Like any other subject, you won’t get the mark you deserve without studying a bit. It can be daunting, trying to organize yourself so that you can get something meaningful and memorable done. What’s more, scientific subjects require some revision and study methods that are different to Arts and Humanities subjects, for example. With that in mind, here are the top five tips on how to study for Physics with or without a physics tutor.
Reading back through class work and notes can be pretty dull, so you have to find a way to more actively absorb what you are reading. Active reading combines a receptive skill – reading, with a productive skill – writing or speaking. Make notes as you work; with Physics, draw circuits, create mind maps and list equations or theories. Try putting them into a picture if you are a visual learner. If you prefer to listen than reading, try recording yourself explaining the things you are reading. This process will aid memory but also allow you to listen instead of reading next time.
Don’t overdo it with memorization techniques; this can become very boring. However, with a subject like Physics, numerical formulae and equations simply have to be memorized. If it’s an equation, a popular way to remember it is with a mnemonic (using the first letter of consecutive words to make a memorable phrase – or, with equations, turning the letters in to words), such as “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” for the order of the colours of the rainbow, or “Naughty Elephants Squirt Water” for North, East, South, West.
There is no way to escape Maths if you are studying Physics. It will be beneficial to brush up on your mental arithmetic and to spend a bit of time getting to know the useful, but sometimes confusing buttons on your calculator. This means that you’re going to have to get hold of some practice questions, so that you can practice your ability to apply Maths to Physics. Teachers are always able to provide their students with extra work to do along these lines, so if Maths is an issue for you, the next stop should be a chat with your teacher.
Don’t cram everything into the night before, and don’t get out of the habit of studying. You will put far less pressure on your memory and your own stress levels if you study little and often. Make yourself a study plan and stick to it. Split the different areas of Physics up so that everything is organized – you might revise laws on a Tuesday, and types of energy on a Wednesday, for example. If you arrange your studies in a logical way, your brain will be far less cluttered!
Sometimes, you will find areas of the Physics a bit dry and uninspiring, so you need to try and apply them to real life, in order to give them a bit of relevance to you. Newton’s laws of motion, for example, can be applied to a number of real-life situations. Think of the reason why, in a car crash, the car stops as it hits the other car, but the driver keeps moving. There’s Newton’s first law in real life – now you have a go at the others!