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Struggling to do well

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  • Thread starter starstruck_
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Heyyy! I know I’ve asked for advice before and trust me I’ve followed it as much as possible but all of the work I’m putting in isn’t paying off. I do and then redo assignments until I can’t find mistakes anymore and if I don’t understand something on a problem set or assignment, I ask for help but I don’t copy answers down, I throw questions at the person helping me until I understand the reasoning I need to find the answers. This isn’t paying off for my midterms though.

I recently wrote my electricity and magnetism midterm and I heard that the class was incredibly difficult so I studied for a week, I could solve the textbook questions on E&M - Edward Purcell, the mock test was easy, and honestly so was my actual midterm.

However, I made the STUPIDEST mistakes possible - drew my forces the wrong way which messed up a sign in my calculations (wasn’t even too big of a deal- I had the right process and stuff) but there was a conclusion I had to draw from my calculation so that was wrong too (my conclusion didn’t make sense to me so I knew something was off but I just couldn’t find the issue- until of course I submitted my test )

There was this one question I missed because I couldn’t wrap my head around visualizing it but I KNEW I did something similar before; left school, sat on the bus and thought about it for like 10 secs and bam, got the solution to everything- how I had to visualize and the value I should have gotten from the integral I was supposed to do.

I honestly hate myself for this. I ended up with a 60 when I knew enough to get a minimum of like 80 (accounting for tiny mistakes).

I want to make it to grad school and I’m putting my all into my courses but I have no outcome.

Sure, I do have work study and I started in first year+ I’m also doing a concurrent BEd. Degree so I’ll have around 6 years of research experience before I apply for grad school, but how’s that any help when I can’t get the marks :(

I completely screwed up my GPA in first year because of Calc 2, plus I’m retaking calc 3 but I’ve learnt from my mistakes and want to turn this around.

My goal is to be able to apply for physics or astronomy grad school at the University of Toronto- don’t see that happening.

I want to give up on grad school but that’s not the kind of person I am, heck if I wanted to give up, id never have decided to do physics in the first place.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
12,689
9,231
This sounds as if you made a lot of small mistakes from the category "unnecessary and stupid" commonly known as "what the heck?". It's difficult to advise you on that, because it can have quite a few causes: from your general personality, up to nervousness, or lack of concentration. Perhaps these tricks here you help you to avoid those simple mistakes: https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/10-math-tips-save-time-avoid-mistakes/ by channeling your thoughts by procedures and habits. I tend(ed?) to make more of these kind of errors the more certain I am, so it could well be a consequence of a good preparation, but this is - of course - just another possible cause and guess, resp. inappropriate comparison of me and you.

My wisdom is in principle condensed in the above article, and especially thought to guide people to deal with nervousness. Another possibility is to read a book on logic. It may be boring, but it could practice your senses for details and rigor.
 
  • #3
verty
Homework Helper
2,164
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My advice is to solve more problems so that you can recognize the type of problem more easily. Do the extra problems in your book. I know it's no fun but it should help.
 
  • #4
184
8
This sounds as if you made a lot of small mistakes from the category "unnecessary and stupid" commonly known as "what the heck?". It's difficult to advise you on that, because it can have quite a few causes: from your general personality, up to nervousness, or lack of concentration. Perhaps these tricks here you help you to avoid those simple mistakes: https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/10-math-tips-save-time-avoid-mistakes/ by channeling your thoughts by procedures and habits. I tend(ed?) to make more of these kind of errors the more certain I am, so it could well be a consequence of a good preparation, but this is - of course - just another possible cause and guess, resp. inappropriate comparison of me and you.

My wisdom is in principle condensed in the above article, and especially thought to guide people to deal with nervousness. Another possibility is to read a book on logic. It may be boring, but it could practice your senses for details and rigor.
I do have anxiety issues so you might actually be right on point (had a massive anxiety attack recently) I’ll take a look at the link and the advice on reading a book on logic- anything to help me reduce my stupid mistakes. The assignments are no different from our tests but some reason I screw up more on tests. Thank you!
 
  • #5
12,689
9,231
I do have anxiety issues so you might actually be right on point (had a massive anxiety attack recently) I’ll take a look at the link and the advice on reading a book on logic- anything to help me reduce my stupid mistakes. The assignments are no different from our tests but some reason I screw up more on tests. Thank you!
In this case, channeling your thoughts into habits and procedures might help: replace them by a harmless (= have an eye on the amount!) OCD like sharpening pencils or so. I'm no friend of advising that on the internet, but maybe you should consult a psychologist or neurologist, because anxiety disorders are normally well treatable, and depending on their severity already by relatively harmless (= no addictions and few to none side effects) drugs. In any case don't use a self-medication or easily available poisons like THC or ethanol - these will most likely (> 99%) cause more bad than good.
 
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