So you want to be successful in Physics?
Well, you have company! I do want you to be
successful in this course and here are some suggestions to help you in achieving your goals:
Tips for Physics Success:
TIPS FOR CLASS TIME SUCCESS
Arrive to class on time and get ready for Physics:
get out your assignments, class notes, calculator and pencil.
Ask any questions you may have about the last class.
EVERY MINUTE OF CLASS TIME IS VALUABLE!
What you get out of class is proportional to what you put into it.
If you follow the lecture, think about the material, ask questions, and care about
what's going on, then lecture will be an active, productive learning experience for you.
If you sit slumped in your seat, then lecture will give you a backache and little more.
Socializing may be more pleasant than science, but the goal is to make science more pleasant, and socializing gets in the way.
We only spend valuable class time on important topics, so be engaged during class.
TIPS FOR READING SUCCESS
READ THE INFORMATION
Reading is important in every class, but in Physics the website and
class notes serve as valuable supplements to what happens in class.
The is not just a place to find the homework problems, check the
Learning Resources links to learn more about topics.
Read the information slowly, line-by-line, with a pencil and
paper nearby and highlight what is important.
Pay particular attention to the illustrations and examples.
Study and work through the solved examples carefully.
TIPS FOR ASSIGNMENT SUCCESS
CHECK THE WEBSITE
Remember that the assignments are shown on the
date they are due.
USE YOUR ASSIGNMENTS NOTEBOOK
All homework assignments should be completed on the assignments notebook.
KEEP UP WITH THE ASSIGNMENTS!
Over the years, I have found that the best indicator of a student's success is
whether or not they keep up with their assignments.
Students who keep up, do well - students who don't, don't.
USE THE CLASS WIKI
If you need help on the homework be sure to post your questions on the class
wiki. The wiki is a very important resource of the class.
If you are absent to class but arrive to school later, you should stop to see me to get the handouts or arrange for missed work. You will be responsible for any homework due.
If you are absent for the day, please e-mail me so that I can send you the class notes.
UNDERSTAND THE MATERIAL
You understand the material when you can answer the questions or do the problems,
and get them correct by YOURSELF.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or seeking help from
me or your fellow students. Everyone will need help sooner or later in this course.
However, you must have the responsibility to realize that the goal of the assignment
is NOT just to get the homework done but to understand what you are doing.
There will be times when you will need more practice than this, and you must have
the courage and responsibility to realize it.
TIPS FOR PROBLEM-SOLVING SUCCESS
LEARN THE VOCABULARY AND SYMBOLS
It is vitally important that we can communicate in the
language of Physics.
As you read or participate in class, pay particular attention
to the meaning of each new term, variables in equations
Read the problem carefully to make sure you understand what is being asked.
Do not rush into solving a problem. Instead, first find a strategy for solving it.
Remember to include Four Steps in every problem:
1. Data and unknown: write down what is given and what you need to solve for.
Check for the units. Do you need to make any unit conversion?
This is the place to do it.
If the problem is unclear, try drawing a simple sketch of the situation.
2. Equation: Write down the equation and solve it for the unknown if needed.
Do not just plug in numbers and solve, this method will not earn completwe credit
for your solution.
3. Substitute the values into the equations.
4. Check if your answer is reasonable and then write it down with the units.
BECOME PROFICIENT AT USING A GRAPHING CALCULATOR
Your calculator is a valuable tool for solving problems of all sorts.
Become familiar with it and learn to use it well.
TIPS FOR GRAPHING
Good graphing is a very important technique in Physics since graphs contain
Select an appropriate scale and be sure that the spacing between numbers is equal.
Plot the dots.
Draw your graph carefully: if it is a straight line, use a ruler.
If it is not a straight line, draw a smooth curve.
- Give a title to your graph.
- Label each axis with a variable and its units.
GENERAL TIPS FOR PHYSICS SUCCESS
Your success depends on your ability to recall, find, and remember concepts
and techniques covered in class.
BE READY FOR CONSTANT ASSESSMENT
You will be constantly asked questions during class.
Be attentive and prepared to respond at all times.
BECOME AS SELF-SUFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE.
There are many students, and just one teacher, and time is too valuable
for you to just wait - stuck in neutral - for help.
Look in the website and your notes for sample problems that might shed
some light on your difficulty.
Learn tenacity - don't just "fold" at the first sign of difficulty! You can do it!
Everyone, no matter how smart or proficient in science they are, will get "stuck"
sometime this year. Tenacity and self-sufficiency are great attributes, but there is
going to be a quiz or a test on this stuff soon!
Use the wiki often as it is a great place to ask questions and get help not only
from me but from your peers.
Ask questions in class. Get the help you need to succeed.
If you have a worry, complaint, suggestion, or concern of any kind let me know.
I can't fix it if I don't know about it.
Remember that just because a problem - or a solution - seems obvious to you,
it may not be obvious to everyone. Speak up!