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Friday, April 19, 2024

Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursdays

During your time at UC Davis, there is a good chance you will end up taking a class you neither need nor like. Occasionally, these classes are harder than they seem. However, let’s say you recognize your disdain for the subject too late, and you can’t drop the class. What do you do then? Luckily there is a solution: if you are in good academic standing, you may request to take the class on a pass/no pass (P/NP) basis. Though some students believe that taking a class P/NP looks poor on a transcript, it is often a better option than receiving a poor grade in a class and duly lowering your overall grade-point average. There are also a few other benefits that make this option more appealing.

For example, if you are a science major who is 100 percent positive that you want to switch into the College of Letters and Science after you fail a chemistry midterm, it makes sense to complete that class P/NP. That way, the poor grade you receive will not affect your GPA. Also, you won’t have to waste your time retaking the class when you don’t even need it for your new major.

Here’s another example: If you are taking a class just for fun, and you decide that you’ve made a terrible mistake, opting for a P/NP grade is better than having a D or an F on your graduate school application.

Pass/no pass is also a useful grading system if you want to explore interests outside of your current major, but are unsure as to how well you will do in them. In these cases, taking a class P/NP is a great way to try out new subjects while alleviating the pressure of an A to F grading scale. Besides, somehow, classes always seem more fun when you take away the pressure of grades.

Finally, if you are a graduating senior who has finished all your major classes but needs more units to graduate, taking a class P/NP can help lighten your workload. It will mostly likely be the (first and) last time you can congratulate yourself for passing with a C-.

Keep in mind, you do not receive units for a NP grade, and the amount of classes you are allowed to take P/NP varies across Colleges. The classes that are unsuitable for P/NP grading are major requirements, classes fulfilling graduate school requirements, and mandatory breadth courses (a.k.a. GE requirements). If you are still unsure as to which classes you should take P/NP, speak to an adviser. It’ll stop you from making the wrong decision.

For all of you debating about taking a class P/NP, be sure to weigh the pros and cons and make your decision by Friday, May 4th. P/NP grading may allow you to explore a new major/minor, save your GPA, or even help you relax a bit during this lovely spring quarter.

The Academic Affairs Commission (AAC) is an advisory board to the ASUCD Senate on all academic matters at UC Davis and throughout the UC system. Each week the AAC will give you tips about academic success!


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