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Testing How to Study for a Classical Mechanics Exam?

  1. Oct 16, 2012 #1
    I am writing to ask you for advice on how I should go about studying for the upcoming Classical Mechanics exam. I would only be satisfied to get an A, nothing less, so I am willing to work hard. Although I realize that preparing for the midterm exam begins when the semester starts, I don't feel that my knowledge thus far will ensure me an A in the exam. I haven't really did much the past few weeks in the class so I don't have a good knowledge of the material as I would have liked to. And seeing how I have no idea of what to expect on the exam, your advice will be greatly appreciated.

    As far as I am aware, there are several techniques that I can use, such as, but not limited to:

    1) redo all of the homework problems assigned starting from chapter 1
    2) do 2 or more problems from each section from each chapter
    3) and probably a more lazy and less proactive approach (and one that I don't plan on doing of course), simply review the homework problems done and sleep on it
    4) etc.

    I also plan to do a couple of practice exams as a supplement.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2012 #2
    Two things that I believe are very important:
    1: Memorize those odd formulas in your textbook (yes, even the weird harmonic motion ones.) They can come in very handy.
    2: Learn to spot connections- especially the conservation of energy ones.
  4. Oct 16, 2012 #3


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    I would rephrase this advice as "Learn and understand the relevant equations."
  5. Oct 16, 2012 #4


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    This is what I did to get an A in classical mechanics.
    1. Reviewed the textbook and notes, looking for the most important ideas. Reviewed the homework, making sure I knew the logic behind each step.
    2. Did a ton of practice problems of varying difficulty (I used Kleppner and Morin for the most part.)
    3. Thought about what concepts were involved in each problem, i.e. conservation rules and when/why they applied, symmetries.
    4. Thought about how problems related to each other, for example some problems involve almost the same situation, just with some new details. Thought about how these modifications affected the bigger conceptual picture.
    5. Did more practice problems.
  6. Oct 17, 2012 #5
    Try to look for Lagrangians and ways to turn things into Lagrangians. It makes the *physics* of the situation easy. The math, usually also gets simplified but not always.
  7. Oct 17, 2012 #6
    Thanks everyone, I'm taking all of the advice thus far into consideration but more are always welcome!
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