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h3jk5h
12-26-2011, 10:37 PM
I'm a first year student who is studying at u of t. I am wondering if there is official statistic of how many students or the percentage of university students (u of t especially) get above 3.9+ gpa? 5%? 10%?

I have average intelligence compared to the average university student, can hard ethic alone get me 3.9+ gpa?

I'm looking for some motivation..

Singh
12-26-2011, 10:50 PM
In terms of ranking at U of T, all I know is this:

- if you get the Dean's List award, GPA > 3.5, you fall in the top 10% in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences

- if you get the University of Toronto Scholar Award, you fall in the top 50 science students in your year (percentage-based)

- you can always go to your college, ask and they'll find out your rank (it's either GPA or percentage-based, not sure which). mind you, it'll be a rank for students in your college, not the entire university

charmer08
12-27-2011, 09:05 AM
GPA > 3.7 = the top 15% in the university
(Golden Key honour society tells us that :/)

But 3.9+ gpas are rare... Most of those will be found in the sciences tho.

medigeek
12-27-2011, 12:29 PM
I would work for a >3.9 cause then if you do it right, you'll end up at about a 3.80 which still gives you a good shot in Ontario, especially if your best 2 years are higher/3rd year is best.. etc etc

I don't know how smart you are, but you do need to be quite smart (relative to your student population) to achieve a 3.9 on top of extensive hard work.

muse87
12-27-2011, 12:41 PM
At this university I was just short of the top 1.5 percent in their faculty with a 3.88 one year, I know because there's a scholarship that's automatically given out to the top 1.5 percent percent of the faculty, and was told i was .03 (an A- versus A in a class, 1 mc question in this case ;)) away from receiving the scholarship, keep in mind this was in the faculty of arts, in the faculty of science you usually need a 4.0, with a few A+'s. A girl I casually dated got the scholarship with a 4.0 and 6 A+'s, 4 A's, but I have a feeling she was on the higher end up that 1.5 percent, needless to say, she's rather brilliant. I went to a major top 5 university so that should give you a decent idea, although U of T may grade a bit harder.

muse87
12-27-2011, 12:44 PM
Yeah, that's what my golden key thing said too, it's a very right tailed distribution from 3.7 to 4.0 with a lot more of the people falling closer to 3.7 (as exemplified by 3.88 being top 3 percent maybe, and 3.7 being top 15 percent, circa. 2 minutes ago in prev post).

GPA > 3.7 = the top 15% in the university
(Golden Key honour society tells us that :/)

But 3.9+ gpas are rare... Most of those will be found in the sciences tho.

Curi0user
12-27-2011, 01:01 PM
GPA > 3.7 = the top 15% in the university
(Golden Key honour society tells us that :/)

But 3.9+ gpas are rare... Most of those will be found in the sciences tho.

i dont know how true this is lol. my friend got the golden key letter and she has a gpa of 3.3 LOL. Shes not in sciences though.

sunshinesky101
12-27-2011, 01:16 PM
Golden Key sends out those letters based on GPA in that particular year and not for overall cGPA.....maybe that's why your friend got that letter. I know people who got it and that was the case for them.

MeGusta
12-27-2011, 01:24 PM
What scholarship do you get at york if your GPA's 4.0?

h3jk5h
12-27-2011, 01:30 PM
Why is it harder to get a 3.9+ gpa in arts and science than sciences?

charmer08
12-27-2011, 01:31 PM
Golden Key sends out those letters based on GPA in that particular year and not for overall cGPA.....maybe that's why your friend got that letter. I know people who got it and that was the case for them.

yeah my friend got one too in the winter semester of 2nd year but he got it based on his first year marks... he did terrible the fall semester on 2nd year and was no where near a 3.7

charmer08
12-27-2011, 01:34 PM
What scholarship do you get at york if your GPA's 4.0?

In the faculty of science and engineering, you're on the presidents honour roll if you got a 9.0 last year on 30 credits. But theres no money.

charmer08
12-27-2011, 01:37 PM
Why is it harder to get a 3.9+ gpa in arts and science than sciences?

