1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Am I actually expected to be able to solve every question?

  1. Sep 22, 2009 #1
    I'm in a Calc1 course, and there is no way I can actually solve all the questions assigned to me. Is this normal or am i a r*tard?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What are you having trouble on? Maybe you need to re-read the topic to fully understand it. You might think that you "know" it simply because you can follow the example problems, which are most of the time the easy problems. If/when you can do all the problems, you can safely say that you actually understand the topic.
  4. Sep 22, 2009 #3
    I literally spend hours of the day trying to solve the most convoluted problems i've ever seen. It's just frustrating.
  5. Sep 22, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I don't think anyone no matter who smart or not is expected to know everything. If such a person existed I'm sure the world would soon know about them but it hasn't happened.

    If you are stuck on something go ask your professor/lecturer or post it in the forums outlining your attempts and your thought processes behind doing the question.

    You're not a retard. Maths is quite a difficult subject even for the best students.

    Consider that its taken people thousands and thousands of years to develop a very sophisticated science that while being beautiful, is extremely complex and demanding of ones time and ability to truly grasp and appreciate.

    Good luck with it and don't get disillusioned if you are having trouble: be persistent and I guarantee things will pay off for you.
  6. Sep 23, 2009 #5
    Often it seems that problems are given that are seemingly just out of a students reach (our professor told us this) so that the student has to work for hours, and more than likely doesn't arrive at the solution, but the attempts are what matters. It helps you go through the processes of solving a problem.

    Since your calc1 and it is early in the year, I am guessing it is all precalc/algebra still and most likely some proofs of different ideas. These are hard.
  7. Sep 23, 2009 #6
    Well lax, you could post some sample problems with your attempted answer and see if other people get your answer. I am in Calc 2, so I do not mind helping you out.
  8. Sep 23, 2009 #7
    thanks guys.
  9. Sep 23, 2009 #8
    I actually get a lot of problems every night for my calc2 class also. I do not ever do them all I do enough until I understand the section of the book. I just got lucky with a teacher that never takes up homework he assigns.
  10. Sep 23, 2009 #9
    The homework help section is the most active on physicsforums. You are not the only one.
  11. Sep 23, 2009 #10
    I think you already got the answer to your question, but yes, you are actually expected to be able to solve every question if you want to do well in the class.

    That being said, you're not expected to be able to solve every question at the first sight. It's more likely that your professor/instructor wants you to think every question before the due date of your assignment. That thinking can take from a second to hours/days depending on your understanding of the material.

    Here are some suggestions that might shorten that thinking time...

    1. Read the textbook. I do understand that math textbooks are often dry and boring, but it really helps to read it, especially before the lecture since you'll get to think about the course material ahead of the time. It might be better to read the problems before the lectures as well. This might be adding your work time, but it's much helpful in the long run, and besides, I don't think reading a section/chapter in a math textbook can take that much time compared to reading a chapter in a novel.

    2. Do all the easy problems first. If you got to a problem that took you 10 or more minutes of thinking, skip that question for now and come back later. You might find out that easier problems actually might help you understand the harder ones.

    3. Take a break; do something else and come back later. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to it, but I feel like it helps to work on the problem after a little bit of break can actually make me think differently, and often times that different thinking was all I needed to solve the problem.

    4. Go to your instructor's office hours. There's nothing wrong with getting some help once you've actually thought about it. Most of the instructors like it when you ask questions after they have thought about the problems.

    Hope this helps.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook