How to study General Physics and get good grades!!
Every student would like to have a good grade in Physics 101 and 102, but most of them go about it in the wrong way! Some students say they have worked hard in physics, solved many problems and attended class regularly and still at the end they get a grade less than what they had hoped for.
As you know, every engineering student is required to do basic physics, which forms the physical basis of engineering. You can not build any engineering structure which violates the laws of physics. To be a good engineer you have to have a sound background in physics. You need to learn physics.
First, physics is not formula substitution; nor is it memorisation of solved problems etc. You must make the effort to understand the concepts and then, and only then, should you practise solving problems.
So what is the right way to learn physics? Here, very briefly, is what you should do.
1. Attend the lectures and the recitations regularly. Do not miss any class. If you do miss a class, then find out what the instructor has done in that class.
2. Before the LLF lecture, read the material that is going to be covered in that chapter. Don't worry if you don't understand everything you read in the book for now, but it should be clear after the lecture. If not, read the chapter again together with your class notes; if you think you still have not understood the material, then come and see me in my office hour.
3. Practise deriving the formulae. This usually helps in understanding the concepts.
4. After studying the worked examples in the book and the examples worked out in the lecture, you should now try on your own to solve some problems from each section of the chapter. Do the easy examples first so that you understand the concepts better. If you can not do a problem in say 15 minutes, then stop. Don't waste your time. Get help from a friend or come and see me.
5. Do the homework problems on your own. You can discuss the homework problems with a friend, but you should then go and write the assignment by yourself. The solution of the homework problems will be posted on the 101 Notice Board.
6. Prepare yourself before a class quiz. Your class score is based on class quizzes (15 marks) and homework assignments (5 marks).
7. Work on physics from day one, and don't let yourself fall behind the lectures. If you leave it to just a few days before the exams for studying physics, it will then be too late, and likely you will do poorly in the subject.
8. You also have other subjects to study as well; so prepare your own weekly schedule of home study and make time for studying physics every night even for only one hour. Therefore, you should not waste your valuable time; make sure you manage your time efficiently.
Best of luck. If you think I have left out an important point let me know and I will include it.