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Old 12-08-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default Anyone else struggle with Physics?

Just got done bombing my physics phinal.

Admittedly I didn't work as hard on this class as I should have this quarter. Unfortunately I was also taking Calc III (I think that went well) and Statics (went really well) and working so I just didn't have the time to dedicate to the class that it demanded.

I am not very smart, so it seems like I have to grind through twice as many problems in a math/science class to do well as the average person. So I guess that hurt me twice as badly since I didn't do as much homework as I should have in this class.

Still, I kept up with everything, did all the mandatory homework and labs etc. There just seems to be something specifically about physics that is not clicking in my head. Its not intuitive to me at all for some reason. It seems like something that comes naturally to some people. In talking with my classmates I discovered that most of the guys I talked to were getting As on exams/quizzes and not doing any homework. Either they are full of **** or ******* geniuses because I just dont see how thats possible.

The professor has a reputation for being unreasonably difficult and does not lecture well. The final took most people 5.5 hours. I ducked out after 4 because I just wasn't making progress anymore and felt like I was wasting my time by sitting there.

Anyway, has anyone else had this problem? I love calculus, I loved my statics class, they both play hand-in-hand with physics yet I fail big time when it comes to solving a complex physics problem. What gives?
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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I did fairly well in physics but Cal 1 and 2 killed me and pushed me out of engineering. Now, I'm a nobody.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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I think I squeezed through Anatomy and Physiology with a B. Problem is no one gets accepted into nursing schools without an A here in the west coast. Oh well. Working 5 nights a week doesn't leave much time for class, seeing as though you're not only working 40 hours, but you have to find 40 hours to sleep during the day as well.

5.5 ******* hour exam? Holy ****. There is something wrong with that. Where are you going and what physics class is this?
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:13 PM   #4
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What are you studying in physics? A lot of physics will come into play later in engineering but from a completely different point of view, and then you will have an ah-huh moment.

I always hated my math/science classes that werent taught by engineering profs cause they never looked at it from an engineering perspective. I'm not one for proofs theorems and laws.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:24 PM   #5
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Not being an "A" student in physics does not mean that you aren't a smart person, it just means your not that great at physics. Or, you might take the same class with a better professor and come away with a much better understanding of the material.
I hate math.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:16 PM   #6
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What are you studying in physics? A lot of physics will come into play later in engineering but from a completely different point of view, and then you will have an ah-huh moment.

I always hated my math/science classes that werent taught by engineering profs cause they never looked at it from an engineering perspective. I'm not one for proofs theorems and laws.
This is just the first class of the physics series so mechanics was this quarter. Next quarter is thermo.

The thought process around solving physics problems is completely different than any other class i've taken. Every problem is different and you can use every concept you've ever learned to solve one.

You really do have to be smart to do well in physics. Pretty much everything else seems like cut and dry concepts compared to it. I'd take a multi-variable calculus test over a physics test any day.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:19 PM   #7
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Is this physics with calculus? Aka: 201,202,203 series instead of 101,102,103? If so, I took that at OSU while I was still in engineering. Curve was set around a D, class average was easily a C. It was ridiculous.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Is this physics with calculus? Aka: 201,202,203 series instead of 101,102,103? If so, I took that at OSU while I was still in engineering. Curve was set around a D, class average was easily a C. It was ridiculous.
Yes thats it. I hate that people can make this class look easy.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:53 PM   #9
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Out of 100 in our lecture group, about half a dozen got A's, 10 or 20 B's, the rest C's, D's, and F's. The school would have been fine with only one A, showing that if the prof teaches at least 90% of his material to 1% of the class, he must be a fine teacher.

Unfortunately, I am the 99%.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:05 PM   #10
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There are some people for whom physics is intuitive. I borrowed a friend's workbook once to take a look at how he had done some problem sets for orbital mechanics. It was useless to me as all of his solutions were three or four lines - the steps in between were obvious to him, so he didn't write them down.

You have to keep in mind most of the body of physics knowledge was/is created by people who see the world and go "huh. What kind of rules framework can account for this observed phenomena?" and then daydream up theories to explain it, that they then attempt to verify. The remainder of the body of physics knowledge is from the guys that see something and wonder what it is that might be there, that they aren't seeing.

So not being intuitively good at physics is probably some indication you're pretty normal.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:10 PM   #11
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Well this is demoralizing. I made the mistake of not taking any math since high school and now I'm starting at the equivalent of senior year HS algebra.

Out of curiosity, how many hours a week do you put into that school schedule? I'm gonna be doing pretty much the exact same thing (if I make it that far).
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:04 AM   #12
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Well this is demoralizing. I made the mistake of not taking any math since high school and now I'm starting at the equivalent of senior year HS algebra.

Out of curiosity, how many hours a week do you put into that school schedule? I'm gonna be doing pretty much the exact same thing (if I make it that far).
Dont even worry about it. I started at the equivalent of 8th grade algebra. I had (and still do) all odds stacked against me. Not to mention I spent the my years from 17 (dropped out of HS) til 24 finding out all the best ways to kill brain cells.

It doesn't matter if you start learning how to add and subtract. If you work hard, you'll find your way through any math class. My strategy to math has been this:

Master the fundamentals of the subject you're currently learning before moving on to the next. Math is a language and it takes the same amount of effort as any language to learn. If you wanted to learn japanese you'd have to immerse yourself in a culture of people speaking only japanese, no english. To learn math, you grind away at problems every day.

