Any advice for a college physics students?

manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?!Registered User regular
edited September 2016 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey everyone, anyone know some good online tutorials, teachers, videos that show basic college physics being done? Right now I'm working kinematic equations and the teacher and book aren't much help. The teacher doesn't allocate any time in class for helping students with questions, it's a lecture hall format. By that I mean problems involving acceleration, velocity, displacement, etc. By way of reference, I'm taking college chemistry as well, and that is very straightforward. Highest math I went in high school was Alegbra 2/Trig.

The problem I'm having is working the problems, I don't know a good way to do this because I don't know where to start, and don't have any experience even jamming numbers in. These are typically multistep problems where one misstep will throw off everything else.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Hey everyone, anyone know some good online tutorials, teachers, videos that show basic college physics being done? Right now I'm working kinematic equations and the teacher and book aren't much help. The teacher doesn't allocate any time in class for helping students with questions, it's a lecture hall format. By that I mean problems involving acceleration, velocity, displacement, etc. By way of reference, I'm taking college chemistry as well, and that is very straightforward. Highest math I went in high school was Alegbra 2/Trig.

    The problem I'm having is working the problems, I don't know a good way to do this because I don't know where to start, and don't have any experience even jamming numbers in. These are typically multistep problems where one misstep will throw off everything else.

    I'm assuming then that this is not calculus based physics? Physics 99-Physics for Liberal Arts Majors or something like that? If so maybe try looking for resources targets at High School physics. And if not, drop the class, go learn Calculus and then marvel at how much more sense physics makes.


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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    Yeah, it's algebra based. It wasn't pushed specifically, I just needed a physics class.

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I still really love Khan Academy for this sort of thing.

    Also if there is a math and/or science lab staffed by tutors on campus, it would be a great idea to check them out as they are there precisely to help students in your situation.

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  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    I think these is one of those occasions where you're supposed to talk to the other people in class, meet them and find yourself a study group.

    Anyway. Why don't you post a few of the problems here and we'll discuss them?

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    I definitely recommend watch Khan Academy as well.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Does your school have a student resource center or supplemental instruction? Most schools that are accredited have SI (supplemental instruction) sessions performed for the lower level calculus, physics, and chemistry sequences where a second professor, grad student, or highly rigorously tested senior undergrad leads a more formalized study hall that follows the course.

    If you want to PM me your school I can probably refer you to the right resource. I do this sort of thing for a living at my institution and know what to look for.

    Alternatively, your professor will have between 3 and 10 office hours per week for Q&A and can 100% give you better feedback on what you need to know than any online resource, given that he is the one who will be assessing you later in the term.

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    Yeah, but it's booked up for most of the week, there's only one tutor for physics chemistry.

    That'd really be helpful, I will after I finish class today. The hard part is reading a word problem, deduce what the missing values are, and form a use of equations to get an answer that still make sense. I've done algebraic word problems before, but these are new formulas for the most part and I'm having to learn new terms like. "Delta X" "Delta T" etc. I understand like, it's the final minus the initial, but when it actually comes to applying them to a problem, it all falls apart and I don't know where to start.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    If your physics course contains formulas with dx/dt or Δx/Δt or δx/δt, then your physics course uses calculus, as those symbols are for differentiation, which is half of calculus (integration being the other half). It means you should be taking a calculus course to go along with your physics course.

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Not an option unfortunately, I'm currently at 15 credits with A&P and Chem 161, both with labs as well. I can barely spare a few hours for tutoring let alone take another class. I'm just brute forcing it and making a lot of mistakes, but some of it seems to be coming together.

    I screwed up the the Behr free fall lab in the beginning and had to redo a bunch of calculations, thankfully my lab partner wasn't too upset since he's struggling as well, most of the class was in fact. My teacher is very much of the, "wait until you're drowning, then specifically ask me what you don't understand, and then I'll give you some help" mentally.

    Like, I get physics is a tool box and you're supposed to solve symbolically, and most answers have more than one approach. But it's really, really hard for me to understand the application of the these equations without plugging in some numbers to make sense.

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  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    If your physics course contains formulas with dx/dt or Δx/Δt or δx/δt, then your physics course uses calculus, as those symbols are for differentiation, which is half of calculus (integration being the other half). It means you should be taking a calculus course to go along with your physics course.

    Using delta doesn't necessarily mean it needs calculus. They could be taking averages of things like speed or position to approximate acceleration and speed, for example, neither of which requires more than algebra.

  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    If it is calculus-based*, MWTMG, I have to tell you that the easiest pair of physics and calculus classes I ever took were Electricity and Magnetism and Multivariable Calculus.

    When I was running into trouble in one, I could just remember something from the other. E.g., when having trouble with a particular problem in Calc, I'd be able to recognize that it was basically the same as just dropping a loop of wire through a magnetic field, and that worked like (blah, blah) and when solving an issue in E&M I'd be able to refer back to the methods from Calc.

    I understand that many, but not all, universities pair those classes like that, and you could make life a lot easier on yourself if you were taking them contemporaneously.

    * Big If, of course.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Not an option unfortunately, I'm currently at 15 credits with A&P and Chem 161, both with labs as well. I can barely spare a few hours for tutoring let alone take another class.

    Welcome to the lie that is credit hours for science courses.

    You may also like "If 3 credit Engineering 3xx doesn't have a lab, why is the entire class in that one room till all hours of the night?"

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    My goal is taking care of pre-med sciences. I'm working towards getting into a PTA program next year. I loved personal training, I just didn't like the sales side of it. After doing some job shadowing, I found it very fulfilling. Especially in a sports or out-patient setting.

    I only need three classes, however, the Army Baylor PT program is something I'd like to apply for at some point. I'm 33 so I have a few years, but ideally I'd like to be working in a new field sooner rather than later. Anyway, that's the plan.

    So that means for a non-science major, it's A&P 241-242, a year of consecutive chemistry and physics, so eight classes plus retaking statistics since I did that in my early twenties. That's if I wanted to do a full Physical Therapist with a doctorate.

    I would love to do a masters program and then pick up what I needed towards doctorate as I worked like my PT in town did. But Masters are inexplicably (other than MO MONEY) being phased out in favor of "more highly qualified candidates" even though from the people I've talked to, starting PTs made the same and had the same performance whether they had a doctorate or not.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Good luck!

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    GOD why can't my physics teacher be the guy from Khan academy?

    This is a good series is what I'm saying.

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    GOD why can't my physics teacher be the guy from Khan academy?

    This is a good series is what I'm saying.

    That's Salman Khan himself doing those. His disembodied voice and digital scribbles teach a wide range of topics there.

    Really is a good supplement bit of instruction in my opinion.

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  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    GOD why can't my physics teacher be the guy from Khan academy?

    This is a good series is what I'm saying.

    That's Salman Khan himself doing those. His disembodied voice and digital scribbles teach a wide range of topics there.

    Really is a good supplement bit of instruction in my opinion.

    And here I was hoping for Khan Noonien Singh and his superior intellect...

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    And... I had to drop the class. With a chemistry class with a lab, and an anatomy and physiology class with a lab, it was just too much, too fast. I've been told by numerous people that A/P HAS to come first when it comes to getting into different programs, and I couldn't justify the +4 hours a day I was spending just to keep up with physics. The thing is, I get the general idea. You're using formula tools to solve for missing variables. But then I look at a word problem and start sweating bricks about what to do next, and little things like positive or negative motion will throw that off completely.

    I guess I just wish there was an easier bridge from computational math to physics, but whatever, I'll figure something out. It still sucks though.

    Don't know what else to do for the moment other than get some tutoring for later semesters.

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