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Frustrated with a particular class (this is probably redundant by now)

  1. Nov 6, 2009 #1
    I am a junior in physics. Things have been going pretty good (not flawlessly super) so far, with the exception of one class: upper level mechanics. I just cannot perform at a sufficient level and I don't know why. We just took a midterm a few weeks ago, one which I studied pretty hard for (started four days early and forsook some of my other work for the week); I studied the example problems, end of chapter-problems, and I fully utilized my professor's office hours for questions/help. However, I did horrible on the exam and the assignments are not going well either. I also know alot of other people are struggling, but still this does not help me out.

    Is it possible I'm just no good at physics? I considered this, but then that would not explain how I'm doing fine in my other courses. Perhaps just alot of mental pressure and over-hyped fear of the class? I really don't know.

    I really like physics and would like to pursue grad school. I just don't know how to conquer this class though.

    Any advice?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2009 #2
    Try not to get too discouraged. There could be any number of reasons why you are not doing as well as you hoped in this course. Since you stated that you are doing fine in your other physics courses, you are correct in that it doesn't mean you are bad at physics. Some professors intentionally design courses so that it is nearly impossible to get high grades and then curve the grades at the end of the semester. I don't particularly approve of this teaching method as I think it can be unnecessarily discouraging. If this is the case though, perhaps you are not doing as poorly as you thought.

    Also, if you haven't tried doing so already, sit down and look over your assignments and the exam. Try to diagnose what you are doing in the actual problem sets that are causing you to lose points. Are they simply careless mistakes? Are you making the problem sets more difficult than they actually are? If so, then I would guess your difficulty is the result of excessive anxiety about this particular course which is causing you to make the class more difficult for yourself. I had a similar experience in one of my courses last year. I realized that I was trying to make the problems more difficult than they actually were because I lacked confidence in my ability to solve them. I eventually realized I was doing this and I was able to overcome this self-imposed obstacle by approaching the course with more confidence. I then went on to do well in the class. Perhaps you are experiencing something similar.

    I guess the best thing you can do is to try to come at this course with more self confidence in your ability to do well in it. Remember, you are not the only one who has encountered difficulties like your own and many people have overcome them. I am sure you will be able to as well. I hope this helps and good luck.
  4. Nov 7, 2009 #3
    Most people run into at least one class that they just don't "get". Don't worry, it's normal. It will eventually come to you - it just might not be until the class is over.
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