Chippymunk

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2008
22
25
Vancouver
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hello, I just need some advice.
What do I do if I'm stuck with a bad prof? I was stuck with one last semester and I literally didn't learn a thing from her classes. I had to study my butt off by myself but she marked tests so extremely strict that by the end, 1/3 of the classes has dropped, more than half was failing, and the class average was 43%. This was only intro physics! I guess what made her bad was that she didn't listen to anybody and when we asked her too many questions, she said that we're "wasting her time," so people just kind of gave up. I didn't fail but did pretty bad. I'm repeating this course but I am now paranoid about getting another prof like her. They switched my good physics prof for next semester with a totally new guy, so now I'm pulling out my hair worrying how bad/good he'll be :scared:

Sorry for the rant but how do you guys handle bad profs? What about profs who make midterms easy but the final extremely hard (without telling you)? My calc prof did this, his questions were harder than the hardest questions in the book and he gave us really easy "sample" finals and told us it'll be a guideline to the difficulty level of his exam. My brother said he did it to pull down the average since everyone did so well on the midterms.:(
 

nyanko

total trash mammal
10+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2006
9,255
3,889
CoMo
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Resident [Any Field]
I think all you can really do is control what you can (your own performance), and let the rest play out. You can talk to the head of the department the professor teaches for, or someone in the academic dean's office if you have a valid complaint other than "the professor is too hard," but otherwise it's not really under your control.
 

stick91

Oregon State CVM c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2008
132
0
Corvallis, OR
Status
Veterinary Student
One thing that I found especially helpful was forming study groups. Even if it is just one or two other people, if you all get together to go over homework problems it can help you figure things out. Of course, this works if you have the most wonderful prof in the world too. You have to find people you will work well with though because otherwise you won't accomplish much. If you have a bad prof combined with a hard class you might also consider getting a tutor, sometimes they can help you see what the prof is getting at (especially if they've had them before). If there is a course evaluation at the end you might write down some comments on how to improve the course, I know that not all profs pay attention to those, but it can't really hurt and especially if it is a new prof it might help a lot.
 
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Nexx

2 weeks and counting
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2006
449
2
Western Australia
Status
Veterinary Student
I used to be a fan of ratemyprofessor.com when signing up for classes--not looking for easy professors, but looking for those who actually seem to care.

Can't vouch for the quality of the site any more, but it used to be pretty good and as long as I took some reviews with a grain of salt it seemed fairly accurate.
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
17
NC
Status
Veterinarian
I don't know if this is possible at every school, but talk to people who have had the prof before. Go meet the prof before you start classes. See if they have posted office hours, or if you can happen to catch them in thier office, and ask for any advice they have for the upcoming course. I have obtained syllabi early doing this, which let me plan out the semester and pre-read for the first couple of weeks of class. Sometimes you can tell a LOT about a prof on the first encounter.

Try to establish a regular relationship with the professor BEFORE you have problems with the class. Knowing what a prof considers 'important' about teaching can mean a lot. Heck, knowing how a prof feels about grade inflation can tell you a lot about how a course will go. If there is a study center or learning center on campus, become familiar with it, as it may be a source of class notes, helpful subject guides, and tutors.

Consider forming study groups, and possibly working with TA's that might help with the course or labs, as they will often know the hows/whys/whats of the professor they are working with.

Introductory classes can be very difficult to teach. Students have varying backgrounds/knowledge coming into the course, there is a lot of information to go over, and you need to give students enough solidity and depth to continue in the subject while still being shallow and bried enough to cover every necessary topic, plus encourage critical thinking, evaluation, experimentation, and whatever other concepts the professor finds important and deal with students with varying degrees of interest in the course. Intro courses often have future majors along with non-majors, and often individual who have next to no interest in the class.

I really find working with the professors more helpful than anything else. I went to a school where most classes were only taught by one professor; so you either adjusted to the professor, took the class elsewhere, or dealt with what you got. I can't tell if anyone worked with profs/tutors/TA's to get through this class from your post.
 

Chippymunk

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2008
22
25
Vancouver
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hey, thanks for your replies. Almost all my classes at my school is taught by one prof. We don't really have a good learning center either. They do have tutors there but they are only there maybe 2 hours a week and mostly during my class times. I tried asking others to study but almost all their attitudes were, "are you kidding me?" There are a few who are doing really well but they don't even come to class, only show up for tests. The problem with working with my last prof was that whenever someone didn't know something, or disagreed with her, she'd make a comment to make them feel dumb, so approaching her was quite intimidating.

I don't know if anyone hired a private tutor, but I think I'll consider doing so next semester. But of course I'm also hoping my prof would be good :xf:
 

PrimalMU

Mississippi c/o 2014
10+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2008
389
0
Huntington, WV
Status
Veterinary Student
I used to be a fan of ratemyprofessor.com when signing up for classes--not looking for easy professors, but looking for those who actually seem to care.

Can't vouch for the quality of the site any more, but it used to be pretty good and as long as I took some reviews with a grain of salt it seemed fairly accurate.
Agreed. Also watch out for professors who have bad ratings, but most of the bad ratings come from survey courses (Intro. to Bio., etc). You gotta be able to weed out the reviews from the idiots taking a class to fulfill a requirement from your fellow biology (or whatever) students' reviews.

Never EVER ignore professors who have ALL bad reviews. Those are generally pretty accurate.
 
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