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I graduated around 3 years ago with a degree, from a Russell Group university, in Mathematics. I had some mental health issues in my final term which essentially bombed my grade. Since I had no previously reported issues with anxiety, my extenuating circumstances were denied, (despite me having a panic attack in the middle of an exam and going to A&E since I thought I had some sort of food poisoning.)

Luckily, I was on track for a high 2:2/ low 2:1 so I did still pass my degree overall and obviously this was around 3 years ago and I have been doing well in my career etc. so this isn’t about how to find a job with this grade.

I don’t like having this grade and I know I can do better and I was just wondering: does anyone knows a way that I can increase my grade (post graduation)?

I’m working full time and don’t want to go back to university full time, but I’m open to taking night classes/extra courses. I wouldn’t mind taking something more related to the work I’m doing now rather than mathematics, but most of the courses I’d be interested in are closely related to my original degree. (e.g. coding, cyber security, finance)

Living and working in London


To update anyone who is reading this in the future and was feeling the same as me - pretty bummed about my grade. I have received a job offer recently for an incredible position. The position usually would require a 2:2 or higher, but due to my 3+ years of experience in industry they offered the job (not just as basic pay but with an experience and skills bonus). To everyone who answered, thank-you! - You were all right and it's not something I need.

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    You graduated - the course is done, there's nothing that can be changed about your results. That's not to say you can't go on to further study in night classes and/or online courses, for professional development. – Emma Aug 5 '19 at 14:35
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    @user111388 Undergraduate degree classifications/grades in the UK. In order from highest to lowest, the classifications are first, 2.1, 2.2, third, pass, fail. I think a 2.2 is equivalent to a C-average in the US system, although I am happy to be corrected if wrong there. – Emma Aug 5 '19 at 15:10
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    Why is this question being downvoted? Even if the answer is no, that doesn't mean it's a bad question. – Federico Poloni Aug 5 '19 at 17:40
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    You don't quite explain why you need a better grade. You state that you have a satisfactory career now, which I'm reading as you are not impeded by your grades. If so, then following that argument, you'd want a better grade for personal satisfaction. If that is the case, why don't you retake the same exam (if available) alone at home to demonstrate to yourself that you can score a 100? Why would you be dependent on the validation of others? – user3209815 Aug 6 '19 at 7:27
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    @user3209815 To be honest, I get embarresed when people ask me what grade I got at uni. I know I shouldn't care what they think but whether it's friends or prospective employers, I don't want to make my excuses, no matter how valid. – Bee Aug 6 '19 at 9:08
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There's nothing you can do to change your grade on a completed degree. What you can do is do well in your job so that no one cares about your old grades, which it sounds like you've done. So congrats on that! The real issue here isn't your grades, it's that you're still feeling a lot of anxiety about your college experience. I'd suggest talking to a therapist about that. You can't change your grade, but you can better understand the feelings you're having about your college experience, and you can change how you think about those grades. I wish you all the best.

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    I'm with Noah's answer in a way that if you're not looking for a material gain from changing you grades – like career or academia –, then there might be something about your feelings that you may want to pay attention to. Although therapy could help you, you may get the answers by asking yourself questions like: what am I looking for when trying to change those grades? Are there other ways to fulfill that feeling? – Ricardo Aug 6 '19 at 0:51
  • Let's say, for example, you wanted to prove to yourself that you're smart enough to get that A+, even if nobody saw those new grades. Sure, you can do night classes and get the results. But perhaps, taking on other more advanced intellectual projects that are also useful in the long run could help you fulfill that feeling too. Maybe you could be teaching that subject to college kids – like a tutor. – Ricardo Aug 6 '19 at 0:56
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    @Noah, thanks for the supportive answer. I think your answer gives the best advise so I will accept now the recommend 24 hours has passed. It's a shame the answer is no, but everyone is right that I need to let it go and move on :) – Bee Aug 6 '19 at 16:03
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    @Bee: I'm glad you found the answer helpful. It's really normal to want to change things in the past that you regret, and my experience with that kind of anxiety is that you can't just "let it go and move on" by willing it hard enough, because the feeling won't just go away by ignoring it. You're better off understanding that feeling and finding things other than changing the past which will help you with why you're having those feelings. – Noah Snyder Aug 6 '19 at 17:10
  • Ricardo's comment suggests some of the kinds of things you might do which might help you (and would certainly help some people in your situation), but you'd get suggestions more tailored to you if you spoke about your feelings in more detail with someone. – Noah Snyder Aug 6 '19 at 17:13
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The grades in your first degree cease to matter as soon as you can establish some success in a subsequent career, as you seem to have done.

