*That isn’t without a purpose – in physics (and science in general), units are crucial.You have to make sure your units are the same throughout the exercise, otherwise formulas will not work.This begins with very basic physics, but continues with higher level material.*

*That isn’t without a purpose – in physics (and science in general), units are crucial.You have to make sure your units are the same throughout the exercise, otherwise formulas will not work.This begins with very basic physics, but continues with higher level material.*

This semester I started tutoring in the physics and math study center.

I am the only “pure” physics tutor – the rest of the tutors are mathematicians or engineers who feel very comfortable with mathematics (justly so, they’re all quite awesome).

This will help you see the variables in front of you clearly, find the proper equation to use, and see what you’re missing.

It will also make the original, confusing text unneeded.

That much can explain why not everyone goes for a physics career. In basic physics – material covered in high school and low level university courses – the methodology is straightforward. Quite often, it’s the panic itself that prevents students from dealing with the subject carefully and getting the most out of those courses. You look at the question and the sentences loom at you menacingly, confusing you to no end. As long as you remember these formulas, you are most of the way to an answer. The same type of problem – say, bouncing ball – can ask you to find initial velocity, maximum height or angle of launch.

In my experience tutoring for (and taking) low level physics classes, I have worked out a few ground rules that can help you conquer problems. You have no idea where to start, even if you recognize the basic concepts. From now on, the only thing that you need to concentrate on is converting the horrible, confusing chunk of text into readable bits that fit into your formulas. Each of these will require a slightly different strategy. Another good tip to remember at this point, too, is that many physics problems have very crucial information in the wording.

I remember taking an advanced electromagnetism course where I had to memorize about 20 different formulas. They are derived from physical properties, and they are all interconnected.

At first it seemed terrible, and I kept remembering them wrong. You look at your formula sheet and you have three different ones that are marked under the problem’s subject. In most physics problems, there is more than one way to reach a solution, often meaning that more than one equation can work.

These will help whether the problem is in a homework assignment or on an exam. A car starting from rest, for instance, means your initial velocity is zero.

Two objects falling from a window might behave differently if they are both attached to one another.

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