schoolgirl
Hi everyone!
I'm a freshman in high school and I thought this would be a good place to ask for help with midterms. As a froshman i have no experience with midterms whatsoever and I don't have the slighest idea as to how to study for them. I'm greately worried about my physics midterm as there are tons of formulas to remember, and also not to mention that in english and world history we have to write a 5 paragraph essay in a timed situation. Please help me and again any help is grately appreciated!
singer
I've always hated trying to memorize formulas, but what's even worse is trying to remember which ones to use where! I find it helpful to group formulas into sections (Like they probably are in your textbook) and study them in those groups. Also, sometimes the right formula can be found by looking at the units. Example: V=d/t. Velocity is usually in meters per second, so the formula HAS to be distance(m.) over time(sec.). It can be used to figure out all kinds of equasions if you can't think of the formula during the test!
As for 5 paragraph essays, I'd definately spend about five to ten minutes on prewriting to organize ideas before trying to write the essay. Hope this helps!
Moseley
Learning is all very well but in a logical subject like maths or physics you are better off understanding. This may sound like a glib remark however most of the equations you will ever use in physics are easily derivable from one or two starting points.
The equations governing constant acceleration can be simply derived from:

distance = speed x time

The equations concerned with potential and kinetic energy can be reproduced from:

m * g * h = 1/2 x m * v^2

If these do not apply then try V=IR or F=ma.

Essentially in any given problem you will have constants, and you will have variables - there are not really that many occasions where you will be able to use an equation incorrectly and if you are comfortable with each equations derivation then you should have confidence using them.

I would advise you to read the post at the top of this board entitled - mechanics an overview - as this contains not only the derivations I speak of but much, much more besides.
Good luck - but do not think of it as a feat of memory, more comprehension.
Hi schoolgirl, I feel your pain

I find it helpful to write everything you need to know (ie: equations) on a piece (or two or three) of paper with one part of the equation on one side and the rest on the other. Then fold the paper in half so you can't see the other side and go through them. Cross out the ones that you already know, and repeat this a bunch of times. After you have crossed out everything, go through all of them one more time to make sure you still remember them . Also, you can try a bunch of practice problems in which you need to use the formulae. Just do a google search and there should be a lot. Studying with a friend is also helpful, as long as you stay focused. Drill each other mercilessly (got that from my biology teacher).

As for the essays, before you start to actually write the paper, plan your topic sentences and the points that each paragraph will be making. Once you have this, just start writing! Teachers are usually much more lenient in grading essays that have time limits, so keep that in mind . Also, if by any chance you know what sort of topics the essays will be about, it's good to think of a few major points that you could use for each. Good luck!
Oh yeah, what Moseley said is very true also.
Drude
QUOTE
there are tons of formulas to remember

Physics is not about remembering formulas. Even remembering them wont help. Physics is about basic understanding which of course would entail application of formulas.
555Joshua
QUOTE (singer+)
I've always hated trying to memorize formulas

I'm yet to memorize formulas.
schoolgirl
okay so i got my physics midterm back and i got an 86. It's not that bad but still it was surprising since I usually do a lot better on regular tests/quizes. I've realized that it's not the memorizing formula part that i should work on, but fully understanding the concepts. And not to mention true/false questions- i did horrible on those. So, does anyone have advice for me as to how I should study for next time? I really want to improve my grade in physics since that's the only class that i'm not getting an a in.
Guest_a_ht
math and physics were the only sibject i didnt get A. And i became a physicist
Moseley
I have no idea what 86 means - sounds OK out of 100.
Essesntially it is the basic concepts which we talk about that you need to understand. Generally a force will set some process in motion and this will proceed according to the force and anything trying to stop it.
The thread at the top of this board covers most of the true physics - and shows how these equations are derived. Read it again and again - it covers all you are likely to need to know pre-college.
If you do not understand how equations are arrived at - that is a subject we are happy to discuss.
Dedicated physics sites usually show the same derivations:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

is as good as they get IMO. If you can let us know where you are having probs then we can maybe suggest more accurate solutions.
Thomas the Gardener
Do you like physics? I always hated physics until if found something I liked about it, relativity, and quantum mechanics. I'd say try to find something you like about it. It is just way too hard to force feed your mind something it doesn't want. As far as being required to memorize formulas that just sounds like a physics teacher that doesn't know any good questions to ask. There are plenty of important conceptual ideas in early physics that could help everyone one their eventual paths in life. Memorizing physics formulas wouldn't even help you if you became a physicist.

