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UIC Fifth-Year Crunches The Numbers to Keep a Passing Grade for Final Exams

Jeffrey Small is a 5th-year senior at UIC who is finishing up his final semester. He’s currently enrolled in Earth Science 101 (“Rocks for Jocks”) for his final gen-ed, and he’s looking to scrape by with the bare minimum.

“Getting a ‘D’ still counts as passing the course, right?” Small asks, poring over a sheet of numbers. “According to this, I only need a 13% on the final to keep a D; I have an 83% right now.”

Small sifted through the dozens of spreadsheets in front of him, putting every number into his iPhone calculator, double checking his math.

“So if attendance is weighted at 12% of my final grade…I can miss the rest of class all semester and it’ll only take me down 1%!” Small, ecstatic at the thought exclaimed, “That means I can go out drinking every night for the rest of the semester! I should be able to get a 13% on the final without studying, right?”

Another student in the class, Rebecca Jones, overheard his answer and chimed in:

“I’ve been studying every day for a month already, I haven’t left the 4th floor of the library in a week! There’s so much information to memorize!”

Rebecca is a freshman at UIC and Earth Science is her first collegiate final. The Black Sheep asked her if she was worried about the coming weeks.

“Oh I’m petrified,” Jones told us, “I think I’ll be okay though, Professor Malone told us if we take it seriously we’ll be fine – I’ve taken it so seriously I haven’t slept since the field trip to the Field Museum!”

Small’s dreams, however, faded days later.

“My math was all there, I crunched all the numbers correctly, I drank every night in celebration, and I overslept my exam!” Small noted. “The 13% I needed is now a 0%, and I failed the course. I guess I’ll just have to come back again next semester!”

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