Hmm...that's a difficult one. I think it all depends on the percentage that the work contributes to out of the whole MA. If it isn't very much then I probably wouldn't bother, because you could make up for it later, but then again this is YOUR work contributing to YOUR qualification - nobody else's. So perhaps you SHOULD say something and take it further. It isn't an UG degree anymore. An MA is a bit more serious and more focused to what you might want to do later on in life. If you need a good mark in order to apply for a Phd then I suggest you speak to somebody about that grade.
But I would discuss it very subtly if I were you, because you've still got these teachers for the rest of the year.
It could just be that the teacher who marked your work might be marking VERY harshly because they know so much about the subject. Nevertheless, you'll feel gutted later on if you just left it, in the hope of improving in the next assignment. What if something goes wrong in the next one and you don't achieve the mark you should be getting? That would make the mark for this piece much more important.
Good luck :-)
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First of all, don't worry too much about this (easier said than done). Remember it's all a learning curve. How much does it count towards the final MA and can it seriously affect your final mark? I'd question it if is going to upset your chances of achieving the final grade/result which you have in mind. If it's not going to do any harm, I'd be inclined to mull over the comments for a few days. Then come back, re-read the work and see if you still feel the same.
During my MA I was very close to complaining about some ridiculously harsh criticism on an essay (you wouldn't believe how harsh--it pretty much said I was illiterate), because all of my other marks had been really good up until this point. I asked for a meeting with the marker, and they asked me to just think about it for a few days and then come back to them. I did, and I was able to see where some of the bad comments were comming from. I still believe he is a very strict marker, but I'm glad I didn't complain because (depending on your subject) the marker's opinion always plays a part, and you might just have a harsh reviewer. Who's to say you won't again?
For me, I think it worked out for the best in the end, because I really learned from some of the comments and I think it made future work better.
Of course, having said all that, in your case, your work might have been treated very unfairly, and not just strictly. In this case, it is worth following up.
Good luck. M,x
Also, just want to add that you have my sympathy entirely and that I hate nothing more than criticism which isn't constructive.
Button, I think that if you can view it as a potential learning experience then go and see the marker in question. Don't go in guns blazing and tell them it was unfair, but just explain that you were interested in the topic and would like to better understand where you went wrong in the essay. If there's a reasonable explanation (given this person is an expert, there may be) then you'll come out enlightened, while that's not fantastic compensation for a low mark it does at least give you clarity . If the marker in question is in fact just a hard-nosed git, then you'll know it wasn't your fault and be free to consider that formal complaint. But I really would suss things out with your marker before making a decision about whether to go higher.
If it makes you feel any better, in my third year I had a course I absolutely loved; got >90% in every practical or essay, was class rep, yadd yadda yadda..... I came out of the exam with an overall course grade of 11/20. I was gutted. When I spoke to my tutor she told me firmly that the grade was right, I thought she was horrible! However she then went onto explain that she only knew it was right because she'd already double checked herself out of surprise. While the grade really sucked (and I still don't understand how I got it) her encouragement on putting the mark into perspective restored my confidence enough to keep the subject on. My long-winded way of saying that if this doesn't get resolved the way you hope then don't sweat it, you know you're good and that your other grades reflect your true abilities.
My view on this is regardless of what mark you get, you should always be asking for feedback on how to improve. And when you do, if you don't understand it or agree with it, it's absolutely fair to ask the person to elaborate.
So take a couple of days to get your head together, then go see the marker and ask them about the feedback they gave you. You don't have to mention that you're thinking of making a complaint, just get the record straight on why you got the low mark. If you still think the grade wasn't fair, then they can always bring in someone else (e.g. external examiner) to investigate.
Thanks so much everyone, I need to learn not to take things so personally, but it's difficult!
I've taken your advice and am meeting the person who marked my work tomorrow. I'm not going with the view of demanding the mark be reconsidered, but like you said just going to get more information and feedback about where I went wrong. This has been a major learning experience for me! Will let you all know how it goes tomorrow!
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