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How hard is university physics?

  1. Jul 22, 2015 #1
    Hey I'm new to this and I'm just wondering about physics in university. I know this has been asked a lot so I apologize to anyone who's thinking not this again. I'm 17 and in a couple of months I'll be applying to different colleges and I'm just wondering how hard a physics course actually is. I'm not by any means a genius but I do fine in physics and maths at the moment. Normally A's but I do have to study hard to do well. I definitely wouldn't be one of the smartest in my classes but I still get high grades. Anyway my question is how hard is it to do well in a college physics course. The course I want to do is theoretical physics and from talking to a student who's in his third year he said he almost got a brain aneurysm in first year. I don't want to just barely pass if you know what I mean and the guy I was talking to is literally a genius.
    Sorry this is long, thanks in advance to anyone who took the time out to answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2015 #2
    It's rarely about being smart. I haven't yet discovered anybody who couldn't do physics if they really wanted to. It's rather about putting in the necessary effort to perform well. You will need to study really hard: read the book, do the homework, do supplementary exercises and readings, etc. The people who are best in physics always tend to be the people who go beyond the material and study things that won't be tested.
    So don't worry about it being too difficult, if you are willing to put in the effort, then you'll do fine. And make sure to enjoy what you do too.
  4. Jul 22, 2015 #3
    Like micromass said, the courses in undergrad are more about hard work than intelligence. I'm definitely not the brightest bulb in the box, but I have a 4.0 going into mys senior year because I worked my tail off. That being said, your first few courses will probably be the hardest, since you're still getting used to the problem solving aspect of the homework/exams, as opposed to just plug-and-chug. If you are doing fine in physics and math, even if you aren't a genius, there is no reason you wouldn't do well in college physics.
  5. Jul 23, 2015 #4
    You will definitely need to put in tons of time when you start getting into material that you haven't seen before.

    A word of advice. Don't make the same mistake I did with the first few classes. I kind of went lazy/arrogant when a lot of the material was sort of a repeat of what I saw in high school. I didn't study as much and it started to hurt my grades a little after a while. It was difficult finding out later how much more I had to study. Because of it instead of a 3.9+ GPA I'm living with 3.5 average. Not bad by any means, but I wish I had just taken it more serious at the beginning.
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