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Don't make me cry

  1. Sep 30, 2005 #1
    I just started 2nd year physics at university, and all my classes are going well except for physics!! I want to do this but it seems like everyone in my class knows what the prof is talking about except me and everything is so confusing! :uhh: Nothing is intuitive anymore. :cry:
    I think the problem is that my textbook and prof don't explain the example problems sufficiently so when I get started on the homework I have no idea how to apply a general case towards very different questions. But my question is, how do I study for this class (classical mechanics) if my textbook is no use and my TA is too busy with 60 other students every week? I don't want to go and ask my prof about every question every single week it would seem like if I can't do the homework I'm too stupid for this class.
    I also looked for books with problems and solutions but most of their examples are for first year physics so it doesn't really help.
    help! any advice would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2005 #2
    First of all, have you started a study group with people in your class? This is very, very helpful. Studies have shown that peer-peer learning accomplishes the most long term understanding.

    Secondly, physics takes A LOT of work and practice. I would suggest putting in at least 2 hours outside of class for every hour of class every week. (So say you have 3 hours of lecture every week and 2 hours of discussion section- you should plan to spend 10 hours every week studying physics)

    Thirdly, you need to ask questions during lecture and discussion sections. If you do not understand, some else doesn't also.

    Next, does your school have a homework help center for physics? A study room where a graduate student can help you a little on your homework?

    Do you use your professor's and TA's office hours? The reason they have them is for students to use them. They will not be upset if you show up for every single one- this shows you are willing to put the effort into it. But don't show up and say I don't know what to do- come with specific questions and showing what work that you have already tried.

    Lastly, think about getting a tutor. Ask your TA if she/he has any fellow grad students who are willing to tutor you. You can buy them a decent lunch for payment- or you can make them a nice lunch. Grad students are poor and hungry- they will appreciate it.
  4. Sep 30, 2005 #3
    Study groups are great, for me the greatest value of them was getting rid of the "I'm the only one who doesn't get this" feeling. During lectures everyone seems to nod and take notes as if they understand it all, it was very refreshing i remember to talk to my friends and hearing they had the same problems as me. Plus of course you learn a lot talking about the problems as opposed to someone just showing you how to do it.
  5. Sep 30, 2005 #4
    You sure you're just not lagging in the math department? I know a lot of the times my instructor would do something magical to get an answer, and it turned out it was some trig or something I was very iffy about. I had to relearn a bit of math to get going.

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