Trouble recalling details from first year Physics

In summary, the speaker is starting their second year of physics and is struggling to recall concepts and visualize scenarios like they used to. They also have difficulty remembering important details and their brain feels "fuzzy" when trying to understand how concepts are related. They mention a specific scenario involving the velocity of a bullet and the rotation of the Earth, which they would have easily understood in their first year but now have to think through every detail. They wonder if this is because they haven't been doing physics for a while and express concern about feeling slow. The other person responds by saying that it is normal to review material multiple times and that it will be worth the effort in the long run. The conversation ends with the speaker expressing their struggles with an advanced
  • #1
yuft
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1
Hey everyone! So, I’m starting my second year of physics this Wednesday ,but I have a bit of a problem.

I’m having trouble recalling concepts and fundamental details from first year.

I took a full year physics course in 1st year (divided into kinematics/ dynamics -first half and Electricity and Magnetism- second part). I’m having trouble imagining and visualizing scenarios like I used to.
I also don’t remember important details of the concepts- like when I was doing Physics, the details of how two concepts were related ( example conservation of energy and angular momentum) were easy for me to recall and understand, they clicked, my brain didn’t feel fuzzy. Now, I have to sit down for a while and think through every little detail to see how they’re related and my brain blanks out.
As I was browsing through Reddit, there was a question about the velocity of a bullet shot straight up, and then a comment asking if the rotation of the Earth would effect the velocity.
If this was first year, right off the bat I would say it doesn’t as we rotate at the same speed as the Earth and this answer would kind of “click” in my brain and make sense. Now, however, even though it makes sense to me, it doesn’t “click”. I don’t know how else to explain that. Like everything related to the answer would make sense but now I have to sit down and think through every little aspect like, I sat down and started a thought experiment where air resistance was a thing and then that got me into whether the air rotated with the planet and at the same rate or not.

Such a mess. I now struggle to visualize the scenarios I think of and can’t come with answers for those scenarios on my own like I used to (which I’m assuming other people could).Is it because I haven’t been doing physics for a while?
2 months ago, I did do summer school but just math and Earth science.
I’m a little worried, I feel extremely slow.

Has this happened to other people before?

I’ve been doing some second year problem sets and the repeated first year parts - I don’t feel like I’m actually taking time to understand the question, I just know what I have to do and that doesn’t feel very comfortable. Sorry for how long this is!
 
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  • #2
This is very normal, and one thing that makes for a very good student is to not be afraid to review something that may require learning the material a second or third time. If you get over this hurdle with some of the concepts that you might have almost completely forgotten, and it might also take considerable time and effort, it will be well worth the investment, and you'll be well on your way to adding to that knowledge in future classes.
 
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  • #3
Some people learn this either the hard way or the late way:
Charles Link said:
This is very normal, and one thing that makes for a very good student is to not be afraid to review something that may require learning the material a second or third time. If you get over this hurdle with some of the concepts that you might have almost completely forgotten, and it might also take considerable time and effort, it will be well worth the investment, and you'll be well on your way to adding to that knowledge in future classes.
 
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  • #4
symbolipoint said:
Some people learn this either the hard way or the late way:

Welp I’ve started reviewing. First day of E&M (I had 5 hours straight of physics, my poor brain) and my prof said something about how gravity is a conservative force and I over thought it- I just started thinking of what he meant and going through my head about everything ik about gravity that shows it’s a conservative force.

This is going to be a long year.
 
  • #5
E&M, (electricity and magnetism), especially the advanced undergraduate E&M physics course, can be a rather difficult one, but it is a major step forward if you can pick up the concepts. Suggestion when you get stuck is to post your problems on the Physics Forums Homework section. The E&M is actually a little easier than it looks if it is explained well. Sometimes individual tutoring like you can get by posting the homework problems can be very helpful.
 
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  • #6
Charles Link said:
E&M, (electricity and magnetism), especially the advanced undergraduate E&M physics course, can be a rather difficult one, but it is a major step forward if you can pick up the concepts. Suggestion when you get stuck is to post your problems on the Physics Forums Homework section. The E&M is actually a little easier than it looks if it is explained well. Sometimes individual tutoring like you can get by posting the homework problems can be very helpful.

Definitely will! My prof is incredibly good (from what I've heard) but also makes the course insanely hard. I did struggle with E&M last year but that’s the only physics I remember. All of kinematics and dynamics is a whirlpool of confusion at the moment :’((
 
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  • #7
I quickly forgot many, many things from past classes shortly after taking them.
A lot of times the more advanced classes that deal with those concepts will touch on them in the beginning as a reminder.

This happens to anyone who isn't actively doing related work/problems.
 
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1. Why do I have trouble recalling details from first year Physics?

There could be a variety of reasons for this. Some common factors include a lack of interest or motivation in the subject, inadequate studying techniques, and a lack of understanding of fundamental concepts.

2. Is it normal to struggle with remembering Physics concepts from the first year?

Yes, it is common for students to have difficulty recalling details from first year Physics. This is because it is a complex subject that requires a strong foundation in math and critical thinking skills.

3. How can I improve my memory of first year Physics concepts?

There are several ways to improve your memory of Physics concepts. These include actively engaging with the material by practicing problems, seeking help from a tutor or classmate, and breaking down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable pieces.

4. Can taking breaks while studying help with retaining Physics information?

Yes, taking short breaks while studying can actually improve your retention of Physics information. This is because it gives your brain time to process and consolidate the information you have learned.

5. Are there any techniques or strategies specifically for remembering Physics concepts?

Yes, there are several techniques that can help with remembering Physics concepts. These include creating visual aids, making connections to real-life examples, and using mnemonic devices to associate new information with something you already know.

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