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How to Get better at Physics?

  1. Nov 5, 2015 #1
    Ok so I'm a senior in high school and I am having a lot of problems on my Physics tests. I'm taking Physics Mechanics AP. I am a very advanced math student, I finished BC Cal last year and I understand Calculus. I don't know why I just can't understand Physics. Today I took a test on Forces and I completely botched the free response portion of the test that's worth half the points. I studied for 6 hours the day before, did problems day after day, finished all 90 something problems in the problem bank. My teacher doesn't help me; when I ask him why this works the way it does he rejoinders with a question along the lines,"Why do you think so?"

    So what do I do? How do I get better at this subject?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2015 #2
    Hi, when I was in high school taking AP Physics (currently a 3rd year undergrad), my high school teacher would make us re-do missed problems on our exams 10 times for extra credit but with different given numbers. As tedious as this sounds, it's still a practice I follow to this day in my upper div Physics classes. It was probably the 3rd or 4th time through where the problem finally made logical sense to me.

    If you have a certain concept or a type of Physics problem that gives you trouble, find an example that your book or your teacher has worked out and physically write out the solution and study the steps, the logical arguments, etc. that got them the final result. Then, put away the solution and try and solve the problem on your own. If you get stuck, look at the step in the solution and ask yourself why or what made you forget/not consider the step in question. Once you can get to the solution on your own, try and do it again conceptually, (I personally talk out each step to myself and say why this force points this way, why that one points that way, why the object will tend to move the way it moves, etc.) Do this as many times until you convince yourself why the answer is what it is.

    Hoped this was helpful!
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