Firstly, there are more people who are aiming for professional school in the sciences that require ridiculously high gpas, so therefore more chances of people getting a 3.9+ gpa.
Secondly, theres many arts classes where they don't hand out A+s.

muse87
12-27-2011, 01:42 PM
Profs don't really give out A+'s very often, and there's a more nebulous skill set required to be able to get A's and A-'s, getting an A+ in a science course isn't necessarily easier, but there is a much more clear path to getting it, if you do all the problem sets, and work really hard, the result of the test is usually pre-ordained, in the arts you have to be able to recognize and master all of the concepts (which are often more broad in nature as well), plus be able to articulate your ideas, criticize them, find flaws, have excellent technical writing skills...) most people can work hard and get the facts down, so that's why arts students tend to have an easier time getting B's and B+'s than science students, explaining the clustering at the mean, however, being able to use the information you're taught is something with no clear path to mastering, so no matter how hard you work, if you're not learning how to master these soft skills properly (which is hard, because there's no guide book... my guidebook was dating an english major for three years, who was a far better writer than i am)... because it's hard to get an A in every class, and because there's less of a correlation with effort and grades, it's harder to get 3.9-4.0 in the arts, because you'll inevitably get an A-, B+ or something, even if you're good (often when you take classes outside of your major that are filled with people who have a lot of background in philosophy, when you're say a classics students, you're at a disadvantage, there's less crossover than in the sciences due to the lack of pre-requisites for a lot of arts classes).

Why is it harder to get a 3.9+ gpa in arts and science than sciences?

questforstarfish
12-27-2011, 01:44 PM
I also have average intelligence, but a strong study ethic, good organization and I try to "study smart" and find which methods work best for me. I'm only done my first semester and a half of year 1 but I'm at a 3.9 right now, so yes, it is possible! :)

Cerena
12-27-2011, 03:01 PM
My bf has consistently gotten >3.9 in university and I spent a long time catching up do (though, I never fully did haha). But I found a few things help:
-obtaining practice tests
- never handing in assignments late
- not studying in study sessions that are unproductive
- identifying what your strengths and weaknesses are
- syllabus is a wonderful thing... it allows you to allocate your study time wisely
- figuring out the best way to learn for you (when I stopped spending unnecessary time reading my text books in my biochem classes I started to get better grades - YouTube animations & my own notes helped me more!)

Hope this gives a bit of motivation for you. I wish I realized how much of my study time was being spent unaffectively much earlier! But finally, I feel like I kind of get it :p

rmorelan
12-27-2011, 03:12 PM
Firstly, there are more people who are aiming for professional school in the sciences that require ridiculously high gpas, so therefore more chances of people getting a 3.9+ gpa.
Secondly, theres many arts classes where they don't hand out A+s.

At Waterloo lot of my arts courses topped out at 95%. It was actually impossible to get perfect - not that I am complaining about 95% in an assignment but it always struck me as odd that it was just not possible to do better.

There were I think at total of 10 people who got an average over 88% in my last year in Arts at Waterloo for my year. That is across all programs - about 3000 students. It was much higher in the Sciences where there is more reason to get higher grades and likely I suspect pressure back on the system to award those grades.

shikimate
12-27-2011, 05:09 PM
ASSU should still have grade distribution tables from 06-07. It varies by course, as few as no A+ in some class, with upper year courses generally giving out more A+ (come on uoft life sci especially in upper years is not as bad as people describe it).

McMarauder
12-27-2011, 06:13 PM
I don't think it's helpful to look at the faculty/college as a whole or even UTSG life sciences as a whole.

