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Stuggling in Physics

  1. Feb 2, 2008 #1
    I am struggling in my second physics course. My last physics class was a lot easier (because the material was much easier and the homeworks and exams were also much easier). I spend hours studying, reviewing, and doing homework, but I still don't understand it. Does physics require talent and not just hard work? How am I suppose to learn/study physics? I'm sure I'm studying the wrong way and don't have the talent for physics and I'm losing motivation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2008 #2


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    Hi bubbles- sorry to hear you aren't enjoying your physics as much in your second course. You should find a tutor to explain the material to you in a different way than your professor uses. Let your professor know you're having trouble; he or she may know of tutors.

    Hard work is required even of people who have talent - I don't think it's "easy" for anyone. The one thing all physics majors have in common is determination.

    One mistake that students make is they don't get enough sleep. You can't learn if you're frustrated and tired.

    Good luck!
  4. Feb 2, 2008 #3
    While talent is certainly a factor, there are many very successful, prolific, and highly untalented professors in the world. You are absolutely right that if you feel you aren't learning anything then you're studying the wrong way. This doesn't mean you can't learn it, it just means you're studying the wrong way! Introductory electrostatics is harder for almost everyone than introductory Newtonian mechanics, so you're in good company.

    I think where a lot of students make a breakthrough in second semester physics is when they learn to start visualizing problems. Just doing problems isn't enough, but of course you need to do problems to practice visualizing them; when you can actually "see" what's going on, everything starts falling into place.
  5. Feb 2, 2008 #4


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    physics is certainly not easy. Having said that some hard work and given that you are not misguided, you should be able to accomplish quite a lot. At ugrad level at least, it shouldn't be a problem. Seek help if needed!
    work out which are of physics that you have been having problem with: is it the mathematics? is it the concepts? is it just solving exam style problems? each would require different tactic to tackle. sit down and think about what is failing you and target those areas head on. good luck
  6. Feb 4, 2008 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    Definitely approach your professor *immediately*, if not sooner, and have an open honest discussion about your difficulties. Do not expect your professor to have a magic answer, but it is imperative that you show your professor that even though you are working your butt off (and bring your homework etc. to prove it), you are not "getting it".
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