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Thread: Base Calc Phy (Kicking my butt)

  1. #1
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    Base Calc Phy (Kicking my butt)

    So this term I am taking Base Calc Phy and Calc 2. Physics is giving me a really hard time. I am so frustrated that I will most likely not pass the class. The class is pretty interesting don't get me wrong, but using the formulas can be a bit tricky. About half the class dropped within the 4th week of the term.

    My instructor is super legit. He is willing to let me attend classes when I decide to "withdraw" myself from the class. He is probably one of the professor I respect the most because he wants his students to pass his class and hang in there no matter what happens. Unlike my other professor in my Calc class. He doesn't give two *^^*)& whether you leave the class or not.

    Is it common that PHY us a difficult concept to grasp?

  2. #2
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    For some it is, but if you are determined then it is just another thing you have to throw full effort at. There are a zillion sites that will help with understanding Physics and once the penny drops, it will all become much clearer. Try getting a tutor for a few weeks just to get you past that first hump.

    Failing that, take an instance that is problematic to you, post it here with how you think you should go about resolving it. The TOS does not allow helping with homework, but I am sure there will be no shortage of people to guide you if they see you making an effort to grasp the principles.

    Just posting the problem with no effort shown by you will elicit a stoney silence from all of the regulars here.

  3. #3
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    The issue is that if you're just using formulas you'll probably never understand physics. You need the proper mathematical background in calculus to know how to solve a problem without just memorizing formulas. By just knowing the fundamental laws of physics the rest should be able to be derived and modified at will to suit any problem.

    If you just want to pass the class I suggest doing lots and lots of problems from the material your professor has assigned. This should help your problem-solving skills in the respective topics enough to know how to solve a given problem. Sit down and plan to do something like 20 problems per day from a textbook. Good luck -- when you first get into physics it will take a lot more time and effort to study for than other classes, so don't have the mentality that you've put in your fair share of time and effort compared to other classes so should be entitled to pass. I remember spending three hours studying Newtonian physics for every hour I spent on other classes.
    Last edited by topo; 02-20-2013 at 12:46 PM.

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    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    And don't forget this - I think one of the main purposes of the courses in the first two years of engineering is to filter out the students that aren't truly serious about it. It is very common to hear graduate engineers describe how their world changed when "it all finally clicked", or when "the light bulb finally came on", or some similar phrase. For some they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened. For others, like myself, it was a more drawn out experience that really only came into clear view looking back. Calculus and Differential Equations kicked my butt, big time! But both topics really became much more clear to me after they were applied in higher level engineering classes.

  5. #5
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    The first set of chapters, chapters 1-6 was pretty easy to understand. Well, after I studied the material for a couple days. Chapter 7-8 we are studying energy, work, kinetic friction, static friction, non-conservative energy, etc.

    The problems for work and energy are ridiculously long. I've got my second test next week. Basically this test will determine if I will pass the class or not pass the class. I don't really mind if I have to take this class over again because I would rather understand the material more thoroughly so I will hopefully do better with PHY 2 and PHY 3.

    As for Calc 2 I am pretty sure I will pass the course. Calculus is by far easier than PHY.
    Last edited by ME_student; 02-21-2013 at 07:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    There is no way to memorize all the formulas. There has to be a dozen formulas in each chapter. I have trouble applying the formulas in the right situations.

    A friend of mine is almost done with his undergrad at the community college I am attending. He is taking diff-equ with Physic 2. He told me the class is kicking his butt as well and he is a really intelligent guy. I think PHY either clicks with you or doesn't click with you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboggs View Post
    And don't forget this - I think one of the main purposes of the courses in the first two years of engineering is to filter out the students that aren't truly serious about it. It is very common to hear graduate engineers describe how their world changed when "it all finally clicked", or when "the light bulb finally came on", or some similar phrase. For some they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened. For others, like myself, it was a more drawn out experience that really only came into clear view looking back. Calculus and Differential Equations kicked my butt, big time! But both topics really became much more clear to me after they were applied in higher level engineering classes.
    If the class happens to weed me out, it doesn't mean I am going to drop my career path. I am very determined to pass these classes. If it's going to take me a bit longer so be it.

    Two chapters I literally sat over the weekend and studied 50 hours, not kidding either.

    About half the class has already dropped. I am going to continue to attend the class even if I have to drop. I don't want a D on my transcript.

  8. #8
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    Smile

    Hang in there, bud. We're all rooting for you.

  9. #9
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    With effort like that over the weekend, your "luck" will get a huge boost.

    +1 for JB's comment.

    Feel free to drop back with problems and where you are stuck with them.

  10. #10
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    My 2 cents

    Your work ethic is quite remarkable.
    I recommend

    1 Buy or get hold of and slowly read the most elementary book you can find on Physics without the calculus to get a grip on concepts.
    Calculus does NOT teach you physics. It's a tool that you use AFTER you understand it. There was Physics before Newton.
    In fact high school physics does not use it (in my day)

    1-Most important listen to Dave, Get a good tutor to not only help you through the rough spots but give you some encouragement.
    Beg borrow or steal to pay for this. Make sure he/she loads you with problems.

    2- Quoting a professor of a most difficult advanced course I once took told our class "no girlfriends for this simester"

    3- Don't listen to all those naysayers telling you how hard it is.

    With grit and determination it can be overcome.

    If you have any specific problem understanding a concept, we are here to help

    Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME_student View Post
    There is no way to memorize all the formulas
    That is not an important issue, and certainly not at this point. If memorizing all formulas was a prime requirement for an Engineer, there would be no Engineers, or at best, very few. Knowing where to look and how to adapt the correct formula is far more significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by ME_student View Post
    and he is a really intelligent guy. I think PHY either clicks with you or doesn't click with you.
    Intelligent or not has nothing much to do with it.

    Given the right guidance, it will click for you with the amount of work you seem to be willing to invest. At the risk of repeating myself and Zeke, get a good tutor. It will all come clear waaaaaaaaaaay faster than trying to work through it yourself until it clicks.
    Last edited by PinkertonD; 02-22-2013 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Spelling of cuorse

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the encouraging comments.

    If I happen to have any questions I will definitely post them up on the forum.

    As for tutors, my professor does have tutor hours. Sometimes I will go to him and ask for help. A good friend of mine has already taken the class so usually I will ask him to explain a difficult concept.
    I really need to read a few chapters since I have fallen behind due to not finishing my homework in time. At the beginning of Winter term I was taking Gen. Chem, Base Calc Phy, and Calc 2, while working part time. I dropped Chem because I just didn't have time to study for Phy or Calc 2. I got to go study.

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