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Calculation problems

  1. Jun 4, 2015 #1
    Okay, I've got a major problem. It's doing calculations in physics. Especially when it comes to electricity, momentum, force....I aways get stuck when doing the question paper. I LOVE partile physics and astrophysics, but I'm not really that good at everything else...and I'm scared that this is going to stop me from pursuing a career in physics. I do quite a few practice questions....they haven't worked- so far. I'm currently in Grade 10, will be doing my Edexcel GCSE examinations next year. I would appriciate any advice on how to tackle problems involving calculation and formulae. Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2015 #2
    give some problem i will tell you how to solve it( i love mechanics),

    note: not 100% confident that i can solve it, i am also a student
     
  4. Jun 4, 2015 #3

    micromass

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    And how is that possibly going to help the OP succeed in physics? Does he need to take all his problems to you for the rest of his professional life?
     
  5. Jun 4, 2015 #4
    he ned to know problem solving strategy, i am just saying that if he give me sone problem then i can guide him how to solve that, and after that he do it by himself
     
  6. Jun 4, 2015 #5
    What I need is advice on how to go about solving problems without getting flustered. I guess practice is the best, if not only way. Any other helpful suggestions would be appriciated! :)
     
  7. Jun 4, 2015 #6
    I am not referring to any particlular question. I can eventually get the answer, but unfortunately I don't have too much of time in an examintaton hall and have difficulty focuing without getting muddled up
     
  8. Jun 4, 2015 #7

    micromass

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    How do you study? If your current study habits don't suffice, then you need to change them. When doing science or mathematics, it is a very good idea to do a lot of exercises. You should go out of your way to find difficult exercises to solve. If you just rely on what they assign you, then that will not be enough for you (as you noticed!). This becomes increasingly more important. In college, doing the homework is the bare minimum, and will not guarantee you good grades or a deep understanding. So practice, practice, practice. The more difficult questions you solve, the better!
     
  9. Jun 4, 2015 #8
    i got your problem,
    i have some suggestions for you
    1. do meditation daily, and try to free your mind with certain thoughts, after some time you will know benefits of this, you can concentrate, even in a noisy environment.
    2. read the question carefully, sometimes a question which look easy have some deep concept involved in it.
    3. remember small facts, every thing related to topics.
    4. workout the problem step by step.
    5. sometimes the question is too easy, but language is tough, get grip on language, it is just like marketing, actual things are different.
     
  10. Jun 4, 2015 #9
    For my finals (which are currently going on) I did plenty of past papers. However, these past papers don't usually give you problems that are challenging. The school papers are certainly much tougher.
    Anyways, I will dedicate the summer to tackling problems, it shouldn't be too hard to get hold of a few good textbooks. I'm going to achive that A* for my boards next year. I will try!

    Thanks, Lance
     
  11. Jun 4, 2015 #10
    Thanks for the tips. I definitely need to clear my mind....it feels like I've got a block up there.
    I'll have to work on reading the questions properly as well.
    Thanks!
     
  12. Jun 4, 2015 #11

    micromass

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    Right, so it appears to me that your problem is not so much in doing extra problems, but in finding problems that are challenging. If you can give the exact topics, we can propose books with many challenging problems that should help you.
     
  13. Jun 4, 2015 #12
    its ok my friend, spend at least 30 min in meditating, hope that will help you (because worked on me and many others)
     
  14. Jun 15, 2015 #13
  15. Jun 15, 2015 #14
    Aside from practicing problems, a few things that really helped me do better in school were:

    Understanding what kind of learner you are. I've always had trouble understanding concepts from a step by step approach BEFORE seeing the big picture. I'm also a visual learner. I learn by painting pictures in my head of what is actually happening as opposed to remembering the steps. This helped me understand the mechanics of what certain equations were trying to describe. This also changed how I actually "viewed" equations and their derivations. Instead of physics and math being just variables, numbers, and memorization, try to understand what the math is describing in the real world. Try to understand what the equations are describing in the real world. I find that the school curriculum doesn't cater to visual-spatial learners. While the professor is teaching a new concept, I'm still on the previous topic trying to "see" what is happening. That's where I make sure to utilize resources (physics forums, khan academy, etc.) outside of school.

    Common sense can take you a long way. It's easy to get lost in the math to find an answer. When you're having difficulty solving a problem, make sure to think of the problem using common sense. For example, when adding vectors and dealing with moment arms, instead of only thinking in geometric terms and numbers, think about what happens when you're trying to loosen the lugnuts on your wheel - the longer the arm the easier it becomes, and the closer to 90 degrees that the force you apply is to the arm the easier it is. Remembering things like that will help you make sure that your answers make sense.

    Familiarize yourself with topics before going to class. Do not let class time be the first time you hear new material. Read the subjects that are to be taught in class prior to coming to class. Even if you don't necessarily understand it, hearing it a second time will help you remember AND provide clarity to the subject. It also gives you the opportunity to ask questions and optimize your time spent in class. Professors will notice a student that is self-motivated and interested in what he/she is teaching, and will often go out of their way to help you understand the material as well as help you pull up a low grade.

    And as others have stated, practice, practice, practice.
     
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