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Passion for physics/mathematics but lack of Experience

  1. May 29, 2012 #1
    I have been looking now for almost 1 year for my specific problem I am dealing in School right now.

    To make things clear I am a graduate student in High school and in a month or so I will be graduating High School.

    My major interests is Physics specifically Radio-Astronomy. However I dough my skills day by day is falling.Let me explain why:

    In my previous years ( from elementary school until the first year of high school ) I never payed and special attention to my mathematics and physics classes and actually I really hated maths( and also failed math 3 times ). However for some reasons , after my second year in High school I had a huge passion for science. After giving more attention to school I realised that I was dealing a serious problems facing my tests and all the exercises ( homework etc) . You see when I face a problem in Math or physics ( before I do solve any problems ) I read the theory and the book examples and It seems that I understand it fair enough. When it comes for using the theory I really cant solve it , I screw up everything. Even when I get up to solve a problem in class , I am a graduate student and still get nervous and anxious that I wont be able to solve the problem. Note that my teachers have told my parents that I am a really good student however get really anxious and screw up in tests (** And also I really know some basic Algeura and Caculus ). Also my marks are fairly pretty good I would say B+ but I struggle so much with the problems and tests.

    I think I fail to improve in these subjects because :

    a) I think that I never had the experience of practicing problems and solving them.And generally in the aura of studying.
    b) Perhaps the way I study is not that effective? Truth to be told I give special attention to the theory and not so much on practicing however as I said when I come face to face with a problem I freeze and dont know what to do ( sometimes I think that perhaps I dont have the mathematical skills to solve this problem ) and after seeing the answer everything is so obvious to me. So I really cant see the obvious?
    c) I find that I dough my self a lot of times. Even out of school for other things sometimes I dough my self and really don't have that strong charecter that will stand up for hes own rights.
    d) Or I really suck in the science classes.

    I would truly appreciate any reply for those who have similar experience , or could suggest me something that I could do improving my self in general. I am still giving my final exams so any useful tips would be great. But also I have a whole summer ahead of me that I could apply my self into physics and math before I attend to a College.

    P.S Forgive me for not being so detailed but my time is quite limited.

    Thanks ,

  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2012 #2
    Getting good at mathematics and science is really, really time-consuming. You should ask yourself if you're willing to put in the effort. Life of a scientists is very romanticized in some books. Most of the times it's really hard work and quite demanding.

    Now, if you do decide to get good at math and science, then that's great. It might be that you're missing some prerequisites. So I suggest you read the book "Basic mathematics" by Serge Lang. It really contains everything you need to know about math before calculus. At the same time you can read a physics book.

    Here's the method I usually try to do when reading a math/science book:

    1) Go to the exercises at the end of the chapter and try to solve them. You will likely fail as you did not review the relevant theory. But it will set your mind at the things you will study.

    2) Read the relevant chapter swiftly. Do not spend much time on the derivations. Just think about how everything will help you solving the exercises. Think about the relevant formula's.

    3) Read everything more careful. Make sure you understand all the derivations, all the theorems. All the proofs.

    4) Close your book and try to rederive everything. Write down the formula's, theorems and proofs from memory. If you get stuck and really can't find it, look in your book.

    5) Try to solve the exercises. Try not to look in the theory but rederive the formula's you might need.

    6) Try to expand on the material. Make a mindmap. Try to make connections with earlier theory. Think about whether all assumptions of proofs are necessary. Where did you make the assumption? Would the theory fail without the assumption?? Does the converse hold true? Where can you use the involved theorem?? etc.

    7) Make up your own exercises and solve them.

    Following these steps, I assure you, you will be great in mathematics and science. But it is very time intensive.
  4. May 30, 2012 #3
    I Kindly appreciate your reply. And also I quite understand that the career of any scientist is really a challenge, but personally that adds to it's beauty of a job.

    I think I am pretty ready for some hard work in order to improve my self now that school will finish. However I really want to do things right and once I enter in college to not deal with the same problems once again.
    Ill be sure to check out the book of Serge Lang. Are they any good suggestions of great physics text books? My main goal is to improve in mathematics , because as far as physics I really understand the theory but as I said my conflict is solving problems.

    Also if there is anyone who knows any good methods for writing math/physics tests or even had a similar problem. I would truly appreciate it. :-)
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