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Approaching physics mathematically-help

  1. Jan 13, 2009 #1
    Hey I've been studying physics for a while and recently I am taking AP physics and I am good at tackling physics intuitively, however when it comes to describing problems in equations I seem sometimes to have some trouble even although my mathematical skills are pretty good. I just need some advice on how to get better at using my mathematical skills throughout physics without having a problem doing so (and also tell me if there are any books that would help me tackle this problem).That is all and thank you.
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  3. Jan 13, 2009 #2


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    Tackling problems intuitively can mean that you're not taking the time to fully reason out the answer. If you read a problem, come up with an answer that seems obvious and more often than not you're consistent with the correct answer - this doesn't mean you're doing a complete job of analysing the problem and will pave the way for errors down the road.

    Of course, you're asking how to correct this. And the answer is simple: practice. Even for problems that seem to have an intuitive answer, start by writing everything out.
  4. Jan 15, 2009 #3
    Welcome to the party. This is the whole point of the college education process. It takes a lot of practice to become good at what you're talking about. I don't really have any specific suggestions, just keeping working problems and you'll improve with time. It gets easier.

    One thing you can do is try to be systematic. Start out writing your assumptions, draw a picture of the problem, and then maybe write some basic equations. If you become stuck, it is often helpful to try and think through the problem and write out a paragraph describing what is going on. If you still can't find a solution, you might have to try and be more clever or think of an alternative method. If you can't solve a problem in the first hour, then skip it, and go back to it later. That's all I can really say.
  5. Jan 16, 2009 #4
    I am somewhat opposite to you, I find it easy to incorporate the math. Only difference is, my teacher says i should forget about the math and think more intuitively. I think this is a bad idea though so I will only take it for what its worth.
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