I always hated school because all those kids who could memorize got the good grades even though they lacked any conceptual understanding. I just could never memorize those @#\$% formulas. I still have some of them inscribed into my calculator.
yesitdid
Math and physics cannot be learned simply by memorization. That would be like learning to read only by memorizing the alphabet.

It takes practise.

If your textbook has questions at the end of every chapter, do them. If the answers are at the back of the book all the better. Everytime your answer does not agree with their answer then go back and try to see how they got their answer. Textbooks are notorious for the number of wrong back-of-the-book answers so do not automatically assume that theirs is right and yours wrong. (this is where a tutor with greater experience comes in handy)

in kinetics(physics of motion) all you need recall is

d=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2

distance equals initial distance plus, initial velocity multiplied by elapsed time, plus accelleration multiplied by elapsed time(squared)

<<d(0) means d at initial conditions, not d times 0 >>

If initial distance is zero then the first term drops off
If initial velocity is zero, out goes that second term
and we are left with d=0.5at^2

Some people try to memorize that as 4 separate formulas

Now there is v=v(0) + at

but notice how similar that is to the first equation. All that was done was to take the exponent that t is raised to and plop it in down in front while reducing what t is raised to by 1

ie. in d=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2

recall that t^0 = 1 and that t^1 is usually just written as t

that frst term d(0) is actually d(0)t^0
the next one is v(0)t^1
the last is as shown 0.5at^2

doing what I said before the first term becomes 0*d(0)t^-1
(exponent of 0 ploped in front and the exponent on t reduced by 1)
Note that zero times anything is zero so we now have zero for a first term

next term v(0)t^1 becomes 1*v(0)t^0
note that t^0 is 1
so the second term is just v(0)

last term 0.5at^2 becomes 2*0.5at^1
2 times 0.5 is 1 and t^1 is just t
so that term is now at (a times t)

So you don't have to memorize v=v(0) + at as with this 'trick'(actually it is calculus) you can derive it from that first formula.

As for force and work just make sure you write the units in all the time and multiply them out and make sure all agrees.

ie
F=ma
units are(sticking with SI units)
F=kg-meter/seconds^2 We call it a Newton but it is in kilogram meters per second squared

If you are doing a problem to find force and the units do not end up as kg-meters/seconds^2 then you have not arrived at a value of force.
555Joshua
QUOTE (schoolgirl+)
okay so i got my physics midterm back and i got an 86.

86??!!! me git en avarage uv 11. me teacha sayes me hav iq ten points shy uv e retard. and she should know, she me mama.

Seriously, 86 ain't too bad, just 16 points above passing. So...at least you passed.

QUOTE (same+)
I really want to improve my grade in physics since that's the only class that i'm not getting an a in.
\
You sound brilliant. I don't know, maybe a bunch of smarties around here get strait +A's, but for us retards, a C is impressive.

QUOTE (same+)
So, does anyone have advice for me as to how I should study for next time?

I got some bad advice, still interested? Since you did bad on the true/false questions, I say find out what it was you did wrong. If it's associating who did what with what they did, then I don't have a *&@#\$ idea how to help you. If you need help with entropy, then I can't help you. But what I can say is you should crack open a physics book and read it a couple of times. Make sure you understand what those quacks are saying, 'cause they did to like to make concepts harder to understand then they should be. They sometimes say things that make you think they're meaning something other than what you think they are.

