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Seeking advice for Physics class...

  1. Jan 3, 2016 #1


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    Greetings Folks!

    I am studying Industrial Engineering in Koç University. Because of the applied core program we are having Physics course as natural. For first term code of the course is 101 (which covers classical mechanics). Although Physics was&is my favorite subject I continuously fail at school's exams. I have solid background on math and physics (esp. in math) so I can not figure out where do I fail.

    I attend all of the lectures, PS sessions and study myself also.
    As our professor goes very conceptual in the lessons (extremely difficult problems that are far beyond to an introductory course) I loose my motivation during the lessons and currently can't motivate myself to study.

    I think that I can not get into the logic of the university courses so I am in need of advises that answer following ones;

    How should I study to succeed?
    Is there any extra resources that you can suggest?

    I am academic driven student and get easily dream-broken with low grades (extremely concerned with my GPA) and my physics grades axe my GPA scarcely. Might call it obsession also. I will send my best goodwills you folks if you would help me!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2016 #2
    Can you give one or two examples of the extremely difficult problems discussed by the professor.
  4. Jan 3, 2016 #3


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    If you love physics, finding motivation for study shouldn't be an issue. It sounds like you're doing badly, and it's causing a downward spiral in your classes.

    Have you talked to your professors and seen what they think? They have a more intimate knowledge of you and your ranking in the classes.

    Are you working all the problem sets?
  5. Jan 3, 2016 #4
    I think this is what breaks you academically.
    Too often today students are way too concerned with getting that perfect 4.0 GPA, and think the way one succeeds in classes is this process:
    1. Go to class
    2. Do homework and ask questions about really hard problems
    3. Start studying a couple days before the test and cramming the material you don't completely understand yet into your head
    4. Achieve that A or B after that stressful test experience and get discouraged that you didn't get that perfect score because you felt that you put in way too much effort.

    Does this sound like you? Worry not, as this describes practically any average student.

    What separates the average students from good students is their method of attacking the material at hand.

    Instead of following the norm that a majority of students follow (and some teachers nowadays even craft classes around this mentality which is a whole other subject to discuss in itself), try to approach the material from an academic perspective. Simply, try to learn the material. Don't focus on studying really hard on that confusing thing your professor barely glossed over in class, focus on that concept he just went over that you still don't get. Ask questions!

    There's lots more I could go into about this but don't get too hung up on grades. If this helps, I started calculus 1 with a D- and by the end of the semester I was able to get an A. Never felt anxiety throughout the entire semester except at the beginning and during tests of course. Don't ever let one poorly done assignment ruin your entire drive in succeeding in a course.
  6. Jan 3, 2016 #5


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    One of the first adjustable parameters in solving the "study -> grades" problem is time. How much time are you currently spending on your physics class? And perhaps more importantly, do your results improve when you spend more time studying? A lot of students come out of high school used to getting good grades without putting a lot of time into their studies. This stops working in university.

    Along those lines it can also be important to think about how efficiently you study. Some students are stubborn in that when they get stuck on a problem, the focus on it and don't work on anything else until it is solved. While a little bit of stubbornness is a good thing in physics, don't let it detract from accomplishing other things. Learn to recognize a problem that's not going to be solved immediately, make a note of it, and move on so that your time can be spent making progress on other things. You can usually come back to these things.

    Something else that can help is to buddy up with students who are performing better than you. What are they doing that you're not? While everyone learns differently this might help you to identify a few of the more subtle things in your approach to studying that you won't be able to identify otherwise. It can also help just to have friends with similar interests and goals.

    Are you able to read ahead? It can be really difficult to get much out of a lecture when you're seeing a lot of the material for the fist time. If you read ahead, have a general idea of what the professor will b talking about, and come to class with some specific questions in mind you'll get more out of the lecture.

    Something else to work on might be your test-taking skills themselves. Practice solving problems under time constraints. Go into each exam with a strategy in mind. Review prior exams if the university makes them available.
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