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Studying Tips for studying for Exam?

  1. Nov 25, 2011 #1
    Hello guys, I have a physics midterm coming up on 11/29, and I am studying all day, everyday during this thanksgiving break. The reason why I am studying so hard is because I have never taken physics in high school, and now in freshman year of college, I am struggling with General Physics course. I did horrible on previous 2 midterms getting scores of 74/100, and 50/100. So I realized I need to work much more, and use the most effective methods possible.

    So my midterm will cover topics of these chapters of Physics For Scientists and Engineers 8e, Serway, Jewett:

    Ch 12: Static Equilibrium and Elasticity
    Ch 13: Universal Gravitation
    Ch 14: Fluid Mechanics
    Ch 15: Oscillations and Mechanical Waves
    Ch 16: Wave motion
    Ch 17: Sound waves
    Ch 18: Superposition and Standing Waves

    Currently I am just studying for the test by redoing all of the homework problems that were assigned in that class. And I use the book or online resources for help if I get stuck on the question. When I get the answer correct, I redo the problem again without any outside help. I really try to understand every detailed aspect of each problem.

    Later I plan to use flashcards to memorize all of the equations that might appear on the test.

    Do you all have any helpful studying methods that I can use to prepare for the upcoming midterm? I aiming for 90+ for the test. I need to use the most effective method to study for the test. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2011 #2
    First off, try and figure out what kind of questions are going to be on the exam. In the past, have the exam problems been conceptual, or something you have to work out. If there was a test review, stick to the problems he outlined.

    The best strategy that works for me is to studying the main homework problems, if they are from the book, cramster is a good source for solutions. Most tests don't give long problems, so study the basic concepts for the short problems first. Look for conceptual problems out of the book and just try and remember two or three keywords for certain definitions. Since your covering a lot of chapters I would think that there would be a lot of conceptual problems based on true or false, or multiple choice. Anything you have to work out is probably from a main concept in one of the chapters, and would more than likely be short. Most of the time its not about memorizing the equation, but knowing how to use it.
  4. Nov 25, 2011 #3


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    Homework Helper

    When I revise, I usually take stock of the resources I have available. This will often include:
    Lecture notes (ones I've taken, and sometimes ones put online by lecturer), Problem sheets, answers to problem sheets, old exams, recommended textbooks, anything else the lecturer might hand out or put online.

    In other words, everything that you know will be relevant to your course. On top of that, you could also use the internet more generally (wikipedia for example), and other textbooks that are not necessarily recommended. In general, I'd say you should spend most of your time using the stuff in the first paragraph to revise from. (In other words, don't spend too much time reading stuff which might not be relevant).

    Looking through old exams (if you are allowed to) is one very good way to revise, because then you are likely to get a good idea of what you will need to do in the exam. But I have had exams where the past exam papers were very different, so you also need to be ready for that possibility. As long as you read through all the material the lecturer has given (and understand it), then you should be fine.

    That makes me think of another point. You should also be practising problems so you really do understand it all as well as you think you do. (I have gone into exams where I thought I understood it all, but when it came down to it, I couldn't do the questions). I see from your post that you are doing homework problems. That's a good indication that you are understanding it!

    One other thing I do is to write summary notes on topics (the most important stuff to remember). And this makes it all a bit clearer in my head.
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