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Schools Did anyone ever failed a physics class in college?

  1. Oct 20, 2016 #1
    I did horrible in my first 2 tests in physics (electric and magnetism). But when I read the book, I understand everything that it is saying. I understand the derivations, the explanations and the theories. I also did good on the homework that the proffesor gave us. But when it came to the tests, I get really nervous and I ended up doing a 20 on my first test and a 35 on my second test. Now it is unlikely that I can pass the class with a C. I have an A on the lab and I understand everything that we are doing (a little hard time setting up the circuits), but I understand the physical stuff that occurs on circuits. I have an A in differential equations and statics, but I feel awful that I failed both tests so badly. Most in my class are failing the tests, but some don't go below a 50. Did you ever failed a physics class? What would you reccomend me to be better in physics, if I already understand what the book is saying. I like physics, and i was planning in taking a modern physics class, but I don't feel like doing that anymore.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2016 #2


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    Have you tried working more practice problems? It sounds like possibly you just need to get comfortable with working the problems in a test situation and familiarity with help with that. It's time consuming but I doubt there's any other way.
  4. Oct 20, 2016 #3
    I agree with Phinds. Reading is definitely good, but before a test you should be doing lots of practice problems and identifying any issues you have. I always did at least 2x the amount of problems the homework contained when I was in the freshman and sophomore physics classes.
  5. Oct 20, 2016 #4


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    By chance, where do you go to school?

    Are the tests curved?

    Also, don't put so much weight in reading and understanding things. You obviously need to work more problems. Many important concepts are embedded in the problems, and problem solving (what you're most likely being tested on) is a skill unto itself.
  6. Oct 22, 2016 #5
    right, i just realized that but i think is too late now. is engineering a good career choice for me even though i failed a physics class?
  7. Oct 23, 2016 #6


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    It's not so much that you failed a class that should concern you, but how you adjusted after you failed the first exam. You should have been seeking guidance from your professor/TA's and adjusted accordingly to shore up any weaknesses.

    But no, failing one course doesn't mean that engineering is a bad career choice, assuming you've learned your lesson here. You'll most certainly run into issues again, but hopefully you'll take action sooner.
  8. Oct 23, 2016 #7
    Never failed a course, but had a career low of a 32% on an exam (tensr analysis in Math Methods in Physics).

    My normally successful approach of working lots of practice problems let me down, because I was was practicing poorly for the material tested. I learned there need to be adjustments not only to the time and effort spent practicing, but to how I practiced and how I selected which problems to practice. After that, I became much more intentional about trying to get into my profs' heads and pick practice problems most likely to be similar to ones they would put on exams.
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