7 Life Hacks for Improving Students’ Success in Physics. Physics is a fairly complicated discipline due to several reasons. First, it implies understanding thoroughly the nature and pattern of complex phenomena surrounding us, knowing to identify the physical laws involved in each case, being able to catch subtle differences in scenarios or situations pertaining to various real-life problems.
Second, physics requires understanding, learning, and correctly applying a multitude of mathematical formulas describing these physical laws to produce accurate descriptions, calculations, conclusions, predictions. Physical problems from real life have to be correctly represented mathematically and then correctly solved mathematically, and there is no limit to how complicated the math part can get.
There are some additional complicating aspects, such as the extensive use of unit conversions. All these, make it one of the most challenging subjects, whether it is in high schools, undergraduate or graduate institutions. Yet, despite these challenges, it is also a very rewarding discipline, both in terms of cognitive satisfaction but also when it comes to career prospects – a great number of highly valued and well-paid engineering jobs rely heavily on specific areas of physics, often in combination with other disciplines, such as chemistry, biology, and computer science.
Given its complexity, improving students’ success in physics is often a challenging task and requires significant personal effort and even intervention from teachers, tutors, etc. By distilling the advice offered by a physics professor on the website of the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University, several recommendations or life hacks can be formulated for those who want to excel in this discipline. These are listed below.
7 Practical Recommendations to Excel in Physics
- Be prepared to dedicate lots of time both to theory and practice and also be disciplined in how you approach homework and classes – skip several rounds and it might get incredibly difficult to catch up.
- Read carefully through each line of the textbook and try hard to understand every single bit of information – skimming or fast reading is not an option! Work out derivations on paper by yourself as this is the best way to capture even the most negligible details and is also helping to better memorize the material.
- Pay great attention to the worked-out examples, given that these are demonstrations of the physical reasoning employed, of how formulas are applied, etc.
- Always seek to understand both the solving strategy and the reason for applying the particular formulas or laws. Don’t proceed to calculations until you don’t have a clear intuition about the problem – it is this intuition that should dictate the direction solving strategies take.
- Practice using a large number of highly diverse problems that test various aspects of the material from different angles. In exact sciences, students often have the illusion of knowledge after examining a worked out problem, but when it comes to solving a problem from scratch, they very often get stuck – you might know how to start and finish a specific problem, but the slightest gap in knowledge and you can’t proceed.
- Calculate answers algebraically first, ideally, by obtaining a final global formula, and the only latter substitute various parameters with their numerical values. This brings more clarity and leaves less room for mistakes, especially when conversion between physical units is required. In addition, this might help simplify the formula (for instance, the mutually canceling numerator and denominator), leading not only to fewer calculations but also to more precise results.
- Always evaluate whether the answers you obtain make sense in the real world and in the context of your problem and perform reverse calculations if needed, to confirm these are indeed correct.
A college is a place of collective learning, hence, there are always students who learn faster and those who learn slower. Yet, given the accent put on individual work, students are often left to their means – yes, they can seek out help, but the level of “individual assistance” they benefit from is typically limited. Fortunately, nowadays, students can pay for research paper of a high quality not only for help with their writing skills but also to achieve success in physics. In particular, they could obtain thoroughly explained, step-by-step solutions to any problems as well as direct help with coursework from a personal academic assistant.
You will Succeed in Physics Course!
It seems that many lifehacks for improving success in physics listed above are universally endorsed by other professionals that teach physics, as can be concluded by exploring the following list of suggestions on the webpage of the University of Illinois. The author highlights that, by contrast to subjects like history, in physics, it is not enough to simply understand the concepts – one needs to know how to apply them in practice and this proves to be a real challenge for many.
Besides, the author suggests that students’ success in physics would be greater if they participated actively in classes (including by working with others), if they read the corresponding chapters in advance, if they avoided cramming at the last second, as opposed to studying smart by making plans and schedules, setting the priorities right, having a balanced lifestyle, etc. Yet another insistent recommendation is to reach out more to course instructors, but only after investing sufficient effort into understanding the material. Not being afraid or shy to get help is a great missed opportunity and one of the central barriers to overcome, especially for freshmen students.
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