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I do not understand college physics at all

  1. Apr 1, 2013 #1


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    I'm in my second semester of my sophomore year at a community college. In my first semester, I took an Introduction to Physics class. I found it to be a little bit of a challenge, but my professor was really helpful, and with a little help, I could actually understand the material, and passed the class with an A. In my second semester, I tried to take the second part of the introduction to physics, but the classes were full, so I took a General College Physics class instead. I thought that I'd be able to handle it, but I'm having an extremely difficult time understanding the work. It's a hybrid class, so most of the work is online, and we meet in class only for labs. My professor is next to useless. He does very little actual teaching. I pretty much have to teach myself the material by reading over the chapters in the book and looking at the way the example problems are done. I may as well be trying to teach myself Chinese. Right now, I'm trying to understand a chapter on Static Equilibrium; Elasticity and Fracture. I'm pretty much just staring at some example problems, hoping that through some process of osmosis, the information will sink in. But it's not. This stuff makes no sense to me. I'm the type of learner where I need to be walked through complex material, step by step, in order to reach an understanding, I'm not able to teach this to myself. Even worse, I have a test on Friday. What should I do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2013 #2
    Contact your old professor and see if he will help you out some. Find a campus or local tutor.
  4. Apr 1, 2013 #3
    This is very bad. If you take more advanced classes, then there will not be a professor anymore to help you every step of the way. Eventually you will have to learn how to self-study something. I think you have not mastered that skill yet and that causes your problem.

    I'd dare to say that your last professor did you a huge disservice by walking you through the course. He should have encouraged you to be more independent.

    The course you're taking now will be a lot similar to being thrown in the water. Either you learn how to swim or you drown. It's very crude, but that's the way it is.

    I encourage you to learn how to self-study the material. If you understand physics if you're being spoonfed, then you'll also understand it if you study it yourself. However, you will have to put in more effort and energy.

    The key to physics is making as much exercises as you can. You should make exercises until you understand it. Simply reading the solved exercises in the course is not good enough. Learning by osmosis does not work. You need to actively solve exercises.

    You can always come to this forum and ask for help on your exercises (this should be done in the homework forum: https://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=152 ). We will help you and give you hints, but in the end you'll need to solve it. This is the only way to learn physics.
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