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Intro physics - how many exercises do you do?

  1. Apr 5, 2012 #1
    Intro physics - seeking some help/opinions

    I'm studying for some upcoming exams. I feel like I've been able to grasp the material but at the same time, there's this voice in my head which keeps nagging me because I haven't done every question the book (and some more from other books).
    At some point, I end up getting bored and would rather switch to a new topic. So far, I've done the 5 multiple-choice questions that were in my book and five "word problems" and I think I've got it down but as I said...voice in my head. :P

    Do you, for some unknown reason, feel compelled to do all the questions? I'm just curious and maybe I might learn that doing even more exercises might help. Perhaps I could move to a new chapter now and keep working like I have, except that by the end of every five chapters I finish, I come back and do another five questions on each chapter?

    This is for circular motion. I am starting gravitation the minute after I save this post. I then thought of doing electric fields but my book (which is tailored for the syllabus) has capacitance right after it. Would a more logical order be studying current electricity, then electric fields and capacitance, after which I will move on to electromagnetism?

    Thanks. :-)
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2012 #2
    Look at problems that are more difficult. If you look at a problem and know how to set it up, don't do it. Focus on ones that may take more thinking. There is no need to do every problem in a given chapter. That time can be spent doing something else such as recapping what you know. If you recap what you know, you can look back and strengthen things that may seem a bit fuzzy.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2012 #3
    Personally I did too many. But that is because I had to desperately catch up to all the logical reasoning I haven't been doing for 90% of my life. But I have to say, I am starting to see it really pay off.

    I would say to do more than 5 questions. It sounds like your intro class is based on Algebra or Calculus-based mechanics but you started talking about electric fields so I'm confused. But anyways, Algebra/Calculus based mechanics shouldn't take a great deal of time. So if your only doing 5 questions then you are either not spending enough time, not doing challenging enough problems, and/or you simply don't understand it intuitively so each problem takes you longer. Find out which one it is and change it.
     
  5. Apr 5, 2012 #4
    I never did more than the assigned homework but my mechanics class had really hard problems, my E&M class had a lot of problems and by the time I took lower division waves, thermo, optics I was beyond the class so the problems were too easy. In general, I do what is assigned for homework from a textbook.
     
  6. Apr 5, 2012 #5
    I do any assigned problems, then I read through the whole problem set in the text and make sure I know how to do each one without much thought. If I don't, I do that problem. It works really well, I spend enough time doing "problems with only slightly different numbers" on the assigned problems.
     
  7. Apr 6, 2012 #6

    micromass

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    Don't do all the problems of course.
    Quark has a very good way of doing things. Try to see if you know how to do the problem easily. If you can, then don't do it. Only do the ones that don't look easy. Or do the ones you really find interesting.

    In each case, try to do a bit more than 5 problems. But try to do challenging/hard problems. If you can pull those off, then you're set.
     
  8. Apr 6, 2012 #7
    Little update: I appreciate the suggestion(s) guys. That looked like a reasonable idea and one that worked for me in the past, so I gave it a shot. Things are pretty cool so far.

    It is possible, imo, that I started getting a little obsessive about the exercises because:
    a) I was never used to studying regularly
    b) At some point, I started getting a bit overwhelmed studying the same subject and I should have moved on to a completely different topic (say, electromagnetism instead of mechanics) or went to another subject, like literature.

    At least, that seems to be working for me. The gist of it is that I can study for longer hours so long as I can keep things interesting.
     
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