There's a great deal of variation in terms of specialization/major/minor and therefore the courses. Although I don't know if you can find grade distributions for specific programs.

medigeek
12-27-2011, 11:11 PM
I also have average intelligence, but a strong study ethic, good organization and I try to "study smart" and find which methods work best for me. I'm only done my first semester and a half of year 1 but I'm at a 3.9 right now, so yes, it is possible! :)

a person of average intelligence does not attend a university, and will struggle to pass grade 10 math with a 55 lolz.

a person of average intelligence in university will get a ~2.5-2.6 GPA and they will achieve this with a moderately solid amount of work. unless something really held them back, no amount of work will turn that into a 3.9 unless they will up bird courses.

point: you need to be pretty smart to get a 3.9 (hence you are).

medigeek
12-27-2011, 11:14 PM
Why is it harder to get a 3.9+ gpa in arts and science than sciences?

lol ever try to get a high 90 or 100 on an essay?

rmorelan
12-28-2011, 12:01 AM
lol ever try to get a high 90 or 100 on an essay?

Yeah not easy - it took way, way, way more effort to get high grades in the arts side of my degrees than the science side. Easy to get a simple C or B but beyond that it just takes seemly exponentially more time to get a higher grade.

muse87
12-28-2011, 04:05 AM
I've gotten quite a few A+'s on essays, the girl I mentioned who got the top 1.5 percent award has gotten a 100 on a lot more essays than me, she's a clever one, it's not impossible at all, it's just hard to do consistently on every essay... you'll inevitably get a b+ or a b on a paper, so your grades may be: A+, A+, A+, A+, B, and you have a 3.8 overall, even though there were 4 classes where you go in the a's.

lol ever try to get a high 90 or 100 on an essay?

medigeek
12-28-2011, 11:15 AM
I've gotten quite a few A+'s on essays, the girl I mentioned who got the top 1.5 percent award has gotten a 100 on a lot more essays than me, she's a clever one, it's not impossible at all, it's just hard to do consistently on every essay... you'll inevitably get a b+ or a b on a paper, so your grades may be: A+, A+, A+, A+, B, and you have a 3.8 overall, even though there were 4 classes where you go in the a's.

Ya you either got the ability to get high 90s on essays or you don't. You can't really progress up to it by learning more and more (like in science/math classes).

charmer08
12-28-2011, 11:22 AM
Ya you either got the ability to get high 90s on essays or you don't. You can't really progress up to it by learning more and more (like in science/math classes).

uhm not really... some people really struggle with physics/chem/math (even physiology)... theres many people that are more than happy with a B in calculus

rmorelan
12-28-2011, 01:08 PM
Ya you either got the ability to get high 90s on essays or you don't. You can't really progress up to it by learning more and more (like in science/math classes).

I would challenge this actually - the entire point of an arts degree is to teach you have to do better on essays (and everything else that goes a long with it). I definitely saw my improvements as I went a long. I was known in high school as relatively weak in english - I hated the subject and put no effort into it. At the time I as your typical science nerd.

However in my Arts degree I was one of the top students in the college of Arts at my school because it cared about the subject and worked hard at it. I always assumed before people were artsy or scientifically mind set and weren't both. I think I was really wrong - both are just skills we learn and develop over time.

Essays are like anything - it takes practice, practice, practice. You have to care about doing better, research how other writing, examine everything and sink time into it, and revise, revise, revise. I don't really believe much in the natural ability argument beyond a point. I do believe in accumulative advantage though - I spent 4-5 hours a day writing essays for 4 years and of course that makes a difference.

Side note this is how I prepared for the WS section on the MCAT. Went from a P to an S in that section (pre and post arts degree). Long term practice - wrote an MCAT essay a day for about 6 months (about 150 essays in total - wasn't going to let Queen's knock me off with their admissions rules :) ).

That all being said - when I am tired or distracted my spelling still goes down the tubes and I cannot write essays quickly. Sometimes I will spend an hour working on a few sentences. Oh well, perhaps I still need more practice :)

Dino
12-28-2011, 01:54 PM
GPA > 3.7 = the top 15% in the university
(Golden Key honour society tells us that :/)

But 3.9+ gpas are rare... Most of those will be found in the sciences tho.

Hey! I'm a member two. Them Americans spell it Honor, though.

Back on topic, guilty of 3.9+.