QUOTE (Thomas the Gardener+)
Do you like physics? I always hated physics until if found something I liked about it, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

I always used to hate psychology, until lately. Now I'm interested in it. I don't know why.

QUOTE (yesitdid+)
d=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2

I say, if you want to recall formulas, just use them again and again. wait until the next day, and use them again and again. It won't be too long until you can recite them.

Example:

distance=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2...

...distance equals initial distance plus, initial velocity multiplied by elapsed time, plus accelleration multiplied by elapsed time(squared)

Take a car, and find the distance it traveled if its speed is 41mph and it ran for 15 minute (I'm not going to have acceleration in this problem 'cause I don't want to).

I don't know what initial distance is, but I assume it means where it is now.

d=d(0) + v(41 [I think])t + 0.5at^2

trying to use this formula is harder than just saying:

d=41∙¼, d=10.25 miles. If it accelerates from 41 at point 0 at a rate of two miles per hour, how far would it have gone in 15 minutes?

beats the hell out of me

Okay, we know that in 15 minutes it would go 10.25 miles. If this 0.5at^2 means accelleration multiplied by elapsed time (squared) (the should then be ²), then 2·15², which equals 450...I did someting wrong. let me try agian. Okay, 15 minutes=¼ hour. 2·¼²=0.125? If so, then the answer is:

d=10.375

If this didn't help anyone...at least now I know the formula
schoolgirl
QUOTE (555Joshua+Feb 20 2006, 05:12 PM)
QUOTE (schoolgirl+)
okay so i got my physics midterm back and i got an 86.

86??!!! me git en avarage uv 11. me teacha sayes me hav iq ten points shy uv e retard. and she should know, she me mama.

Seriously, 86 ain't too bad, just 16 points above passing. So...at least you passed.

QUOTE (same+)
I really want to improve my grade in physics since that's the only class that i'm not getting an a in.
\
You sound brilliant. I don't know, maybe a bunch of smarties around here get strait +A's, but for us retards, a C is impressive.

QUOTE (same+)
So, does anyone have advice for me as to how I should study for next time?

I got some bad advice, still interested? Since you did bad on the true/false questions, I say find out what it was you did wrong. If it's associating who did what with what they did, then I don't have a *&@#\$ idea how to help you. If you need help with entropy, then I can't help you. But what I can say is you should crack open a physics book and read it a couple of times. Make sure you understand what those quacks are saying, 'cause they did to like to make concepts harder to understand then they should be. They sometimes say things that make you think they're meaning something other than what you think they are.

QUOTE (Thomas the Gardener+)
Do you like physics? I always hated physics until if found something I liked about it, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

I always used to hate psychology, until lately. Now I'm interested in it. I don't know why.

QUOTE (yesitdid+)
d=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2

I say, if you want to recall formulas, just use them again and again. wait until the next day, and use them again and again. It won't be too long until you can recite them.

Example:

distance=d(0) + v(0)t + 0.5at^2...

...distance equals initial distance plus, initial velocity multiplied by elapsed time, plus accelleration multiplied by elapsed time(squared)

Take a car, and find the distance it traveled if its speed is 41mph and it ran for 15 minute (I'm not going to have acceleration in this problem 'cause I don't want to).

I don't know what initial distance is, but I assume it means where it is now.

d=d(0) + v(41 [I think])t + 0.5at^2

trying to use this formula is harder than just saying:

d=41∙¼, d=10.25 miles. If it accelerates from 41 at point 0 at a rate of two miles per hour, how far would it have gone in 15 minutes?

beats the hell out of me

Okay, we know that in 15 minutes it would go 10.25 miles. If this 0.5at^2 means accelleration multiplied by elapsed time (squared) (the should then be ²), then 2·15², which equals 450...I did someting wrong. let me try agian. Okay, 15 minutes=¼ hour. 2·¼²=0.125? If so, then the answer is:

d=10.375

If this didn't help anyone...at least now I know the formula

okay.. i suppose 86 isn't too bad but still... i feel like i should've gotten a higher grade.. well that's in the past so i guess i have to move on..
anyhow, i wanna thank y'all for your advice- I'm doing a lot better in physics now, and yes, I like physics a lot(someone asked me this). I'm starting to understand it, but still i find the tests/quizes quite challengning. I wonder if there's a better way to study then just solve problems and re-read the textbook.

