjusted scales. Some upper div classes have lower scales, probably like 85 or 86 for an A.

    I just learned that in my history and philosophy class however, that a solid A would be 94+. It was a shocker, I didn't know it was ever that high, but seeing some of you guys' posts, I guess its the fair norm.
     
  8. cbtk18

    cbtk18 10+ Year Member

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    In my school, the teachers decide---every class is the same. This has never helped me, only hurt me. I had a cell-bio class last semester that the guy made 94 and below an A- :mad:
     
  9. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    there is no official cutoff between an A/A- here; it's totally up to the professors. Generally speaking, the top 10-15% of the class makes A's, the next 10-15% of the class makes A-'s.

    However, this number ranges widely. I've been a TA for a number of professors, so have seen how grades are distributed. First of all, our tests are always conducted so the average is mid 50's to 60's. This way, the class distribution is always (more or less) a normal distribution. Under this method, it's always about how you do relative to other people. That being said, I've taught for professors who awarded a combined total of A's and A-'s to only the top 25% of the class. I've also taught for professors who awarded a combined total of A/A-'s to the top 50% of the class. Generally speaking, the harder the class, the more generous the curve.
     
  10. JJMrK

    JJMrK J to the J Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Here, there are no -'s or +'s. Generally, 90%-100% is an A.
     
  11. ssquared

    ssquared Member 2+ Year Member

    Damn. That's quite generous. Top 10-15% getting A's? And then the next group getting A-'s? Holy crapola. I only wish my classes had been so generous. Every single course I've taken that's had averages in the 50's or 60's simply left the averages there. Of the past four years, I've had exactly TWO classes that curved-and one was curved down to fit an average distribution (and it was organic chem). And I go to a very good school.

    Not to insult Harvard, buddy, but I can see now why they're known for the Gentlemen's C. And why people say the hardest part is getting in.
     
  12. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    Dear Ssquared,

    I will try not to sound snarky, elitist or mean.

    However, allow me to defend the organic chemistry classes at Harvard. (Only because these are the courses I have taught, and are ones that I have seen explicit cut-offs).

    A Harvard term-time organic chemistry course is not like an organic chemistry course anywhere else in the world. No where else will an INTRODUCTORY organic chemistry course demand stereoselective synthesis routes to complex targets, an understanding of palladium-cross coupling organometallic chemistry, and rationalizations of mechanisms that not only rationalize bond construction, but absolute stereochemistry as well. I have heard many graduate students who also teach these courses commenting that their undergraduate chemistry courses at their respective undergraduate institutions in no way compares to the breadth or depth at which these courses are taught.

    So for a student who scores 50/100 on an exam, I believe it is justified for them to receive a B.

    crimsonkid

    And for the record, it's called a Gentleman's B.
     
  13. scgroat

    scgroat New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Move to Texas where the grading system is lovely. There are no minuses or pluses. The theory is that they balance out, but it makes it MUCH easier for the very dedicated student to maintain a 4.0. For instance, a 90 is an A, right? Well, if you have an 88, a teacher may be inclined to give you the A if you're in his/her good graces. Now, let's think about this. An 88 would be a B+ and a 3.3, yet you now have a 4.0 on your transcript. Hugely unfair, but life. In case some of you are thinking that this would balance out when your 88 got you a 3.0, that usually doesn't happen. I've had 4 grades in the B+ range, all of which are 4.0s on the Texas grading scale. God bless Texas...but don't be quite as impressed with a 4.0.
     
  14. ssquared

    ssquared Member 2+ Year Member

    I'm not going to argue with you. I've seen you (and maybe one other member) make that argument before. I'm not qualified to comment, having never taken a chemistry course at Harvard.

    But I have never heard of a Gentleman's B. But maybe it's only a Gentleman's C at Yale. Who knows?

    (ps, I was trying to make my post light-hearted. I guess I failed at that)

    And Edit: in your original post, you sounded like you were talking about all classes at your school, not that one orgo class. But whatever.
     
  15. variablistic

    variablistic 5+ Year Member

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    Jan 7, 2007

    Nowhere else in the world, huh. Interesting, I and the rest of my class was responsible for those things in our sophomore, introductory, o-chem class. And you did sound snarky and elitist.
     
