What grade is expected of physics students?

This is typical of physics classrooms and especially in a calculus-based course. The pass rates for Physics 1 with Calculus can vary, but it is generally expected that students who have passed Calculus 1 and are mathematically inclined will do well in the course. However, as the course progresses and requires more mathematical maturity, some students may struggle and drop out. It is important to focus on your overall GPA and do your best in courses relevant to your major and future goals. Ultimately, passing with a C may be considered average, but the value of passing depends on individual goals and efforts.
  • #1
Mathlol
I am in community college. I participated in Calculus 2 last semester and I passed with an A and I'm currently participating in Calculus 3. The pass rate for Calculus 2 was high (i'd roughly estimate 90+ percent or more of my class passed ).

I'm in physics 1 with calculus and the pass rate is very low. We started with around 40 students and we are around 20 students currently. We just took exam 2 today and it was brutal. A great amount of the class was remaining after 2 hours of testing and a we were given an extra 15 minutes in addition but definitely struggling as occurring. Is this typical of physics classrooms?

My calculus professor told me that the same situation happened last year with the same professor. Again, this is this course isn't general physics, but Physics 1 with Calculus. The requirements to sign up for this course was completion of Calc 1 with a passing grade, so the students in this class are more mathematically inclined than the average loiter on the college.

So to re-iterate my rambling internet post, into a more concise question, how was your experience is physics 1 with calculus or equivalent course? What grades are acceptable in physics 1? I like mathematics and my reasoning as to why I sign up for physics was because I wanted to do "applied mathematics". I consider myself a legitimate amateur mathematician.
 
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  • #2
The grades expected in Physics "1" (assuming Fundamental Physics of Mechanics covering Kinematics, force, mass, acceleration and the typical stuff in there; for the scientist & engineering students) are an unprescribed assortment of A, B, C, D, F, W. What any student earns depends on his level of preparation, how hard and carefully he studies, and maybe to a smaller extent, on talent. Do NOT expect that most students should receive some particularly specified grade. The meaning for "C" is "average". This might be acceptable if you are struggling, working hard to understand, and your major field is not Physics.

A Physics "1" course (also which IS calculus-based) may often start with some relatively large quantity of students, and because of course difficulty and students' desire to earn some grade like C minimum, the quantity of students who WITHDRAW can push this quantity down to 10 to 15 percent of what it was at the start of semester.
 
  • #3
symbolipoint said:
What any student earns depends on his level of preparation, how hard and carefully he studies, and maybe to a smaller extent

A Physics "1" course (also which IS calculus-based) may often start with some relatively large quantity of students, and because of course difficulty and students' desire to earn some grade like C minimum, the quantity of students who WITHDRAW can push this quantity down to 10 to 15 percent of what it was at the start of semester.
Thanks you for replying. I agree with the first sentence of quoted statement from you. Also, I'm glad you included the second part of your answer because 10 to 15 percent is very low, but I'm expecting that is how many of my class of this semester will be left at the end of physics 2.

i'm under the impression around 25% of my particular class will be left at the end of this semester and I've read on the internet that physics 2 requires more "mathematical maturation" therefore more may run away.

Also, I am not "expecting" for myself to just get a good grade, for clarification (no degenerate here). I was expecting that there would be more people that weren't terrible at physics 1 because the requirement for registration of the class is to have had passed Calc 1 and must be enrolled in Calc 2.

I was expecting my peers to do better than and not rage quit and drop the course as half the class has legitimately raged quit and dropped the course. As we took exam 2 yesterday, there was quiteness, EXCEPT for vocal sighs happening every few minutes, indicating more rage quits may be taking place shortly.

Again, thank you for your reply. My salutes. Propser.
 
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  • #4
Physics 1 isn't really a "hard" course, I don't think. It is hard, though, for many people to see why it is worth putting in the effort. For many people, the ideas (frictionless surfaces, cannons without air resistance, etc) are just made-up stuff with no connection to reality.

Other courses like history or literature, all you have to do is read the books and think about them. At the least, you get to read a good story. In other words, there is an entertainment value.

Physics takes more of a mindset like a puzzle solver. If you think it is fun to get the right answer (like, "aim at 34 degrees to hit the target 500 meters away") then you will be motivated to study. Most people though, don't really give a damn about fictional cannons.

The main thing with physics is, you can't do well just by reading the book. You have to practice at it, like playing a sport or playing the piano.

Sorry for rambling.
 
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Likes Klystron
  • #5
There are many areas of applied math outside of physics or engineering including computer science, statistics, operations research, business, and economics to mention some common areas which do not need physics per se.
So what do you want to do with your degree?

You must keep in mind that your overall GPA should set you above your competition for whatever you are going to do. Do your best with emphasis on those course most germane to your major/and your goals striving to keep your grades well above a B.

Your OP question does not have a definite answer that I can give. I suppose they would be expected to pass just as a runner is expected to finish a race but the value in passing like racing depends on where you finish.
 
  • #6
As is any course, C is the bare minimum expectation. D is disappointing but passable. B is above average, or good, it indicates a solid amount of skill on the part of the student to rise above expectations. A is when expectations are shattered completely. A+ is true perfection.
 
  • #7
I really do not agree with this part:
Eric Recchia said:
D is disappointing but passable.
That grade might be "passable" if Physics is not the student's major field, and if this low grade happened for maybe not more than ONE of the Physics series courses for the Math/Sci/Engineering students. If major field is Physics, then at some later time, the course credit needs to be achieved through course repetition.

Could a graduate in Physics honestly earn undergraduate degree if anyone of his Physics courses was issued course grade of D? Is this allowed? Differences, any between upper division and lower division courses?
 

Related to What grade is expected of physics students?

1. What is the average grade for physics students?

The average grade for physics students varies depending on the level of the course and the school. However, according to a study by the American Institute of Physics, the average grade for undergraduate physics students is a B.

2. Is a high grade in physics necessary for a career in science?

While a high grade in physics can certainly be beneficial for a career in science, it is not always necessary. Other factors such as research experience, internships, and letters of recommendation can also play a significant role in career opportunities in the science field.

3. What factors can affect a student's grade in physics?

There are several factors that can affect a student's grade in physics, including their prior knowledge and understanding of math and science concepts, the difficulty level of the course, study habits, and time management skills.

4. How can a student improve their grade in physics?

To improve their grade in physics, students can try different study methods, such as attending tutoring sessions, forming study groups, and practicing problems regularly. It is also important to communicate with the instructor and ask for help when needed.

5. Are there any resources available to help students achieve a better grade in physics?

Yes, there are many resources available to help students improve their grade in physics. These include online tutorials, study guides, practice problems, and academic support services offered by schools, such as tutoring and study groups.

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