Tricky situation- help me navigate this

While I don’t really want to say I’m in a pickle just yet, there’s a situation growing in my academic program and I could use some feedback.

The semester is mostly looking pretty good. There was one extremely hard class I’ve gotten a B- in, with everything else projecting to be an A through B+. Until two weeks ago.

I got a midterm back and my grade was a 22/40. I was absolutely floored. I didn’t think I nailed it, but I didn’t think I did that badly. But when I got my exam back I went from being stunned to being angry. Almost every question I got wrong was a simple question. And moreover, I gave answers that just weren’t exactly what the prof was looking for. I hate people who make excuses but I’m going to do that now. Because I took this same course at another school, I already know a lot of the material well enough that I have trouble giving the simple, succinct answers being sought. Other students could easily define “antigen” because the one-sentence definition given in class was all they knew on the matter. I could write you 2-3 pages discussing antigens. I didn’t successfully give the answer being sought out of the information I know. By my count, I feel I should have gotten a 34/40 or thereabouts. Frequently, even if I didn’t give the right answer, I gave an answer that I felt left very little doubt that I understood the concept.

So here’s where things stand. Assuming I do perfectly on the final, I’ll have a B- in the class. Two B-'s in my program is enough to land me on academic probation and I need to apply to stay in the program. If I get below a 95%, I’ll get a C which will have the same result but making my case will be harder.

Also, I have knowledge that I’m not the only person in this position. A friend of mine is in similar straits and the prof apparently told her that 8 students total really effed the exam up. The class has 25 people in it. I’ve met with the prof about it, who really just seemed annoyed with me more than anything else. I met with my chair who didn’t really advise me any more than to do my best on the final because I can still get a passing grade. I’ve e-mailed my academic advisor for a meeting and see her later this week.

And making that grade is difficult because I hate the situation I’m in. I’m having trouble studying for the final because I can’t even think about the class without feeling a sense of doom and panic. I need a 95% (38/40) on the final. The highest grade in the class on the midterm was a 92% (~37/40). The way this prof grades, “-1” is her standard point deduction for a correct answer that’s missing something (10 questions, 4 points each). So I basically need a perfect grade. The syllabus is explicit that there is no curve or extra credit.

I’m feeling incredibly down right now and could use advice.

I can’t figure out how to edit my post right now, so I’m adding an addendum.

To clarify, this would be my second B-. I’m not sure it was clear but the first B- was in a short half-semester class. Two B-'s or one C result in academic probation and require me to present a case that I should be allowed to continue in the program. If I do perfectly in this class, it’ll be my second B-. If I do less than perfectly, it’ll be a C. I’m not considering what would happen if I fail. That would be automatic dismissal with no chance to appeal, and honestly, would require that the final go nearly as poorly as the midterm did.

For a number of reasons I prefer not to get into, I can’t imagine the chair intervening in the situation. I have no idea what the implications would be for the administration if a third of the class is in danger of winding up on academic probation, but I don’t get the impression that any lifelines are being thrown.

When I see my advisor, I’m basically going to say: Here’s the situation. Should I be worried? Because I’m worried and losing sleep. My advisor is great and in charge of the PhD program, so I trust her to give me a straight analysis. The last time I saw her I hadn’t gotten this grade back yet.

I asked another prof for advice (a new prof) who said I was the fourth student overall to come to her about this exam. She actually suggested I go to the Chair and tell him directly that there’s a lot of concern among the student body about the situation. When I talked to him I told him I was concerned about my grade but that was it. I’m wondering if I should go back and have that conversation. I don’t know that he’s aware a third of the class is in dire straits.