  16. tdjn

    tdjn 7+ Year Member

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    Wow, you aren't sheltered at all. :rolleyes:
     
  17. DreamyKid

    DreamyKid 10+ Year Member

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    harvard definitely has its juices but grade inflation in private schools is no myth either
     
  18. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    i am definately not denying the fact that there is grade inflation at Harvard. In fact, I pointed out that it is referred to here as the Gentleman's B, implying that even handing out C's are a rarity. i'm sorry if i implied all courses at harvard were graded on the scale i mentioned above. I should have specificied that this was for courses in biology and chemistry.

    variablistic, i would be interested in knowing where you learned your ochem, or rather, who taught it.

    and i would like to point out that i'm not trying to portray harvard as 'the best college' or 'the best place to be' as an undergraduate institution. far be it. in fact, the teaching in the chemistry department can be very unnecessarily brutal, i think, and it drives a lot of great students away...to ec. :/

    i'm sorry to sound snarky or elitist in the above posts...i get upset when people honestly believe that harvard students just bum around all day, collecting their A's. Because that isn't true.
     
  19. tkatchev

    tkatchev 2+ Year Member

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    I hope you are only referring to the University of Texas - Austin because I guarantee you not all the schools in Texas follow this system. My school's system is far less generous.
     
  20. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    At my institution we learned everything you mentioned in orgo. It was PRINCIPLES, being the class for the chem-department majors, but none the less it wasn't extremely indepth but we touched on all those elements. I think you came off snarky and elitist. Harvard isn't the best school around for chemistry or biology, other schools are better, but that goes for any subject for any school. Don't assume, it just comes down to that.
     
  21. ssquared

    ssquared Member 2+ Year Member

    I didn't suggest that y'all bum around, collecting A's. I was suggesting that you do a level of work that maybe wouldn't be rewarded with such a high grade at another institution. Hence, grade inflation. I'm not singling out Harvard, given that grade inflation occurs at a lot of schools.

    And BTW, your orgo class, now that I think about it, sounds a lot like the one I took myself. But I've blocked most of it from my memory since it was so traumatizing. :(
     
  22. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    that's exactly the PC bull**** i hate on sdn. Harvard IS the best at some fields/departments, and it is CLEARLY not even CLOSE to being the best at others. Just like other institutions. I realize it's not as simple as looking just at departments because wrt so many graduate schools often it's not about the school, it's about who you work with. Nevertheless, some departments are still very much stronger than other departments across universities.
     
  23. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I believe I said it wasn't the best at some. Undoubtedly it has to excel at some. Every institution does. I wasn't arguing with you.
     
  24. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

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    ok apparently i am misinterpreting all over the place, and am utterly making a fool of myself. i apologize. in the interest of getting back to the OP's original question, how about we post more A/A- cutoff's?
     
  25. evoviiigsr

    evoviiigsr 7+ Year Member

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    There is no curving whasoever at my school. Last semester, no one in physics got an A (out of like 50 people)
     
  26. theunremarkable

    theunremarkable MS2 5+ Year Member

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    Agreed. You must only be referring to UT and A&M because where I go, we do have the A/A- system, where an A- is 90-93.99.
     
  27. scgroat

    scgroat New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Well, I've been able to track down the grading scale for 9 Texas schools. Eight of them are on a strict 10 point scale (A, B, C, D, F), while one (Trinity) has plus/minus grades. I imagine that there are other private schools that have pluses and minuses, and I have read that UTSA was considering going to such a grading system. I don't know if we're still on the thread topic, but, for what it's worth, I think it would be fair if every school had a plus/minus system. The reality is that a 90 is not at all equivalent to a 97. Just my rambling, I guess.
     
  28. paranoid_eyes

    paranoid_eyes 2+ Year Member

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    our ochem class is both a blessing and a curse. 90+ is A, 85-89 is A-. This is great because you can actually get help frm ur classmates. It sux cause well, you need to get a 90% straight curved for that A. Class avg, in past quarters, seems to hover around a sixtysomething which is a C.
     
  29. bootylicious

    bootylicious 2+ Year Member

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    wow...lucky for you guys... Well, my GENETICS class cut-off for an A- was 94... meaning that a 93 would be a B+... which, unfortunately, was my final grade. :( (I go to a UC school)
     
  30. SnowTown

    SnowTown SNOW BABY!!! 10+ Year Member

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    How about a 95 in professor A's class and a 95 in professor B's class? Are they equal? Your grace thing between an A and B for no +/- system can also be true between A and A- in a system with +/- system.

    How about the amount of As, Bs...etc given out between all the different classes? How about the amount of A+, A, A-, B+ B....given out in another institution or between different professors...?