Dino
12-28-2011, 02:08 PM
At this university I was just short of the top 1.5 percent in their faculty with a 3.88 one year, I know because there's a scholarship that's automatically given out to the top 1.5 percent percent of the faculty, and was told i was .03 (an A- versus A in a class, 1 mc question in this case ;)) away from receiving the scholarship, keep in mind this was in the faculty of arts, in the faculty of science you usually need a 4.0, with a few A+'s. A girl I casually dated got the scholarship with a 4.0 and 6 A+'s, 4 A's, but I have a feeling she was on the higher end up that 1.5 percent, needless to say, she's rather brilliant. I went to a major top 5 university so that should give you a decent idea, although U of T may grade a bit harder.

Grading is usually made on a bell-shaped curve. Believe it or not, many science books, such as Leninger, will send professors exam books and CD-Roms, which, of course, are not availale to students. These contain exam questions in different degrees of toughness, giving statistics on the percentage of people that should be able to answer them correctly in an average class, so instructors can buid an exam that, in most cases, result in an average class scoring between 66% - 72%, with a bell-shaped distribution. These books are quite thick and, were students succeed in getting their eager fingers on them, they still would not be able to know which of the many questions would be on the exam.

Dino
12-28-2011, 02:16 PM
i dont know how true this is lol. my friend got the golden key letter and she has a gpa of 3.3 LOL. Shes not in sciences though.

Arts and the humanities tend to be more subjective and often require essay answers. These exams are harder to score objectively as, unlike science, one cannot show their understanding with formulae, calculations, citing rules and solving problems which usually, in sciences, can be done using only a few sets of rules. T.A.s and instructors are hesitant to give near perfect scores and, as a result, there are less 3.8 and above and less fails, but the class averages are about the same as in sciences. This results in arts students being invited to join the Golden Key with lower GPAs. Even top science students don't fare better in arts and humanities than top arts and humanities students.

Dino
12-28-2011, 02:37 PM
My bf has consistently gotten >3.9 in university and I spent a long time catching up do (though, I never fully did haha). But I found a few things help:
-obtaining practice tests
- never handing in assignments late
- not studying in study sessions that are unproductive
- identifying what your strengths and weaknesses are
- syllabus is a wonderful thing... it allows you to allocate your study time wisely
- figuring out the best way to learn for you (when I stopped spending unnecessary time reading my text books in my biochem classes I started to get better grades - YouTube animations & my own notes helped me more!)

Hope this gives a bit of motivation for you. I wish I realized how much of my study time was being spent unaffectively much earlier! But finally, I feel like I kind of get it :p

I think that Wikipedia and Youtube are the next great sources of information. Unlike many textbook websites, one doesn't need to pucharse anything enter a code from their textbooks to register. Youtube also has the advantage of showing animations which can greatly help visually oriented people that are less skilled at verbal, textbook style understanding. This includes many science types.

Cerena
12-28-2011, 04:22 PM
I think that Wikipedia and Youtube are the next great sources of information. Unlike many textbook websites, one doesn't need to pucharse anything enter a code from their textbooks to register. Youtube also has the advantage of showing animations which can greatly help visually oriented people that are less skilled at verbal, textbook style understanding. This includes many science types.

Most definitely. I really struggled when reading my textbooks and did not identify the problem until maybe 3rd year? Say, for instance, understanding the citric acid cycle. I remember reading the text over and over again, and nothing stuck. But, when I watched a YouTube animation, it all made sense. The visual presentation clicked. And I can still remember it!

muse87
12-28-2011, 07:29 PM
interesting, i took 3 classes that used leningers, all of our classes exams were clearly written by the instructors though, but when you have something like leningers thats been around forever it doesn't surprise me that they've been able to collect enough data to standardize base rates of correctness.


Grading is usually made on a bell-shaped curve. Believe it or not, many science books, such as Leninger, will send professors exam books and CD-Roms, which, of course, are not availale to students. These contain exam questions in different degrees of toughness, giving statistics on the percentage of people that should be able to answer them correctly in an average class, so instructors can buid an exam that, in most cases, result in an average class scoring between 66% - 72%, with a bell-shaped distribution. These books are quite thick and, were students succeed in getting their eager fingers on them, they still would not be able to know which of the many questions would be on the exam.