How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

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Re: How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

Postby ngl2010 » Sun May 19, 2013 11:32 am

Thank you for the post. :goodpost:

ngl2010
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Re: How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

Postby PhysicsTeacher » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:02 pm

Hi, Sg_Learner,

It is never too late to start. Try this appraoch (refer to physics, but approach is also useful for chemistry), though not specially targetted to "study for exams", it provides effective learning daily and hope this will build up sufficient competencies before attempt to "study for exam".

Before Lesson
Spend 30 minutes (no more, no less) to do a quick overview of lesson materials ahead of time. Do not strive to achieve a complete understanding (you will surely be discouraged). But a rough mental picture of what to be thought will suffice. This is best done the day or minutes (remember, 30 minutes) before. Learning physics is all about the formation concepts. The loose mental pictures will help to facilitate this concept formation.

During Lesson
1. Pay Complete Attention to Your Teacher (assuming your teacher is a competent physics teacher) This is because physics concepts are not as straight forward as subject such as biology. Comparatively, physics is more of a thinking subject, but biology is more of knowledge intensive and memorising subject. Chemistry is between this two.
2. Mark Areas of Doubts and Ask Questions. Ask questions if in doubt. Asking question is the most effective way of learning. By braving yourself among your peers, your focus and attention are heightened. If your question asked is pivotal to your concept building (not trivial numerical calculation), not only you will immediately grasp the concept, you will remember it for a very long time!
3. Practice per Concept As mentioned before, Physics is a thinking subject. How often do you stump at solving physics problems when you thought that you would have grasped the ideas after reading the text? Suggest to your teacher to have class practices on the concept just taught. Even better, breakdown complex concept to sub-concepts and practice on the applying those sub-concepts. Head-on practice on complex concept will surely discourage great majority of students. If your teacher chooses to differ. You will have to do it yourself (discover learning!), or get a good physics specialist tutor)

Post Lesson
Physics might be the subject in which the chapters are most connected to each other. If you lost in the previous chapters, you would be in big trouble! You would likely to be struggling in the subsequent chapters. To achieve long term gains, you must suffer in short term. Spend more time on Physics during the initial phase of a new chapter. Do not attempt past year questions straight away. That would discourage you, but try to solve simple conceptual questions with answer guide. Consult teacher and friends if you are stuck. Most importantly, never give up. If you do not experience difficulties, you are likely not learning the subject in significant ways. Experience difficulties is a good thing, but do not attempt hard problems which will kill your enthusiasm. Do that only when you are ready.

Good luck!

PhysicsTeacher
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Re: How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

Postby LarryG67 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:38 pm

I'm in the field of engineering so let me just say that the key is PRACTICE PRACTICE and more PRACTICE.

There's no need to over think this part. Math and Physics are all the same, you just need to practice. But when you practice you cannot blindly just not down the answers and all that, you need to UNDERSTAND what you are doing. Pratice is not to help you learn by rote, its to help you learn by slowly understanding.

Back in my uni years (which is a very long time ago) I still remember we have to practice the different iterations of a circuit board or manufacturing problem more than 3 times each if we wanted to ensure a good grade. But the magic happend when you understand, then everything seems easy

LarryG67
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Re: How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

Postby Ovencookies » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:07 am

Do your have any good A/E math programmed to recommend? I'm worried for my boy because his math is quite problematic :(. I'm sending him for group tuition already but not much results. Or do your think 1 to 1 may be better?
Also do you have any good assessment books to recommend for A/E math ?

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Re: How to study for Math or Physics exams ….

Postby PhysicsTeacher » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:24 am

Ovencookies wrote:Do your have any good A/E math programmed to recommend? I'm worried for my boy because his math is quite problematic :(. I'm sending him for group tuition already but not much results. Or do your think 1 to 1 may be better?
Also do you have any good assessment books to recommend for A/E math ?


Hi, Ovencookies,

I am not ready to teach Math yet. So I can’t offer tangible help, and I do not have any handy advice either.

Students poor in math are typically crushed – zero confidence and disinterested. Brute-force drilling will definitely aggravate the situation. They need an expert math teacher to hand-hold them into the door of math, first by showing them fundamental principles, then doing some easy questions and slowly harder ones. There is no short cut. You cannot expect your son to get an A* in SA2, if he got an E in SA1 (just an illustration, not hinting your son having this result), even with this mighty tutor (if exists). It is like learning to swim, or training a horse to plow a field (I am thinking about the movie by Spielberg – War Horse). The horse needs to be broken in. Another analogy is learning a music instrument (I play cello). Your arm and finger muscles and brain must be conditioned to the instinctive levels through sheer long hours of practices that suit individual player! That is why group tuition cannot handle this personalized learning issue. 1-on-1 tuition is definitely better, but this also depends on how competent the tutor is. It is also important to recognize that an A-scorer does not necessarily equate a good teacher (just like many great scientists who turn out to be poor teaching professors), albeit specialized knowledge is vital in teaching secondary subjects. Try to get one good “teacher” not just a “tutor”, you may see different result.

Several hundred dollars per month to invest in our sons’ future is actually not too expensive. I spend $1600 monthly for my son and daughter’s tuitions. We parents-of-today are destined to be the “cow and horse” for our children!

Cheers.

PhysicsTeacher
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