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It really sounds pretty manageable, but really I just feel like there aren't enough hours in the week. It can take me over 5 hours to solve a single problem, for some of the harder ones. Even the easier ones, where I go in knowing every step to get to the solution, can take me 2+ hours just because of the number of steps involved and the level of care I have to put into each and every step. Then, if you can't solve some problem, by the time the solutions are posted the following week, there's no time to go back and look at them or try similar problems because I've got another problem set on a brand new topic to work on. The only time not spent doing homework is the time spent in class, eating, or sleeping and it's still not enough. I've never been very fast at solving math and physics problems, but I do eventually solve them. I've never understood why so much of math/physics education ends up depending on how fast you can solve problems.

I'm wondering if anyone has had any similar issues. I mean, it's one thing to follow along to an example problem in a textbook and then solve a nearly identical problem, but when you are given a problem you have never seen before and are expected to just figure it out by calling on all of the knowledge you have accumulated over the years and throwing in a little bit of intuition, I'm just not sure how to speed up that process. In the past the problems have obviously been easier and more direct so this really hasn't been an issue before now, and I am not surprised by the increase in difficulty nor does it bother me spending hours figuring these things out, but despite the length and difficulty of the problems continuing to increase, the amount of time we are given to solve them remains exactly the same. My intro classes had the exact same format, <10 homework questions per week and 1.4 hours for a ~4 question exam. But those questions were basically rearranging some equation you are just given, and plug in some numbers. Now it's still the same number of questions and the same amount of time, but the problems involve several triple integrals, evaluating boundary conditions, testing for convergence, tons of algebraic manipulations and substitutions, etc. If I could take fewer classes I would and that would solve at least the homework problem, but I am taking the minimum number of credits allowed by my school (yet another thing I fail to see the point of).

So is there something I can do to speed things up, or is this just some systemic problem with college level physics programs that I just have to deal with?