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Physics of Surviving E&M


mathgeek15

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So, I am aware that you guys have been doing E&M for a while, so while this is a little late, it should still help. Now, I know that not everyone likes E&M (just ask Mr. Fullerton how much I liked it :)). Well, I too am taking E&M (for the third time), and I have finally cracked the code for success (took me long enough). Now I, the girl who cannot do the right-hand rule (still), is not only understanding E&M, but solving it CORRECTLY.

How you ask? Well, here are some tips:

1. Don't read the book. Seriously. People who say they read the book and found it helpful either a) didn't read the book b ) are lying or c) is Mr. Fullerton. Instead, DO THE PRACTICE PROBLEMS. The book has some really good example problems that are similar to the ones you do in class, but different enough for practice, and then you have the step by step answers. Plus, some of the examples are actually the derivations for electric fields, and trust me, it's a good idea to do those again.

2. Ask questions. Think you understand what you did in class? Think again. Very few people that I know understood E&M perfectly the first time. Mr. Fullerton doesn't bite, so ask him questions. (The worst that he will do is throw you out a window :P )

3. Actually do the homework. I mean do the homework on your own, not do the homework with the answer right in front of you so you can glance at it for every step or copy someone else's procedure and plug in your numbers. You may think, Oh, I'm not going to do that. I will only look at the answer key when I need to. I know. I was you. But I stopped doing that because I realized that I was looking at the answers too frequently for it to be MY work. Now I'm not saying don't use the answers. I love answer keys (just ask Mr. Muz). But don't become so dependent on them that you can't solve the problem on your own.

4. Ask for help. The most important of them all. If you need help, you are not going to learn anything by ignoring it, hoping it goes away. In E&M, your worst nightmares never just "go away". They linger in the background and attack when you least expect it, causing you to have a mini breakdown. I know. I've been there. Two days ago. But then I went to my professors office hours and it turned out I knew more than I thought. Shocker, I know.

These things have helped me to survive E&M (barely). And if I can survive, so can you.

PS: Since I am taking E&M this semester, I will post helpful tips, problems, derivations, equation dumps, anything that I think might help you, the new Physics C students, to survive... As long as I have time. I do have my own homework. :P

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Great post math geek, things for the insight!  And I agree, I don't think it's possible to remain conscious as you read a physics book page by page.  Reading the book (to me) involves trying to do the practice problems, looking back for help when I get stuck, trying to forge ahead, going back, ...

 

Best of luck to you!

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