Contesting an Exam Grade

While most grades you receive in college are set in stone, there may come a time when you feel you are unfairly or incorrectly graded. In all honesty professors don’t have to give you extra points, but if you contest your grade and approach your professor in the correct manner he or she may alter your grade. Continue reading to discover what you need to do to make sure your grade challenge is a successful one.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two major forms of tests in college: the multiple choice scantron exam and the essay exam. You are probably well aware that sometimes scantrons can read answer choices wrong either because you incorrectly bubbled in the answer (meaning you used the wrong pencil, shaded the bubble only half way or did not properly erase an old answer choice). Either way, about 95 percent of the time scantron mistakes are your fault. Since it’s your responsibility to make sure you bubble in the answer choices correctly, most professors won’t give you credit even if you did partially shade in the correct answer. However, some professors aren’t as strict, and if you can prove that you did select the right answer choice they may give you credit. The best way to prove this is to go to your professor’s office hours and have him or her manually compare and contrast your handwritten test answers (not the ones on the scantron) to the test-key. If everything matches up, you should get the grade you deserve without any problems. So from here on out in addition to bubbling in an answer choice on your scantron make sure that you always select an answer choice on your handwritten exam as well.

For essay exams however, contesting your grade can be a little bit trickier. If you get your exam back and immediately disagree with your grade, it’s important that you don’t abruptly demand a grade change. Usually with essay exams professors will leave comments, explaining why you got the grade that you did. Make sure that you read those comments and take a day or two to absorb what your professor said to you. You might realize that you didn’t truly answer the prompt correctly. However, if after that time period you still feel as though you were unfairly graded, then make an appointment to discuss it with your professor.

No matter what type of exam you are challenging, it’s important that you contest your grade in a timely manner. Do not let other exams and assignments pass you up before you decide that you deserved a much higher grade on an older assignment or exam. This will reduce your chances of getting extra points because professors will find the past exam irrelevant. It’s also important that you maintain a professional demeanor at all times, make reasonable arguments, and try to keep your cool even if your professor denies your request for a grade change.

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