If it really bugs you that your degree class was lower than you think you were capable of, then by all means take an Open University degree to prove that you can do better. A close friend of mine who has never accepted his second class degree, 40 years ago (despite a subsequent PhD!), has now accumulated no fewer than three first class Open University degrees.

But don't expect employers to be particularly interested in your undergraduate degree class once you have a few years work experience under your belt.

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    I'm not sure that last paragraph is true. I got a 2.2 (in 1980), and about 10 years ago (certainly less than 20 years ago) a recruitment agency said "Hmmm" when I pointed this out. Apparently the fact it was from Cambridge balanced the low grade out (which is daft). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Aug 6 '19 at 13:25
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    @MartinBonner interesting. A recruitment agency is not quite the same thing as an employer, and I did not say that no employer would be interested in a long past degree result. When I was an employer, I certainly wasn't, and, earlier in my career when I was a partner in a big four accountancy firm that prided itself on recruiting only the best and brightest, my boss could boast of a solid double 3rd (from Cambridge, as it happens) – JeremyC Aug 6 '19 at 13:57
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    @Martin generally the calibre of my uni does balance out the grade, but I think you're right that a lot of recruiters want to tick boxes no matter what. The same was true getting on grad schemes. That's why I went for small companies that hand select – Bee Aug 6 '19 at 14:08
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I doubt that anything you can do now will change the past. But you can prepare for your future if you figure out what you want it to be.

The old grades will stand, but if your future includes study and another degree you can work there to improve your prospects.

Your past will be evaluated differently by different people and for different situations. No one can control that. But if you have an acceptable explanation you can move on, generally speaking. Your past isn't an immutable indicator of your future. But your path forward may be a bit twisty, depending on your goals.

Once you have a goal in mind, it would be good to talk to someone knowledgeable about it for advice in moving forward.

And note that most people evaluate recent work as more relevant than older. So, once you establish that you can succeed, you can move past the older experience.

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If you're in your career now it will eventually get to a point where your experience and past employers matter more than your University grades. What matters isthat you HAVE that degree. It's a bummer, i know, but it is not the end of the World.

Good luck!

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I feel your frustration. I was aiming for the highest honours rank for the University-entrance examination in my country and, due to extreme stress during the examination period, I almost miss the high honours. Not that it really matters, but it bothered me and stressed me for a long time, and friends teasing me didn't help.

A grade is just a picture of your abilities in a given subject on a given day. And not a fully accurate picture either since the professor has to choose a sample of problems to try to represent the whole subject. Because of extenuating circumstances, you couldn't perform at your full capacities during these examinations. In short, your grades does not represent your skills and knowledge.

That's sad but you cannot change it. What you can change is what you think of yourself. Instead of telling yourself "I got poor grades and despite of it, I was fortunate enough to be offered a good job.", say

(Despite of extenuating circumstances), I was able to graduate, and I landed a good job where I can show I am skilled in my subject.

You can repeat the above sentence (or another one that motivates you more) whenever you feel down. You can tell that to people when they ask about university. It is the truth and by repeating it, you will slowly convince yourself of it. Remember that many people, in similar circumstances that you faced, may have failed their examinations and dropped from university.

Ultimately, if this is a too heavy weight to carry, you should seek help from a specialist.

  • Taladris, have you read the user's own update to their question? – Yemon Choi Sep 27 '19 at 12:47

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