Bad grades!! Help!! I'm having trouble in my classical mechanics course. I'm doing homework My Own Way, and I'm getting marked off for it. Call it pride . I strongly feel that I've got the correct way of doing a problem, and that way usually earns about 60% or worse in scoring. It's annoying that, also, when I ask the prof what I'm doing wrong, he tells me that I should stop typing up assignments on the computer, be short and simple and to the point, etc. I tried being short and simple, and the professor then marked me off for skipping steps. Then, one day, he shows us a short way of doing a proof, and says, offhandedly: "Better than the brute-force-way of doing things". I decided, then, on my next homework assignment, to do things short and sweet, and not brute-force. E.g., there was a step of the proof that required you to notice the cosine and sine series from an infinite sum. I decided to use mathematical induction and show that the n[th] and n+1[th] terms were those of the sine and cosine series. I got a 60%. Some other guy wrote out the first few terms of the cosine and sine series (not even the nth, etc.), said "Oh, that's the sine and cosine series" without even considering the "in general" n[th] and n+1[th] steps, and got a 100%. I don't want to compromise my future. However, I feel like this professor would be right to mark me off if I simply caved and did things his way. Aren't I supposed to be thinking independently? I'm getting hammered, pointwise, for being a non-conformist! I can't find a way to personally/morally justify just regurgitating what this prof seems to want! However, I know that one should get out of a pissing-contest with a skunk! I suspect this has to do with the prof's own brand of "I'm-gonna-do-it-my-way" attitude: he wrote his own notes for classical mechanics, and isn't using any conventional textbooks (just his own journal-articles). (On that note, I have to give him props: his strictly-generalized-coordinates and Poisson-brackets approach to classical mechanics sure is a great preparation for not only quantum mechanics, but also relativity). Okay....sorry about that diatribe: onto my question! What do I do to 1) get an A in this guy's class but 2) do so without simply regurgitating what I *think* this guy *wants* to see, and therefore not honing my ability to think independently and originally, as I believe a physicist should? I know I might seem to be making myself out to be a martyr, but don't humour me: I need to know what to do in order to not compromise my future as a theoretical physicist.