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Electricity and Magnetism

  1. Dec 17, 2009 #1
    I sincerely intend for this not to be a rant, please do not take it in this way.

    Well, the first half of my physics B AP class is over. We are all done with mechanics (/happyface) and now we are going to start part 2: Electricity and Magnetism. Mechanics was very hard for me. Why? I have no idea. The point is that I was terrible, got low scores, and the other kids in the class would make fun of me for earning the worst grades in the class.
    Now that mechanics is over, i plan to change to become a physics GOD. I want to be the best and smartest kid when we start Electricity and Magnetism.

    Can anyone tell me how to do this??​

    Please don't tell me to simply study, as i have been doing that, and earning 10-30% on my tests and quizzes. Please help, i will do anything.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2009 #2
    Could you tell us why you did poorly? Did you not understand the concepts? Did you not remember how to apply the equations? Were the mathematics difficult?
  4. Dec 17, 2009 #3
    Your quest to become good at physics shouldn't be out of revenge because others mocked you. In the science book section there are some very good books listed, I'd take a look at these books & well... study up, do lots of problems. Try & see the relation between things rather than just plugging & chugging formulas. See the relations I really believe is one of the keys to being a good physicists, though most of us have to really try hard & train ourselves to think in this respect.
  5. Dec 17, 2009 #4


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    It's clear you didn't study efficiently. You want to be the smartest kid and earn the best grades without being told to study?
    The only tips are studying efficiently. It means to understand well the concept and being able to solve any kind of problems.
    When will you start the E&M course? Until them, open Resnick-Halliday's book and try to solve all the problems you can.
  6. Dec 17, 2009 #5
    Buy a 3000 solved problems in physics and go over the solutions, then go over a similar problem in your textbook. Also go over the worked examples in your book, make sure you understand how they got to the answer and the reasoning behind it.
  7. Dec 17, 2009 #6
    It is to my belief that the reason i did poorly is because i did not know how to apply the numerous formulas and concepts to the problems being thrown at me. It wasn't a big deal understanding concepts, i was okay at that.
    So far i have been using both the textbook and a "Barrons AP Physics B" book in order to maximize the amount of text i go through, my theory being the more i read the less chance i will have of learning the material i will need to apply (lol).

    From the sound of it, it kinda sounds like i should do more problems? Also, what book would you guys recommend for AP Physics B?
  8. Dec 17, 2009 #7
    You don't understand the concepts if you can't apply the formulas. And knowing how to apply the formulas doesn't mean that you know the concepts either. To get good grades you need to know how to apply the formulas, the fastest way is to just study a lot doing problems and thus just learn all the common examples.

    But in the long run it is better to focus on understanding the theory till you know it well enough that you can solve all problems without having seen them before, this path is the best and easier to choose if you want to study higher physics later but it is heavier on a course to course basis.
  9. Dec 18, 2009 #8
    Yes. Practice makes perfect, or at least less bad 'cause it forces you to apply the topics. there is hope, 'cause E&M is a whole different way of thinking and most people lean towards one or the other, but the math is even more horrible for E&M.

    Princeton Review's book is solid enough that I reused it as a supplementary book for my college calc based physics course.
  10. Dec 18, 2009 #9
    Anyone else?
  11. Dec 18, 2009 #10
    I agree with Klockan3,

    You need to be able to apply what you learn before you can claim to know the concepts.

    One good way to do this is go through Halliday's Fundamentals of Physics and read a chapter then do problems at the end of the chapter.

    The reason this is good is because Halliday gets a lot of criticism becuase people tend to think that the problems are a lot different from the examples in any given chapter. This is a good thing though -- if you want to be good at physics you need to be able to apply what you learned to other situations that might not seem connected.
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