Physics is a vast ocean of interesting theories, thought provoking concepts, and complex formulas and their application in real life. An analytical mind and good critical thinking skills are the oars that keep your boat of understanding afloat in the mighty ocean of physics. Your relentless spark to learn is the sail that will guide you through the rough waters of Physics. Sometimes it can be tough to grapple with the complexities of physics as it threatens to swallow your boat of understanding and throw you into the deep abyss of confusion.
On such occasions, it is important to go back to the drawing board and get the basics right. In other words, you can’t ace in physics until you have gained a fundamental understanding of its concepts. In this article, you will find a guide map to preparing for the big physics exam that is giving you sleepless nights.
What to study
As mentioned before, Physics is a vast subject with many interrelated topics and sub-topics. So, the first step to preparing for your Physics exam is knowing which topics you are going to be tested on. Force, gravity, electromagnetism, harmonics, and the Laws of Motion are just a few examples of topics that are commonly dealt with in high school and undergraduate physics courses. If you are unsure about what to study for the exam, politely ask your professor to guide you through the exam syllabus.
How to study
Physics is a concept-heavy subject. To study for a physics exam, you need to follow 4 steps:
- Have a thorough understanding of the topic.
- Take notes of what you understood.
- Practicing solving sample problems.
- Revise multiple times.
Understand the topic
First and foremost, you should understand that rote learning doesn’t work so well while studying Physics. You can try it, but it won’t get you great results. Read slowly and steadily as that will give your brain time to grasp the concepts.
If the explanation given in your book is confusing, refer to books from the library or browse online. There is a plethora of websites that simplify complex physics topics and make them easy to understand. Once you feel you have understood the topic, explain the topic to your friend or classmate. When you explain what you have learnt, you are ensuring that the concept in ingrained in your memory for a long time.
If you are thorough with all the different aspects of the physics topic, write down what you learned. You don’t have to write elaborate explanations of the topic. Take notes that you can understand when you refer to them later for revision.
Researchers have found that writing about a topic breeds familiarity, and it is the best way to self-assess what you have learned. While taking notes, remember that you are creating a document for revision. Do not rush while writing and try to keep the handwriting as legible as possible.
Practice solving problems
A major part of a physics exam involves applying the concepts, formulas, and equations when solving problems. Therefore, a clear understanding of concepts and formulas is key for solving problems. Until you are thorough with the concepts, problem solving is going to be a tough nut to crack. Practice makes a man perfect. Thus, a lot of practice is required in solving different kinds of physics problems so that you are not taken by surprise on the day of the exam. Solve sample problems from various books to ensure that you are ready for any challenge.
Revise multiple times
It is not a good idea to procrastinate studying physics till the night before the exam. Since physics involves multiple concepts, formulas, and equations, it is nearly impossible to cram the entire syllabus in a few hours. Days leading to the exam should be designated for multiple revisions. Refer to the notes that you made for revision and practice solving problems once again. Have fun with revision by creating quizzes, flashcards, audio recordings, etc. Once you start revision in advance, you will have enough time to rest on the night before the exam. A good night’s sleep is essential for feeling fresh and alert during the exam.