Memorizing All the Physics Formulas
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18-08-2016, 12:05 AM
RE: Memorizing All the Physics Formulas
Three things.

First, I'll echo the thoughts about math. Do not put it off. Master it and then keep drilling so that you don't let yourself grow rusty. Stay well ahead of the prereqs for your physics class, ESPECIALLY if math is challenging for you. Getting a PhD in physics will require you to take graduate-level math courses, which not only require you to do math with letters, but with Greek letters.

PM me if you want any advice about math. I got most of my way through a masters in math and I have over a decade of experience tutoring. In my view there's no such thing as someone who is or isn't a math person. It's more a matter of attitude, approach, and practice.

Second, I'd recommend that you don't memorize the formulas so much as UNDERSTAND them. Rote memory doesn't help you know when or how to use what you have memorized. The inverse-square rule, for example, is pretty confusing unless you realize it's based on the respective surface areas of two spheres. If you remember that, you only need the formula for a sphere's surface area (which you'll have to memorize anyway). Then, boom, divide and some relatively easy algebra later you've got the formula. Less than a minute. Not only does it save you from having to memorize the formula, it HELPS you memorize the formula.

And finally, if you're bored, don't study in the book. (Well, okay, do, but keep that down to an hour or two per day.) Instead, go out and find math and physics IRL. Make an exercise of looking at everything and trying to see the math and physics in it. A tree swaying in the wind? That's air resistance, a spring factor, Hooke's Law. Look at a babbling brook and see fluid dynamics. Watch a spider dangling from a thread and think in terms of elasticity, tensile strength, and pendulums. One of the most important skills in both math and physics is the ability to look at the world and translate it into the language of those fields. It is very sadly under-practiced, and there are almost infinite opportunities to practice it.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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18-08-2016, 03:04 AM
RE: Memorizing All the Physics Formulas
(18-08-2016 12:05 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Second, I'd recommend that you don't memorize the formulas so much as UNDERSTAND them. Rote memory doesn't help you know when or how to use what you have memorized.

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