Class is moving too fast

  1. I am currently enrolled in Physics 111 (at a university) without prior experience with the material. In highschool, I chose to take biology classes instead of physics, which in retrospect was a mistake. I find physics very, very interesting and I am very intrigued. I feel like physics is the dissected mathmatical interpretation for the physical world, and answers many questions I have always asked myself. I am a sophemore majoring in computer engineering, so what I get out of this class will undoubtably carry over to my career. It's not that I don't understand the material, it's more that I fail to grasp many of the key concepts that is the core for most problems. I.e. I don't know why the negative goes to positive, where equations are derived from etc...

    So far I have been understanding material an average of one week after it was taught in class. Despite me studying every day, it just takes that long for it to sink in. I've got a test in about a week, and am quite worried..

    Can anyone offer any studying suggestions that could aide me in my understanding of the material? I find it fascinating, but just very abstract..i've never had to deal with anything quite like this before. I should probably mention that I am very dyslexic as well as ADD, however I know what my body is capable of and I am confident that there is a way I can catch up and understand things as they are taught.

    By the way, we are dealing with newton's laws of motion - more specifically determining tension and free fall acceleration.

    Thanks guys!
  2. jcsd
  3. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 6,942
    Gold Member

    What is the class called/about?
  4. it's physics 1, calc based.
  5. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 6,942
    Gold Member

    Whats it called... whats its course description.
  6. General Physics - Phys 111 lecture
    General Physics - Phys 111 Lab

    don't have a catalogue so I can't give you the description (and the student services are down until monday). All I can tell you is that it's calc based physics for math majors.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2005
  7. lol you didn't take physics in hs and they let you take physics in university? wihtout and entrance exam? pick up serways textbook its got lots of examples and questions.
  8. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 6,942
    Gold Member

    What's wrong with that? Im allowed to take latin without ever having taken latin before :P
  9. i'm sorry but what is serways textbook (what type of textbook, that is) ?
  10. Pengwuino

    Pengwuino 6,942
    Gold Member

  11. Well I don't know if I can help you for the test but it sounds like your on the right track, enjoying physics is the key to learning it. When I first started as a physics major it took me a while to get the concepts - what I did was over the weekend I would finish all my homework then read the next chapter(doing all the examples as I went). Throughout the week when the teacher was lecturing on the chapter I would have a heads up on what was going on and that allowed me to be able to ask questions when I didn't. The other side to understanding physics is understanding math (without the math it's hard to see the concepts through all the equations) - try to do the same thing with your math class as I've outlined with the physics class. Also if you can become a tutor (hang out at the tutoring center in your school) and help people or just listen to what the tutors are telling people that always helps me keep focused on studying physics/math (surround yourself with people who are of like mindset). Well I hope some of this has helped, and good luck to you.

  12. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Huh? An entrance exam to take introductory physics? Where else should you begin? And taking it in HS doesn't mean you learned anything then anyway considering how variable science courses are at the high school level.

    NutriGrainKiller, as for studying to understand, and especially if you're dyslexic, work in a study group and utilize office hours to ask questions of your prof (or TA if you have one). Talking about things is likely going to be a much faster way to learn things than reading about them for you. In the beginning of physics, you'll be learning about things you can visualize, such as acceleration, objects falling, etc., so try to picture what's happening to understand the concept, not just rely on memorizing formulas. Make liberal use of diagrams and pictures to understand concepts and directions of change.
  13. ya physics is like that sometimes. What helps me to grasp the points is to do problems, you dont have to do alot, just a little bit of every kind. and just try to scribble down some related stuff on paper while thinking about the concepts. I find that helps alot.
  14. Dear NutriGrainKiller,
    Keep it up mate!! Don't give up... Post your question here and we'll help ya out. As long as you like physics, your one of us!
  15. Hmmmm I had the same problem as you when I took my mechanics course which I'm assuming is the course your taking because it sounds like this is your first physics course and it was mine as well. I'd probably but anywhere between 20-30 hours a week in and I couldn't get any of the material and until the following week just like yourself. I would suggest asking the teach as many questions as possible until you understand the concepts. I regret not doing that. I barely passed the course, probably do to my teacher giving my extra points I didn't deserve. Don't just try to learn how to do a specific problem get the fundamentals. All of the problems from each of the chapters build on one another as well, you'll find later that seemingly unrelated problems can be solved the same way. I ended up having to drop out of the elctromagnetism course the following year because I just lost all confidence in myself, I suggest you don't take your problems to seriously.
  16. hmm if i remmeber correctedly in ontario your required to have grade 12 phys(or OAC) inorder to take first year physics oh and fgrade 12 calc. and inorder for you to bypass those reqs. they made you take entrance exams( or at least thats what i think they were called). Like for calc.
  17. I have to say, you got guts.
  18. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    Different places have different rules. In the U.S., I think it's almost universal that "general physics" at college/university level does not require high school physics as a prerequisite. If the course is calculus-based, then calculus is usually a pre- or co-requisite. If the course is algebra/trig-based, then trigonometry is often a prerequisite (as it is where I teach).
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