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Tips on how to properly study Physics (mechanics and magnetics)

  1. Feb 20, 2015 #1
    Next year I will be taking more than 6 ap classes and I was wondering how to manage my study time and how I study. I will be taking two exams on physics next year (AP Physics C: mechanics and electromagnetism) along with many others.

    The questions are:
    1. How do you find time to study for Physics?
    2. What do you do to learn Physics while you study?
    3. What do you do to memorize equations, main concepts and etc. for the long term (lifetime)?
    4. What do you avoid doing when studying?
    5. What do you do to learn fast?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2015 #2
    You can't learn physics "fast" per say. It's all about how well you can grasp the concept and put together the equations. I like to do practice problems when I can't grasp something because I don't really think that there is any other way because each problem looks different but still applies the same concept. You will memorize the equations the more you use them and understand them better.
  4. Feb 20, 2015 #3


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    Sometimes it can be hard to stop. I will be laying down to sleep and an old, unsolved, problem will come to mind and I just can't help but give it another shot. (It's not uncommon to realize the "key" to the problem while drifting to sleep... then in the morning you just have to do the "dirty work" of working out the numbers.)
    If you have unfinished problems and unfinished ideas in the back of your mind, then you can learn physics anywhere.

    Read with caution; that is, if you ever think you know where it is going, then try to work it out before you finish reading. If your idea differs from what the book is saying, then good, you have something to think about. (Thinking is the fun and fruitful part, reading is just the middle man.)

    Memorization for a lifetime? I think the only way to remember something for a life time is to understand it. But then there is nothing to memorize, because you already know it.

    I avoid solving the problems directly after reading the chapter (or section). I usually wait at least a day between reading and solving the problems, that way anything I accidentally memorized will be forgotten and I will have to "re-discover" the ideas of the chapter.

    To learn fast, you must go slow.
    If you go fast, you may be going fast but you will probably not be learning. Learning fast is a distraction if you are not learning deeply. It requires time to learn.
    Also; solve lots of problems which are challenging. Problems are an excellent way to develop your skills. Solving problems is the best way to learn the art of problem solving.
  5. Feb 21, 2015 #4
    Memorization really should be kept to a minimum. Not saying that it's not important to memorize certain things. But you should choose wisely what to memorize and what not.
    Instead of memorization, you might simply choose to rederive the equation if that doesn't take much work. Visualization instead of memorization is a good tool as well. Finding good tricks is also helpful. And most important: solve a lot of problems so the equations feel natural to you.

    That is the wrong question. You can learn very fast and don't remember anything after the exam. You must choose to learn deeply.
  6. Feb 22, 2015 #5
    What do you do to "learn deeply"?
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