Have you checked your final grades yet? If not, be on the look out. You should always be aware of your grades — even if you aren’t surprised by them.
If you are surprised by your grades — especially in the case of being surprised by how low they are (being surprised by how high they are is less of an issue. Celebrate!) — then consider taking the following steps:
1. Look at the syllabus for the course; check to make sure you understand what each piece of the course was “worth.” What was each assignment worth in terms of the entire course (10%? 20%? 25%?)? What was each exam worth?
2. Locate each of your assignments and the grade your received on each one of them. Add them up and do the required math in order to understand the value of each assignment vis-a-vis the course total.
3. If you think that you should have gotten a higher grade than what was posted as your final grade, consider sending your professor a note. In the note you want to be sure your tone is one of inquiry not one of accusation. You might consider something like:
Hi, this is (your first name and last name) from your Title of Course that met on Days and Times here. I was wondering about my final grade. I had tried to calculate my grade and when I did I thought I had earned XX total points out of ZZ possible. But, when I checked my final grade, I see that I got a (your grade). Could you let me know how I did on the final exam so that I can understand how I received the grade that I did?
Your Name Here.
It is absolutely OK to ask a professor about your final grade. It is not OK to state or be accusatory (blame your professor) until you have further information that helps you understand how the final grade was achieved. The easiest thing to do is ask. But, ask politely.
(We cover this in our book, by the way!)