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Studying Horrible Studying skills, I need help

  1. Jul 21, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone,

    this is my first post since I joined last year around this time, I've been watching from far but I thought you guys are awesome and you probably can help me out :smile:

    I am in my junior year at Michigan State University, my current major is physics, but I spent 2 year struggling in a major that I did not like. I went through a year of depression and confusion wanting to change my major. During that time I got very lazy and strongly unmotivated, I developed no study skills and I started spending more time browsing the Internet more. Internet is very random and does not need any focus and I feel like my brain got mold to getting random useless information fast!

    After changing my major I thought everything will automatically get better, but that was not the case. I got a C- in my Modern physics class and my Clac II, B in my introductory physics classes and Calc I. I know that does not reflect my potential because this summer I got a 4.0 in my Calc III ! I find my self very comfortable with the new ideas and concepts but really bad at applying them on examples and questions, and unless I saw a similar example of a question I don't seem to be able to answer it or be creative enough to figure it's answer on my own. I also noticed that I am not good enough in connected the dots to solve questions. :frown:

    currently I am taking a Diff Eq (Calc IV) class, next semester I am taking Classical Mechanics and Quantum Physics I and I thought I want to pre-study the subjects. But, I find it very hard for me to sit and read the dry textbooks and I can't focus on a book for more than few minutes before I check my iphone again! o_O

    I am sorry if this is unnecessarily long. I really want to be a straight "A"s physics student and I need some guidance on how to approach and study physics the right way. I want my transcript to reflect my love to this science and I want to learn how to think like a true physcist :atom:

    I appreciate your help guys!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2016 #2
    So, that depression, is it gone now?

    It doesn't really look your study skills are wrong. You just need discipline to sit down for some time every day and work.

    Do you live with somebody? Try to prepare a small room containing your books and everything you need to comfortably study for some time. Then ask somebody else to lock the door and not to leave you out. Maybe it'll work then. Needless to say that you shouldn't bring your phone in the room!

    Studying will lead you forward. Not studying will hold you back. Choose wisely and persist.
  4. Jul 21, 2016 #3
    There are other ways of motivating yourself. Like get your favorite food like chocolate. Then every X pages, you can eat some of it. Try to set small goals: don't put in a reward for 100 pages, put one in for 2 instead. This can work with something else than food.

    Or if you can't live without your phone, set some reasonable limits on when to check it. Like: check it every section or every few pages. It's always better to plan it so you don't interrupt your study flow. Of course, it's better not to use your phone at all.
  5. Jul 22, 2016 #4
    I always have to get away from my living space to concentrate for more than a few minutes. I bring my books and a laptop to a coffee house. The laptop I bring is old and can't play any games pretty much (my vice.) I can't study at home without my powerful desktop computer tempting me to play games. You just have to remove big temptation, if you can't concentrate still though, it may even be time to question if you really want to go the this route. I changed majors 5x... Took more time but I'm totally happy now with where I'm ending up.
  6. Jul 24, 2016 #5
    micromass, thank you for your advise. the candy idea sounds good I will give a try and I will definitely try to discipline my self to just sit down and study. But also, in general how a person go through studying math and physics? I know it is very different than studying biology per say? setting down and memorizing/reading doesn't seem to work for me.

    Crush1986, I understand the struggle of playing games in the living space. now that homework is mostly online temptation is everywhere. I would look into using an old laptop or have some chrome addons to block unnecessary websites while studying :thumbup: Changing my major a second time is not an option in my situation + I love reading on physics and math outside my school material
  7. Jul 24, 2016 #6
    Oh no, it is very diffeent from biology. Sitting down and memorizing/reading is about the worst you can do for math and physics! My guide on self-studying mathematics should tell you how I usually study mathematics and physics. It might be helpful to you. https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/how-to-study-mathematics/
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