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Studying Studying advice for a fool.

  1. Dec 5, 2007 #1
    Hey guys, lurked here for a while now but I really enjoy the site.

    Anyways, finals are approaching and I'm kind of in a big rut. Having a good semester but I've largely ignored my physics class. I focused on my other classes more and fell pretty far behind in this one. It's just freshman physics 1, calc based general physics. My final's on Wednesday. I've got to pretty much cover 16 chapters by then while studying for my other finals and I'm curious on how to approach that. I figured I would read each chapter through once while making sure to be very thorough, then do the homework, and retake each of my exams over the semester as I cover the material.

    I know the odds are against me but I figured I would ask to see if anyone had any advice. Thanks for the replies.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2007 #2
    channel newtons or feynman or someone else.
  4. Dec 5, 2007 #3
    hahaha, I've been meditating to Einstein lately.

    I think I can pull it off. Weekend's not going to be any fun, though. :eek:
  5. Dec 5, 2007 #4


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    You've got a week; that's plenty of time. Spend a couple of days going through the material (say, 8 chapters a day) then the rest of the time doing problems. If you can get your hand on the last few years' final exams, then that would be a good thing. I always did the last years exam the night before the real exam; but that was just the way things worked for me.

    BTW, I'm only recommending this since you're short of time. Ideally, one would aim to have at least a few weeks to cover the material before spending all the time on problems.

    Oh, and welcome to PF.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  6. Dec 5, 2007 #5
    Firstly, what christo said "".
    Secondly, when you go through the course, pull out what's really, really key and make sure you know that inside out. F=-grad V=ma, conservation of energy/momentum, Gauss' law for electric fields... KEY. The 'SUVAT' equations for constant acceleration, parallel-axis theorem... maybe not so much. If in doubt, past papers are the best guide.
  7. Dec 5, 2007 #6
    again, I agree with cristo on this one. Main thing is normally to not panic. Get a plan sorted, and fast ( i know i've been guilty of procrastating by making various plans etc. plenty in the past). I would recommend getting a small amount of paper and cramming as much course content onto the page as you can. For me, anyway, this helps me to realize what's actually important in the course - and is a good way to recognise equations or work that follows from knowing other facts (and so can be deduced in the exam, who knows, there might be a big list of formulae that you don't need to learn if they can be easily derived from a single starting point, its possible)

    The main thing in physics would be the problem solving - it might seem like a stupidly obvious point, but you should make sure if theres a list of course objectives you note any derivations or definitions you need to be aware of (these are very easy marks, normally requiring very basic knowledge at that level but can trip the best of us up). And get doing problems, lots of them. Good luck.
  8. Dec 5, 2007 #7
    Ditto to Cristo. Get the theories memorized and then rip through as many problems as possible to figure out how to apply those theories. If you get jammed up on a problem, just move on and come back to it at the end. If you get super jammed on how to apply a theory, just post it in the PF homework section being sure to make a valid attempt in order to get hthe best and quickest responses (I know I don't even respond if no attempt has been made).

    Also, if the author of your text has been kind enough to include example problems among the reading with step by step solutions, don't overlook them; they can be extremely helpful.

    Get plenty of rest the night before the exam and drink plenty of coffee and water the day of the exam. <---this works wonders for me; I can't even find my keys if I am all sleepy-eyed or dehydrated!

    Good Luck!
  9. Dec 5, 2007 #8
    Thanks guys. I'm not one to panic about this kind of thing. I look at it this way, I did it to myself by slacking off so no amount of whining, complaining or anxiety is going to change the fact that the material still needs to be covered.

    The advice was great. Going to try to put it to use. Figuring I'll be alright.

    Going to try to get through Chapter 8 by tommorow and make my way from there.

    Thanks again everyone.
  10. Dec 31, 2009 #9
    I do this a lot.

    Remember, there are always easy questions. Your first aim should be to answer all the easy questions. Don't try to get really good at one chapter and neglect everything else.

    Get OK at every chapter, and once you have the basics of each chapter down, then go deeper, but try to keep the depth uniform. If you're lucky you can get the deep knowledge required in some of the subjects.

    Also, focus more on the last 8 chapters, since the prof will likely put more of those q's on the final because the first 8 were already covered on the midterm.
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