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Physics and math exam study techniques

  1. Jan 4, 2006 #1
    Hey PFers,

    How do you study for exams? I missed my physics and math exams (gr 12/IB HL material) in early december due to Bronchitus and now I have to write them in January.

    What methods/strategies do you use to study for these subjects? Physics there is both conceptual and applied type questions. I have a history of doing badly on exams despite doing well in the term, but I can't let this happen any more.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2006 #2
    Try to find out how many questions will be on the exam, if you can't get this info directly from the prof then you can use the length of time given for the exam to guess. Given the number of questions and knowing what material was covered in the course you should be able to figure out what types of questions the prof will have to ask on the exam, you can then come up with your own questions covering this material or pull examples out of the book.
  4. Jan 4, 2006 #3
    One of my professors said to me once that if you make a mistake doing a problem that's ok. But if that problem was given to you again and you did not do it right then that is sad.

    I am sure you know what lessons in physics will be covered in this exam. Redo the home work problems. Specially, the ones that you got wrong.

    This a piece of advise from me
  5. Jan 4, 2006 #4
    I did the IB Math. It wasn't too bad, but I heard the physics is pretty tough (our school didn't offer HL Physics because not enough interest). For math, at least in my class, the test questions were just variations of the mid-level homework problems. So make sure you have done all the homework and understood it really well.
  6. Jan 4, 2006 #5
    Do as many problems relating to the material as possible. The more you do, the more likely one of your exam questions will require the same line of thought required to solve your practice questions.
  7. Jan 5, 2006 #6
    This is what I always do, and it always works. Study 5 days before the exam. Take, for example, a final exam. I will break up everything we did over the semseter into 5 chunks. I will then reread every page in the book, every problem in the book, and every homework problem done, and, if the teacher provides, every old exam problem. That way I am well prepared, and dont have to cram the night before. If you fail your exams but get an A through homework and participation, you really dont know anything if you cant pass a test. The trick is to space it out, and make sure that you can have an understanding of why they use certain apporaches to certain types of problems, and try to adapt those apporaches that best suit the problem on the test. If you just read over old problems with no care as to how or why its solved the way it is, you will fail, period. Be happy you have more time, and just start studying starting tonight until they day of the test, over and over and over again, so that its part of your memory.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2006
  8. Jan 6, 2006 #7
    Thanks a ton for all your responses, they look promising. My exams are next tuesday, thursday, and then the following monday and wednesday. I have begun studying for all thanks to the advice given on this thread. In the past I have left things to the last day or two before the exam, and I think that I fell into the trap that cyrusabdollahi outlined.

    Thanks everyone!
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