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Mastering physics is Amazing!

  1. Apr 6, 2009 #1
    It's by far the best way to give out homework relevant to lectures

    i give it a 10/10

    how many people have used masteringphysics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2009 #2
    i have and i thought it was wrong at times , and subjective
  4. Apr 6, 2009 #3
    Yea, I also think that it is terrible and ridiculous from time to time.
    For instance, it accepts say, 4.51, for answer but not 4.512
    And I am not sure how it works for others, but personally I think it is more of plug in the number type, which somehow I don't really like.
  5. Apr 6, 2009 #4
    It must've changed since you last used it,
    it gives feedback, says 4.512 is correct but tells you to use the correct number of significant figures.
  6. Apr 6, 2009 #5


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    Mastering physics is pretty good. Like you say it does tell you the correct number of sig figs if you enter them wrong which is nice. Also, its symbolic formatting is pretty good and generally it will accept things in almost any form. Although, there have been several times where it gives an error saying there's something wrong with my answer when it really just doesn't like the number of parenthesis or something like that.

    Mastering physics is used how the teacher will let you use it. For the class I used it for, most of the work was symbolic. Of course, it works equally well for numerical answers.

    I'd give it about an 8/10 because it's not perfect, but it's pretty good.
  7. Apr 6, 2009 #6
    Is Mastering Physics something that is available with the purchase of certain textbooks?
  8. Apr 6, 2009 #7
    It was 5 years ago now that I used it for a physics class, and it was awful. They were incredibly pointless questions that didn't actually teach any meanginful physics, just ensured we could do trivial calculations. I hated it.
  9. Apr 6, 2009 #8
    Not trying to be retarded,
    Maybe it improved over the years (although it was about a couple years ago while I was using it).
    I do want to point out that there were quite a few times that we, as a class were all frustrated by mastering physics because everyone got the same answer except the computer...
    Indeed, mastering physics actually saves a lot more time for TAs, and one can get instant feedback. I guess I was a bit bitter while I was talking about it.
    But Mastering physics, on the other hand, was ill suited for some type of questions. For instance, you know the final result, say, the energy shift due to the electron magnetic dipole moment, but the professor want you to derive it by hand. It would be hard to do the derivation on the mastering physics. Also, the proof base homework. In general, those hws that emphasize more on the procedures rather than the results would be hard to be used as mastering physics problems.
  10. Apr 12, 2009 #9
    It comes with Knight's "Physics: for scientists and engineers", a 1st year uni book.

    I used it last year, it was OK, although most of the questions were formulaic. There was one or two questions that were conceptually difficult. It certainly made it far quicker to get feedback on assignments.
  11. Apr 12, 2009 #10
    waste of time and money

    Pen and paper is the best way to master physics not some fancy computer program that is designed to take money from poor undergrads.
  12. Apr 12, 2009 #11
    i will agree with zmike , plus on pen and paper you might get partial credit
    by your teacher cause he can see your work .
  13. Apr 25, 2009 #12
    I just finished my 1st year physics course , we used this book, and thank god we did not need to use mastering physics...online programs may give quick feedback but I do not believe they are a great learning tool, more of a way for TAs to slack.
  14. Apr 25, 2009 #13
    Absolutely terrible piece of software. Terrible. Just god awful.
  15. Apr 25, 2009 #14
    MasteringPhysics can be done by skimming over the textbook, looking for the equations, and finishing them off with plugging and chugging. Boring and useless waste of time, in my opinion.
  16. Apr 26, 2009 #15
    I think it could be made to work for these types of questions, using a trick one of my profs liked to use: He would ask questions like "What would this (well known result) be if we lived in 5 (or n) dimensions?" or "What would this (known result) be if this (fundamental constant) were different (where the change could change some of the approximations)?" With questions like these you can ensure that the students understand the derivations, and haven't simply looked them up (which is a problem even for "normal" homework assignments).
  17. May 1, 2009 #16
    Isn't that the general goal of commercial software? To take money from someone?

    I agree with you when you say THIS is a waste of money, but I couldn't disagree more about pen and paper being the best way to master a mathematical subject.

    Software such as Mathematica more than make up for their cost with the accelerated topic absorption rate they allow for. Being able to derive, differentiate, set-up problems, test circumstances, wild thoughts and assumptions, all at a thought's notice, that is worthy of hard cash.

    A good book and good mathematical software, that is an amazing combination.
  18. May 1, 2009 #17
    ive noticed that when you use matematica to check your integral is gives in a way that u wouldn't get by coming up with it by hand . And most kids over use their graphing calculators.
  19. May 1, 2009 #18


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    when I paper graded, I would mark people down for putting 4.512 for not paying attention to significant figures. They wouldn't get the whole problem wrong though, just a point off.
  20. May 1, 2009 #19
    Not true. It is easier to manipulate answers. In the end, you wouldn't be solving things by hand and I think it is not productive to do everything by hand if you understand how to solve the problem.
  21. May 1, 2009 #20
    its annoynig when it gives the integral in hyperbolic functions , those are had to manipulate esciplecilly since they raley teach them.
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