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College Physics - Intro Physics for majors

  1. Sep 3, 2012 #1
    College Physics -- Intro Physics for majors

    So, I'm taking College Physics and were using...College Physics(strategic approach) by Knight, volume I.

    My approach to getting an A in the course is to study 3 times as many as the assigned homework problems(Only about 12 a week!), chew through the material and write concise and crisp lab reports that spell out the mathematical concepts.(not sure how I'm doing so far, our first lab report was a freebie and we get it back Tuesday)

    This is the course breakdown for the grade. Never have I seen such categories of grades so congruent.

    Homework 20%
    Exams 40% (Exams are worth 100 pts)
    Lab Reports 20%
    Final Exam 20%

    So I figure this is basically like a math class with tons of new concepts, new formula per week and I have to study a ton of problems to master them for the exam. With the exams being worth 100 points, there's no way I'll even get a B- without doing fairly well on these. Although I think they are multiple choice and a belongs to 3 and 2 is B..so on and so on..the name for this problem escapes me.

    So, my question is, does anybody have any advice besides what I've thought up? I'd really like to know the short-cut to doing Δ36 physics problems a week, but there isn't one.(36 ≠ Δ)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2012 #2
    Re: College Physics -- Intro Physics for majors

    I would suggest that you cut your physics problems down from 36 to may be 15 - 20. As long as the problems types are varied, and not the easiest in the book then you should be fine. If you find yourself struggling with a certain type of problem then that is a signal that you should seek help rather than try to solve it yourself. It's sometimes best to look outside toward someone else rather than to another textbook or another problem.

    I'll take it that you have recently started college. My advice is to have a life. Doing physics problems all day will probably wear you down and make you tired rather quickly. It's a marathon not a sprint. Take it from someone who has completed college and made all of those mistakes.
  4. Sep 3, 2012 #3
    Re: College Physics -- Intro Physics for majors

    Actually, I'm in my sophomore year(Too late for the don't overwork yourself spiel :)) but I think that's some good advice. I do have a tendency to overwork and overachieve. I did cut back somewhat in my life, in the spring I took general biology and art history(8 credits) while working 30 hours a week as a school bus driver. This semester I'm not working, however, I'm taking 12 credit hours. College Physics(5 credits), General Botany(5 credits) and Lifetime Fitness(2 credits, easy A.)

    I did have delusions once of shooting as high as entry into a pharmacy program. But that was more of a strong desire for prestige and money and the ability to dispense people their medications. However, it's a heck of a lot of work these days, it used to be you could become a pharmacist with a bachelor's degree, now it seems you need a doctorate just to be a pharmacist. Rather crazy, I think.

    I'm worried about gaining entry into the competitive pharmacy school(3.6 competitive GPA) Although I'd probably still be a good candidate with a B in this course. Pharmacy school seems just like work on top of work, and right now something like being a janitor sounds awfully appealing.
  5. Sep 3, 2012 #4


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    Re: College Physics -- Intro Physics for majors

    First, I am not sure if you are understanding the grading system. The homework grade is based on doing the assigned problems, not extra ones. If you get a perfect homework score, a 70/100 in the exams, perfect lab reports, and a 70/100 in the finals, then your grade is
    0.2(100) + 0.4(70) + .2(100) + .2(70) = 82, which i gues is a B-; if you get 70/100 in your homework and labs, and perfect exam results, then your grade works out to 88, a B+. So the exams are weighted a bit more heavily. But you can't do well on the exams without doing well on the homework, so it is unlikely that you can get perfect exam results without near perfect homework grade.

    Second, physics is not just math. You have to have good algebra and trig skills, maybe a wee bit of calculus, but just as important, and more so, is to understand the basic concepts. Mastering a bunch of equations will get you nowhere...mastering the concepts will get you somewhere.
  6. Sep 9, 2012 #5
    Re: College Physics -- Intro Physics for majors

    Thanks for that previous poster. I appreciate you enlightening me to the nature of my how my class works.

    Can anyone recommend a good book for learning Newtonian physics(physics for non-majors) concepts and mastering problems in a condensed version? or maybe a different vantage point? I'd really like just to get a B but passing the course would be just as satisfactory.
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