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Studying How to ask questions during lecture/office hours?

  1. Apr 19, 2017 #1
    I'm studying physics in college, but I usually have a problem with coming up with questions during lecture, discussion, office hours and even when I am reading a textbook or working on a problem. I don't know what's wrong with me but I just sit there pretty content while learning while other people ask questions every 10 min that are really good that I hadn't thought about or point out errors I'd look over. I would maybe have one or two questions every month that I would even bother to ask the professor (and even then I could just look it up in the book).

    To better explain this there was an example in my intro to quantum mechanics class where we had some function that was inversely proportional to the momentum of the particle (i.e. f(p) ∝ 1/p). I sat there pretty chill and then a student asked what would happen if the velocity was zero. I felt like the most stupid person in the room for not even considering something as simple as that. I know this is just one example but this happens pretty much every STEM lecture I go to and every time I read a book and I feel like a dunce.

    I know this is kind of vague in exactly what I want but I just feel that I am not thinking critically enough inside and outside the classroom and its affecting my proper understanding of the material. Any tips?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Then you must go on a quest to find questions to be answered. Try to learn from others and the kinds of questions they ask especially about edge cases like that velocity is zero.

    Check out the Veritasium videos on YouTube because he often starts with a question for you to ponder and then sets up the situation before he answers it.

    Start thinking outside of the box and your creativity will soar. It's a skill you will need when you start working and have problems yet to be solved.

    My feeling is that you may be distracted by other things gaming, messaging... and not thinking deeper into things. Don't just take some math or physics formula at face value ask yourself how was it derived what were the boundaries what were the initial conditions.
  4. Apr 20, 2017 #3
    As a prof, I always liked when students would make an honest effort getting started on homework problems and come to me when they get stuck.

    "What's my next step on this problem?" was always a good way to start a discussion.
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