I put in the minimum effort in school because that is literally all the time I have to dedicate to it. Even at that, i'm scheduled out to the minute every day. Its a bitch, almost no time for a social life or doing things I enjoy (working on cars, racing, ETC). My closest friends have just finished their Chump car build and have raced it twice (once at leguna seca) and I had to back out of the whole thing because school and work take way too much time. Its tough watching everyone else have tons of fun while i'm seemingly miserable grinding away at physics, calculus, and statics problems day in and day out. Even on my lunch breaks at work. But it will be worth it in the end. Even if I still work at costco for the rest of my life, i'm going to school for personal fulfillment, not a paycheck.

Oops, went on a rant. Numbers. They say you need to spend 2 hours on homework for every hour of lecture/class time. I meet exactly that on average every week. So I'd say I spend 30 hours a week on homework, 15 hours a week in class/lab, and 24 hours a week at work. Thats 123 hours spent on school and work for a regular week. There are only 168 hours in a week. That leaves 45 hours for sleep. If you get 8 hours of sleep a night, that takes up a whopping 56 hours a week! I gained around 11 hours a week of time by cutting from 8 hours to 6.5 to 7 hours per night.

Its only 4-5 years if you're on the ball though. Its rough, but its supposedly rewarding in the end =P Again, though, this is my time budget. I'm really not very smart and require a lot more time spent on homework and grinding through problems than everyone else (it seems). And I could be getting even better grades if I didn't have to work and could spend 3-4 hours a night on homework. I typically get As in math, A- or Bs in science classes and easy As in any class that is based around writing (psychology, english, anthropology, etc).
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:15 AM   #13
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Your doing advanced math, you are smart, and you seem to have a really good work ethic. I think your time at Costco is going to be limited.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:47 AM   #14
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Your doing advanced math, you are smart, and you seem to have a really good work ethic. I think your time at Costco is going to be limited.
Doing advanced math does not make you smart. Anyone can do it.

Working at Costco kicks ***. All I do is drive a forklift all day for the most part. Its a sweet job. My store manager has an ME degree and claims she makes a lot more working here than she did in her field.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:16 AM   #15
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Everyone has a vice when it comes to school. I barely graduated high school and slumped into community college. After my first year I was able to complete Calc.1 and Calc.2 in the same semester with 3 other classes while maintaining a 3.8. It's pretty much math math math math math math since.


but.....I bombed chemistry....I had to take it again a year later and I worked so ******* hard to squeeze out a B. It was the hardest ******* class I have ever taken and no matter what I did I struggled.

Physics is legit fun.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:31 AM   #16
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I have the same issue you do, but mine is with calc3 instead. There is just something about the way all math teachers teach calc, that I just simply dont understand. Im an incredibly visual person, I HAVE to see something to understand it, and no calc teacher has done this that I have taken to date. Physics is similar, but for the most part, since it is relating back to real world, I can see it a bit better and it makes a little bit more sense, and by that I mean not very much, but enough.

Same goes for statics. statics makes perfect sense. Hell, I even went into a quiz knowing I didnt know the material, came back with a 20/20 on it. I still dont know how I managed that, but im not complaining.
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Old 12-09-2011, 04:07 AM   #17
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Well ****. That sounds nuts but it's good to know what I'm getting into. Though honestly I'd be ok with taking my time with classes and having a job at the same time. I think I'd probably take 2 classes per quarter max when I get to that level. I'm enjoying my somewhat laidback life at the moment.

It's going to take me 3 years just to get the math out of the way before I can transfer and that's if I don't fail any of them. And I don't know how well I will handle chem/physics. I feel like time is ticking away.

At least you're motivated now, I barely made it through high school because I simply did not want to do anything. I'm getting there...slowly.
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:40 AM   #18
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I'm just starting school in spring for Mech Engineering. I am more than impressed that you work and do school. I however feel bad that your GPA is dependent on your proffesors being a douch. Sadly there is no "my teacher was a dick" clause in your transcript. Sadly like a lot of things one person gets one thing and then fails at another. For example: I can burst a M240B a person sized hole at 600yds but can't do reliable algebra equation.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:48 AM   #19
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I think I squeezed through Anatomy and Physiology with a B. Problem is no one gets accepted into nursing schools without an A here in the west coast. Oh well. Working 5 nights a week doesn't leave much time for class, seeing as though you're not only working 40 hours, but you have to find 40 hours to sleep during the day as well.

5.5 ******* hour exam? Holy ****. There is something wrong with that. Where are you going and what physics class is this?
Really? You should come to BC. Easy peasy to get into nursing school here.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:00 AM   #20
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Ugh, I feel like a dummy. I just started college 11 years after leaving highschool with a GED (never made it past hs algebra). I just finished Eng 1101 (was a breeze) and I had to take math 098. I had struggled with the first half of the class and bombed two tests and 3 quizzes. Second half was easy. So I took my final on Monday and waited to see my grade pop up online. Sure nough, I passed the calss which made me eligible to retake the math part of the COMPASS so I could get to my next math class. I went to take that yesterday, got there and I was not on their list of eligible students. Great. Went and talked to the head of the math dept. and he found the error and I got to take my test. Passed. The COMPASS was far easier than what I was learning in class. Now I get to take my next english class and math class. I passed my first semester. Go me.

I do suck at math though. It doesn't click with me at all. I even went as far as to program my calculator to do quadratic equations for me...or at least tell me if I had to do it the long way or not. Since I plan on going into a geology field (either mining or petroleum), I know I'm in for the long haul in math.
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