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Courses How do you become good at physics?

  1. Aug 19, 2016 #1
    When it comes to solving the problems I can do most of the textbook ones (I've only gone through a couple so far) but when I attempt the old midterm questions I get stuck and can't solve it. How do I prepare myself to be ready? Do I keep practicing the textbook questions and over time I'll become very good or is there another approach?
    Thanks! :)
     
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  3. Aug 19, 2016 #2

    micromass

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    Why can't you solve the midterm questions? Are they significantly harder than the textbook questions? If so, you should get a book with more difficult questions.
     
  4. Aug 19, 2016 #3
    I only did the starter questions from a chapter should I continue doing them because some of the questions get harder?
    I'm using the freedman university physics book (recommended for the course)
     
  5. Aug 19, 2016 #4

    micromass

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    I don't know since I don't know the questions in the book nor do I know the questions in the midterm.
     
  6. Aug 19, 2016 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2016
  7. Aug 19, 2016 #6

    jtbell

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    I've never used Young & Freedman myself, but I'm sure that like other textbooks at that level, it has problems/exercises that increase in difficulty as you go through the list for each section at the end of a chapter. If your instructor/professor doesn't assign a set of homework problems, pick a sample of them from the beginning, middle and end of the list. By comparing them to the sample midterm problems, you should be able to figure out the required level. Or simply ask your professor or one of his teaching assistants.
     
  8. Aug 19, 2016 #7
    Harder questions reward you with more knowledge in my opinion. Of course, steady progression is a good idea to develop a solid understanding. But I'm willing to bet you've got a much better understanding than I. I'm still trying to grasp pre-calculus at 23!
     
  9. Aug 19, 2016 #8

    Student100

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    So Young and Freedman breaks down it's problem sets into discussion questions (generally just need to invoke some concept covered to answer these), then into exercises broken down by section (quick simple math or formula type problems without needing much thought), then into problems (which require students to dissect information given) and finally harder challenge problems. So if he's only doing exercises and the conceptual questions then that could be a problem. The problem section is where the meat of the sets are.

    Not immediately seeing any midterm questions that you missed that would qualify as challenge problems, looks pretty standard to me. I would make sure I'm working through the problems in the book, or do like jtbell suggests.
     
  10. Aug 19, 2016 #9
    Sorry are you saying that the midterm questions are equivalent in difficulty as the challenge problems?
     
  11. Aug 19, 2016 #10

    Student100

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    No, they all look problems you'd find under the problem section of the problem sets. Are you working through those, or just the exercises/discussion questions?
     
  12. Aug 19, 2016 #11
    So far I've gone through the exercises, I will soon do the problems and challenge problems (I just started studying the first chapter)
    Do you think doing the exercise questions are time consuming and not worth it?
     
  13. Aug 19, 2016 #12

    Student100

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    Doing them all probably isn't worth it depending on time available. I would do a few from each section and then do all the problems under the problem section, if you have time you can then attempt the challenge problems.
     
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