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Need Any and All Success Tips

  1. Oct 15, 2013 #1
    So basically I'm trying very hard to get an A in my "Electricity and Magnetism" also known as physics II course at my university, I do every homework problem assigned read and fully contemplate and comprehend the chapters in my book ("Physics for Future Scientists and Engineers") assigned. I go to every lecture listen attentively take notes, I even bought a book called "A Students Guide to Maxwell's Equations" to help supplement the book and get an idea of the big picture of the class, ect...

    The problem I'm having is that I'm not doing well. So far the first test I got an 88 and the second one I got a 78. The class averages around a 35 for both tests, and the professor has adamantly declared that there are no curves for anything. I have to do very well on the last two exams if I want an A and I'm willing to do just about whatever it takes (I already quit my job, and just deactivated my facebook to stay focused).

    What can I do to help improve my grades. I'm not sure how to "study" this material other than doing practice problems. What advice can you give me? Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2013 #2
    Hey there,

    Are you a physics major? I find it weird that your bibliography is "Physics for scientists and engineers". If I were you, I'd take a look at Griffiths book. It may help you. (Some people on PF don't like Griffiths thought)

    You're not doing well? Getting a 88 and 78 in a class that averages 35 is pretty good, if you ask me. Sure the more the better, but you seem to be getting pretty stressed about it.

    I don't believe this post will tell you what you want to hear but:

    - You should not study for an A, you should study to understand the material, the best that you can! The grade will come after.
  4. Oct 15, 2013 #3


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    There are just some professors like that, if you get a B while half the class is failing then I would say you've done pretty well.

    I had a professor who refused to give A’s, even going so far as to mark off for the way you formatted your responses, wrote your name on the paper, or what have you, if he couldn’t find anything else. Roll with the punches, it’s more important about what you take from the class itself.

    Just do the homework questions multiple times, look at what you got marked off for on the previous exams and try to avoid making the same mistakes—don't kill yourself with studying. That’s my advice.
  5. Oct 15, 2013 #4
    Thanks guys I think I'm a little less worried about getting an A now, although it would be nice. I think I'm just going to try to redo homework more and maybe some other practice problems in the book.
  6. Oct 15, 2013 #5


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    For me on thing that helped was learning how to guess well at the questions that would be on the exams.

    In order to do this, you need a decent understanding of the material, which you obviously get through reading and practice. But beyond that you force yourself to consider the material covered and think about it beyond the problem-solution context. You think about it creatively and try to apply it in contexts that haven't been handed to you. This helps you to identify the areas that you don't understand so well, that you might not be aware of by chugging through problems that have been handed to you.

    And in addition to that, when you guess correctly, even partially, the tests become a lot more relaxing.
  7. Oct 16, 2013 #6


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    Homework Helper

    It sounds like you know the work really well, so my advice is to use some of your study time to practice solving questions as quickly as possible. I know this sounds odd but it could be interesting and it would give you more time in the exam if you can be quicker, more time to spend on the difficult questions.

    I would save this for when you are revising, by then you know the material so try to speed through the problems but always be neat, try to keep your answers as neat as they would otherwise be. When you read the question, underline the important details, then decide what the method is, what type of question is it, draw a simple sketch or write out anything you need to remember and then execute with a neat answer. If you find you are making mistakes, find ways to eliminate them.

    Anyway, that's my idea.
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