I'm a mathematics undergrad student. I failed two classes I took on the first semester so I had to repeat them. unfortunately, I failed again. I got 48 on one exam as you need to get 55 to pass, which is at the moment fairly enough for me.

How do I deal with repetitive failure like this, as I know these grades do not reflect my knowledge and my abilities? I'm not interested in changing my major as I love what I'm studying and I know that I could be good at that, but I need to overcome this obstacles and I don't know what else I could be doing.

  • 3
    You have two very different questions here which will make getting food answers more difficult. The appeal question hasn’t been answered yet, so I would recommend editing this question to focus on the second question about not being reflective of performance and ask a separate question about the appeal.
    – aeismail
    Aug 12, 2018 at 14:13
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    I don't know how appeals work in your academic system, but usually a successful appeal requires you to show that something in the professor's grading was objectively incorrect - e.g. you got something right and it was marked as wrong. If it was a judgment call, e.g. you got the question wrong but you disagree as to the amount of partial credit you received, that is much less likely to be changed on appeal. Aug 12, 2018 at 17:24
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    Just for info, there are at least four universities in the world with initials "TAU". My guess is that you are talking about Tel Aviv University, but anyway, when you are dealing with a worldwide audience like this, do not assume that everyone knows your acronyms...
    – user9646
    Aug 13, 2018 at 14:04
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    You say 'as I know these grades do not reflect my knowledge and my abilities'. How do you know that is true? Do you have other ways to show that you master the material? If you do, why do you fail on these exams? Is something wrong with the exams?
    – Jasper
    Aug 13, 2018 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


Something seems to be going on that you need to change. I don't have any idea what it is, but it isn't the grade or the "argument" that you need. You say your performance (repeated) isn't representative of your knowledge and abilities. That may be true or not, but something is getting in your way.

Is it the inability to study properly because you have too many obligations elsewhere? Do you have particularly bad study habits, say assuming you "learn" something by reading it? Do you have particularly bad teachers (also assuming you learn by hearing something once or reading it)? Is it that you had poor teaching in your past and so were never taught the basics? (I learned/memorized my multiplication tables, finally, after finishing a doctorate in mathematics.) Or are exams so stress inducing that you freeze up and can't think normally?

I'm not one to dismiss any student as not being able to learn mathematics so I won't insult you, but something is blocking you, whether internal or external. You need to find it and change it. It could be as "simple" as you are at the wrong school and they have no way to help you, or no desire to. (Yes, not so simple.) I've had some students who's background was so poor that it was impossible to figure out what I could do for them in the time available. Fortunately, math wasn't their main pursuit so they could be successful elsewhere, but it was very frustrating.

Each of the possibilities I've mentioned and others, has some way to overcome it. But first you need to self-diagnose the problem. Only then can you attack it.

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    @Jneven I agree with this answer except for "self-diagnose". If there's someone else who knows you well enough to give you honest help with the diagnosis, then get that help. Other people may have a more objective (and thus more useful) view of your situation than you do. Aug 12, 2018 at 22:24
  • @AndreasBlass, I agree, but self reflection is a good thing.
    – Buffy
    Aug 12, 2018 at 22:25
  • I hope this turned out to be useful.
    – Buffy
    Sep 30, 2023 at 16:04

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