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I am writing an email to my professor in hopes that I can make up an exam that I missed.

I missed the exam under fairly extreme circumstances, catching the flu and not being aware it was on that day, so I feel like I have a case to make. But the syllabus states that no make up exams are allowed, which makes me feel like adding personal pleas is my only hope. But I am also afraid that it might hurt my case more than help it.

This is my draft, as a starting point:

Hello,

This is XXXX from your Tue/Thu mornings Speech class. I came down with the flu last week and unfortunately I was too sick to attend class. I opened D2L today and was shocked to see that I missed the midterm.

Looked at the syllabus and I was horrified to find that the midterm is worth 20% of the final grade, which means that the highest possible grade for me is most likely a C, or a B only if I get 100% on everything.

It would mean a lot to me if you were to give a small extension to the exam, even for partial credit or a more difficult version of the test. I desperately need to get an A in all my classes this semester. I am planning to transfer to XXXX University to study Mathematics, and they have a very strict in their acceptance process. Until 2015 I was sort of a bad student with not the greatest GPA, which meant that my chances of getting into XXXX were non-existent. However ever since last summer I have been getting only A's in all my classes, and I am hoping that a string of straight A's will give me a chance to get into XXXX.

  • It really depends on what kind of person he is. If you know him very well, he may give you a little slack and help you out because of the additional personal information, but if he's the kind of professor who follows the rules very strictly and likes to do things the old fashioned way, he might not take to this very well, and simply reply with a 'no'. – White Fang Mar 20 '16 at 0:47
  • @WhiteFang Unfortunately I don't have a personal relationship with the professor, but I have had some minimal communication before/after class and it a fairly small class. She is not the type of professor who follows the rules very strictly I feel, but I am wondering if I included too much personal information or if she might get annoyed by me trying to put pressure with a personal appeal. – Ovi Mar 20 '16 at 0:51
  • You can rewrite the last part of the letter and take out the part detailing that exact University, just getting the point across that you are really in need of an A in the class and that it would be really nice if the professor would let you make this up. She will most likely let you make the midterm up if she does not follow up with the rules too strictly, because she has most likely been through the same thing as you have. It's really up to your opinion in the end, I'm just advising you on what I would do. – White Fang Mar 20 '16 at 1:20
  • No problem! I'm glad to help. – White Fang Mar 20 '16 at 1:57
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    I'm voting to close this question because "Asking how to write a particular kind of email, letter, memo, or other correspondence" is listed in the Help Centre as off-topic for writers.stackexchange. – mwo Mar 20 '16 at 9:17
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Personally, I think adding too many details harms your case --it makes you sound like someone who habitually searches for excuses rather than someone who experienced a valid, one-time emergency. Therefore, I would initially go with the simplest reasoning:

This is XXXX from your Tue/Thu mornings Speech class. I came down with the flu last week and was too sick to attend class the day of the midterm. While I understand that you do not generally allow makeups, I hope you will make an exception due to the medical nature of my absence.

If the request was denied, I would follow up with:

Is there any possibility I can do additional make up work to compensate for missing the exam? I desperately need to get an A in all my classes this semester. I am hoping to transfer to XXXX University to study Mathematics, and they have a very strict GPA requirement in their acceptance process.

You want to stick as closely as possible to your strongest reasons.

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  • I second this. Keep it short and to the point. The details will just trip you up. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 21 '16 at 19:25
  • +1 for requesting additional make up work. That is what I would do from the start. State clearly that I do not expect to be exempted form the existing class policy, but I am willing to do additional work to save my grade. The teacher can then suggest the make-up test because grading one more exam paper is a lot less work for them than thinking up and then grading a bunch of extra-credit assignments. – Henry Taylor Mar 21 '16 at 21:12

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