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Mining Engineering vs Physics?

  1. Mar 3, 2014 #1
    Hello all!

    I'm new here, but after finding this forum, I've come to you all to hopefully gain some insight and advice on my situation.


    Last December, I decided I was going to move cross country to an engineering school, after figuring out my then current degree wasn't really what I wanted to do (AutoCAD). My original goal before I moved, was to get into a mining engineering program, as they offer courses in explosives and general pyrotechnics, but after being exposed to different options and new minds, I've been struggling with deciding between that, and physics.


    A little background on myself; I did well in high school, I mostly didn't have to try to get good grades (I think I ended up with a 3.3 GPA), but math was my only subject that didn't come naturally to me. I have issues with learning it, but once I do, I have it down solid. Now that I'm faced with a thing that doesn't come naturally to me, I want to learn how to do it and perfect it.

    I've always wondered how things work, on the very basic level, even from when I was little. And then in my senior year of high school, I started to self teach myself some physics, as it was interesting, and it still calls to me.



    So, after that rambling, my question is;
    1.) Would you recommend studying physics at an undergraduate level to someone who is slow at learning math, but has a passion for it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2014 #2
    On my undergrad physics degree the maths is fast and intense, loads of people struggle with it. We all needed to get good maths grades to get onto the course, but still 50% of the class were recommended to go to extra maths tuition classes because they got a low score on our maths diagnostic test at the beginning of the year.

    You may find you're better at mathematics than you think. I taught myself up to the standard required for university entry, and I was very slow and methodical and spent a lot of time really making sure I had everything on a pretty solid basis, some of it took ages to sink in. Now at university everything is way faster but I'm still absolutely fine, presumably because someone else is teaching me, instead of me teaching myself.
     
  4. Mar 3, 2014 #3

    micromass

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    Saying "I am slow at math" is a bit of a vague statement. Can I ask some questions to clarify?

    1) What is the highest math course you took?
    2) What was your average grade on math courses?
    3) How long did you study for math in high school each day?
    4) If you compare with others in your math classes, do you think many were better? How come you think that?
    5) What about math do you think is difficult? Can you give an example maybe?

    Physics is very math intensive. So if you have any serious issues with math, it is best to identify them now and try to work towards solving them now.
     
  5. Mar 3, 2014 #4
    I'm sorry if I was at all unclear, I posted this at the end of a night shift, and was rather tired :redface:

    1) Right now I am taking pre-calculus, and working my way higher.
    2) My average grade in math has been around a B-.
    3) Studying wise, I probably did about an hour each night, depending on what we were covering, and what other things were going on.
    4) I'd say there were some who get it faster than I do, and I fall behind because of it. I'm the slow one of the class, since I have to see the.. "Why?" behind each step, and I suffer for it.
    5) It's difficult in the terms of being expected to have things memorized we barely spent four hours covering, and not getting good feedback on where I went wrong over problems. But now that I'm typing this, I think my main issue is the teacher himself..

    I appreciate the replies!
     
  6. Mar 3, 2014 #5

    micromass

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    An hour studying for math each day sounds about average. So it's not like you're studying an extremely long time to get bad results. Perhaps you might even want to put in more work!

    It does sound like the teacher is not perfect. If you're not getting decent feedback on where you went wrong, then you can't learn properly. Then again, you can't use this as an excuse since not all teachers are going to be good, even in a physics major. If your teacher can't help you decently, then you need to seek other ways. You can always ask for feedback on this forum (this includes help with your problem sets, or feedback what you did wrong on an exam). Or you might want to hire a tutor. Just don't be afraid to ask questions!

    You should know that math is only going to get harder. Calculus II seems to be considered as the most difficult math class. So if you're going to go into physics, then you should really make time to study the math well. One hour each day isn't going to cut it. That said, I don't see why it should be impossible for you to do physics, as long as you're willing to work hard!
     
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