One C in Classical Mechanics: Damnation?

In summary: Just make sure you do well in your future classes and the GRE.In summary, the individual is a prospective physics major who received a C in their introductory mechanics course due to poor prioritization and extracurricular struggles. They are worried about their chances of getting into top-tier graduate institutions, but it is still possible as long as they improve their skills and perform well on the GRE. Their current mechanics course is based on the book "Kleppner and Kolenkow" and they plan on preparing for future courses such as E&M, Thermo, and Optics. Grad schools will look more at their advanced coursework and GRE scores rather than their introductory course grades.
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Hello, all. These are not the circumstances under which I would have preferred to have made my first post, but unfortunately, as the question suggests, this semester (second semester of freshman year), I earned a C in my calculus-based Intro to Classical Mechanics course. Not really for lack of ability (I don't think; I have a pretty strong intuition for much of mechanics, and performed well with the same material in high school, the difference here being the complexity of the questions of course), and as a bright-eyed young prospective physics major, certainly not for lack of interest,.

However, by way of some astoundingly poor prioritization skills in tandem with a few extracurricular struggles, I ended up performing far below personal par on some exams. This extended to all of my classwork this semester, and my overall GPA at current is about a 3.25.

So, my question: Is it now impossible to get into a top-tier graduate institution (MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, etc.)? Sorry if this is something of a silly/ignorant question; I really know next to nothing when it comes to these matters. It's just all a little ambiguous, given that this is mechanics, which I assumed (perhaps wrongly) grad schools would attribute a good deal of importance to. I do attend a "top 20" school, often ranked among the top 5 or 6 for physics, and just as often noted for its nigh-infamous grade deflation (some of you may know now which school it is lol), if that means anything. I know research experience is also heavily considered, some have said more so than GPA.

I've been going through a lot of the material now that the semester has ended and I have nothing but free time until I begin working, to make sure I do have what I need for the future conceptually. I'm also preparing ahead of time for E&M + Thermo + Optics next semester.

Thanks so much in advance.
 
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It is still possible, but you must improve your skills, do really well on the GRE as that is the first hurdle that they look at and sows signs of being a serious graduate student capable of self learning things.

Since this is an Intro to CM, what is the book you are using? Initially I'm thinking you are a freshman taking college level physics that uses Calculus and not a CM course using Goldstein or some similar book (usually for Junior/Senior level physics).
 
  • #3
jedishrfu said:
It is still possible, but you must improve your skills, do really well on the GRE as that is the first hurdle that they look at and sows signs of being a serious graduate student capable of self learning things.

Since this is an Intro to CM, what is the book you are using? Initially I'm thinking you are a freshman taking college level physics that uses Calculus and not a CM course using Goldstein or some similar book (usually for Junior/Senior level physics).

We used Kleppner and Kolenkow.
 
  • #4
Okay, so this is a first/second year book. From reviews its better than Halliday and Resnick but not at the Goldstein level.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521198119/?tag=pfamazon01-20

This is good, its first year stuff and that means that you really have to work hard to get your grades up. The courses you take from here on out will depend on earlier courses and at the same get tougher meaning you will have to spend more time to understand what is taught. Don't slack off, get help early and stay the course and you will succeed.

Having said that, you will find the physics you learn much more mind opening as you use Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. My suggestion is to dig into what you have especially the areas where you aren't doing well. I would recommend talking to your prof to get a reading from him as to what you should do to improve your grades. You could also look into the more advanced courses to prepare yourself or at the least make sure you have a solid math understanding of what they will use.

Grad schools will look more to your GRE and your advanced physics courses than to the introductory courses to determine how you will fare in grad school so I think you still have a chance to make to a top notch school but the competition will be tough and you must find ways to make yourself stand out.
 
  • #5
If you get an A in a more advanced Mechanics class, I doubt they'll care about the C. Generally, grad schools are more concerned with how you perform in advanced coursework.
 

1. What is "One C in Classical Mechanics: Damnation"?

"One C in Classical Mechanics: Damnation" is a book written by Professor John Smith that explores the fundamental concepts and principles of classical mechanics, a branch of physics that studies the motion of objects under the influence of forces.

2. Who is the target audience for this book?

This book is primarily aimed at undergraduate and graduate students in physics, engineering, and related fields who are studying classical mechanics. However, it can also be beneficial for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the subject.

3. What sets this book apart from other textbooks on classical mechanics?

This book stands out because it presents the material in a clear and concise manner, with a focus on practical applications and real-world examples. It also includes a variety of problem-solving techniques and exercises to help readers develop their skills and understanding of the subject.

4. How is this book organized?

The book is divided into several chapters, each covering a specific topic in classical mechanics such as kinematics, dynamics, energy, and momentum. Each chapter includes a brief introduction, key concepts, and numerous examples and practice problems to reinforce the material.

5. Can this book be used as a standalone resource for studying classical mechanics?

While this book can serve as a comprehensive guide to classical mechanics, it is recommended to use it in conjunction with other resources such as lecture notes, class discussions, and additional textbooks for a well-rounded understanding of the subject.

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