- #1

BearShark

- 15

- 0

I guess anyone in physics have seen it a lot but I have trouble looking for tips and strategies for solving my problem so I thought I'll try here.

__Problem:__I currently take Waves and Optics. I already passed Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Analytical Mechanics, Thermodynamics and PDEs. I feel like I understand the martial and sometimes develop solid intuition, and I solve the weekly exercises on my own or after help from the TA. However I struggle with long algebra.

I have a solid background in math, I got a B+ in my calculus class, so I do understand the math, I just get confused when a lot of algebra is involved so if there is a problem that requires thinking about physics, doing some math then thinking again, I might get stuck with the math so I will not be able to solve the problem from there.

__What I'm doing so far:__

1. If I can't do the math, I write what I would do if I could solve the equations, and if I have an idea how would the solution look like I write that. I managed to pass exams where I could solve only half of the math like that, but I don't get full score so I get C's when I use this approach.

2. I try to draw a diagram of the geometry of the problem which helps but not applicable to all problems.

3. I try to be as organized as possible but if the math is long enough, it does not always help.

4. Needless to say I also practice a lot before the exam. However, this hurts the effectiveness of my studying because I often have to solve the problem a couple of times because each time I find an algebra mistake.

5. I do "sanity checks" whenever possible, but knowing there is a mistake often means I have to find it and then repeat the derivation which takes a lot of exam time.

The university has a learning disability counselor, and she has good tips, but she is not in physics and I feel like this is a problem physicists are more familiar with so I'm asking here. I want to start getting Bs and As instead of Cs soon because I want to go to grad school, and I feel like this is what is holding me back.

Thanks!