And also,555Joshua: to be honest, i'm not nearly as smart as you think i am- i just try my best and sometimes i get good grades and sometimes i don't. And also, don't call yourself a retard. I've read your posts before and to be frank, you sound quite intelligent to a freshman.

Moseley
You will notice parallels between different areas of physics and the methods used are similar. The maths used doesn't get too involved until later on and as long as you are familiar with calculus, trigonometry and algebra then it is just a question of familiarising yourself with the situations and the equations that describe them
Understanding where equations come from is useful and will always add to your comprehension. That and using them over and over again is the only way to feel comfortable.
Good luck anyway.
Drude
She is just a "school girl." This stuff wont sink in deep even an inch, before she totally forgets them.
schoolgirl
QUOTE (Drude+Feb 26 2006, 02:01 AM)
She is just a "school girl." This stuff wont sink in deep even an inch, before she totally forgets them.

excuse me for being blunt, but that almost sounded rude
555Joshua
QUOTE (schoolgirl+)
I wonder if there's a better way to study then just solve problems and re-read the textbook.

You could use one of those one book long physics encyclopedia, worked for me. I've found that those textbooks take a simple concept and make if impossible to understand. If I read a textbook before any other form of physics book, I'd probably lack all interest in physics. One such book worked for me on trigonometry.

I don't want to waist your time, but not only was the book boring, but the guy was teaching some completely useless trig. All you would have to do to get the same answer was to use the sins and coses. But NO, he wanted to use some squaring and subtracting and the distance formula. And he didn't take the time to use step by step graphs--very necessary for me to "get it".

QUOTE (same+)
And also, don't call yourself a retard.

I didn't.

QUOTE (me+)
me teacha sayes me hav iq ten points shy uv e retard.

I'll translate. My teacher says I have an IQ 10 points shy of a retard.

QUOTE (schoolgirl+)
I've read your posts before and to be frank, you sound quite intelligent to a freshman.

Actually, I'm just good at bulls***ing.

I should be a pholosopher.

QUOTE (Moseley+)
calculus, trigonometry and algebra

But you have to learn trig and algebra first, they form the backbone of calculus.

QUOTE (Drude+)
She is just a "school girl." This stuff wont sink in deep even an inch, before she totally forgets them.

Ouch! Drude, don't be so rood. After all, I am just a "school boy", you learned what you know before you knew it. When you were a "school boy", did anything sink in before you forgot it? I'd hope so, otherwise, you wouldn't know a damn thing about a damn thing. She wants to learn. Are you trying to stomp out all her will?

QUOTE (schoolgirl+)
excuse me for being blunt, but that almost sounded rude

Almost?! Listen, you have to filter out a lot of what Drude says. He can be intreguing and profound, but a lot of the time he's just stupid and rude.
Amanda
[FONT=Courier] I hate midterms!!!! Im in 6th grade and ive always been a good student but now i entered 6th grade and im piled with homework and i dont get anything in science I dont know if im gona fail and i hope not and my parents are putting alot of presure on me and i need someone to please help me!!!!!!!!!
PhysOrg scientific forums are totally dedicated to science, physics, and technology. Besides topical forums such as nanotechnology, quantum physics, silicon and III-V technology, applied physics, materials, space and others, you can also join our news and publications discussions. We also provide an off-topic forum category. If you need specific help on a scientific problem or have a question related to physics or technology, visit the PhysOrg Forums. Here you’ll find experts from various fields online every day.