    The averages for most of my classes since my soph year were in the 60s or 50s. But again most of my classes were engineering classes. My bio, chem... class averages were in the 70s. So does that mean bio, chem... majors deserves more As?
     
  31. mtlove

    mtlove 2+ Year Member

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    Many schools have extremely difficult classes, not only Harvard! The introductory physics class at my LAC is a great example. We had to understand many of the topics at a graduate school level. My lab partner worked in a physics lab at a big physics research institution in the area. Her boss was shocked that she was required to know this material at such advanced level (was often material these PIs did not see until grad school). This is probably why are graduates are heavily recruited for grad programs at places like MIT and Cal-tech.

    The moral of this story is that many places have very difficult classes, and you really need to accept this. If not, you may find your future educational endeavors socially difficult. Classes like this were definately not uncommon at my school and probably at many others.

    In regards to grade inflation, all ivys and many other schools have a major problem with this. (I have spent some time at another ivy so I am very aware of this problem). A Gentleman's B should not exist. What is the major problem with giving out Cs or below? Additionally, why does 40-50% of the class need an A of some sort? With your school's grading scheme, good grades really have no meaning as everyone has them. Why not have a way to compare Harvard grads amongst other Harvard grads. Grade inflation really inhibits any chances of doing this. Most schools will give grads from your school the benefit of the doubt when it comes to grades, so they could forgive a C if they existed. As a graduate of a small unknown lac, I am unfortunatley not afforded this same forgiveness for our difficult coursework and are uninflated grades.

    In contrast to your early arguement that all people taking such a hard class should have high grades, I will mention that this is not the case with the hard classes at my institution. For example, in my physics class mentioned above only 3-4 out 50 people received some sort of A in the class, and this was an unsually high number. No one receive any sort of A in the class the year before us. Most of my classmates could have taken the class at our neighboring state institution and they would have received a high A instead of the B or below at my school, but my school correctly chooses to not inflate grades.

    I am not trying to start a fight here, but you and many of the other Harvard grads on SDN really need to think about these things before claiming that the courses there are more difficult than any where else. We have people that transferred from ivy equivalent schools to my school and they are always quite shocked that they work just as much if not more for lower grades.
     
  32. scgroat

    scgroat New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Snowman, you've gotten yourself in a huff, and I can't follow. I'll drink some coffee and try to dissect your point in a bit. As for now, I will simply reiterate that a sweeping 10 point scale at many Texas schools is unfair. I benefitted from it, but it's not fair. Individual professors, however, always reserve the right to do whatever the heck the want to do.
     
  33. TheGreatHunt

    TheGreatHunt High Performance 7+ Year Member

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    I remember in OChem an AB was about 70% :laugh:
     
  34. scgroat

    scgroat New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Okay, the coffee has kicked in.

    1) Sure, an A can be given when one is numerically in the A- range. However, this is a difference of .3 (or .35 at some schools) compared to a full 1 point difference. I don't know what you're getting at.

    2)As for a random array of grades, that's what advocates of the straight 10-pt scale argue. I addressed this earlier. If you have grades all over the map, it does likely average out. However, if you have mostly As and high Bs (typical premed), then the system can very easily work in your favor. Sure, there are exceptions. There always are.

    3)As for a 70 in biochem deserving an A, I guess that depends on what sort of difficulty level the teacher has established. Is it relevant? Not at all. Do you think that many of us haven't gotten a B in pchem with a 50 average? The 10-pt scale still kicks in, though, simply because in-between grades cannot be given.
     
  35. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Only completed my second year but this how it has been broken down thus far, for the majority of my science classes.

    A and A+ carried the same weight, 4.0. An A was 92.5 - 96.5, an A+ above that. An A- is considered an 89.5 - 92.49. I'm sure you see the pattern here, professors do round at my institution. B- (79.5-82.49); B (82.5-86.49); and a B+ (86.5-89.49).

    The only class that has been curved, which none of us knew until the final exam last semester, has been organic chem. The professor uses a bell curve and places the average of the class at a B. He does this because he doesn't want to make anyone repeat. Although, he definitely did say, "You all get so happy when you get a D-. I do it because I don't want to fail anyone and see them again. Stop being excited, it just destroyed your GPA." :laugh: The average for this past semester was 74.3 and I received an 86.6. The bell curve did push me to an A which I was very greatful for.

    I don't know what was used in determining my inorganic (not genchem) grade because it doesn't match my calculation, but its higher than what I calculate so I'm not complaining.

    Hope this sheds some light.
     

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