I did bad on the midterm exam not because I did not understand the material well enough but I was anxious on the exam day and did not get enough sleep the night before.

I feel terrible about my grade. Is it professional to do extra work (maybe solve some problems) and ask him for a bonus?


Some professors will allow this, some will not, and some will get angry that you're even thinking they will allow extra credit.

See this for examples of what replies you might get. You'll have to decide whether you want to risk asking the question.

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    +1 for the article, especially for "So explain to the single mother who has struggled to take care of a sick child why you and not she deserves extra credit. Explain to the honor student who is taking 21 hours this semester and working in the dining hall why you and not she deserves extra credit." – cag51 Dec 24 '18 at 3:13
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    That article you linked to is excellent. – JoshuaZ Dec 24 '18 at 3:52

What level class is this and what sort of school? Some colleges will have more of a culture of flexibility about these things. However, my starting point would be that unless there's something mentioned in the syllabus, the answer is very likely going to be no; most people have a general attitude of a) not making special exceptions and b) aren't inclined to give extra credit for what is likely going to be mediocre work. A more useful way of responding is probably to instead go to the professor's office hours and go over the test with them, and make sure you understand the material. This is especially important because in many circumstances, later material builds on earlier material so it is vital to have a good command of the early material before you go on to the later material.

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  • +1 for explicitly mentioning the syllabus. I usually announce, at the start of the term, how I intend to compute grades. I then feel obligated to do what I said I'd do and not make ad hoc modifications. – Andreas Blass Dec 24 '18 at 5:11

It is not professional. Most professors are highly aggravated by these kinds of requests. Highly successful people are usually quite surprised to hear that other students ever thought it was possible or necessary to ask to bend the rules in this fashion.

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