Friday, February 13, 2009

How did I study Physics!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

I will relate here how I studied Physics in Form 6. Disclaimer of the disclaimer: I may sound arrogant. Disclaimer: Don't expect to learn something from immitating my study style cause I believe study styles are individual dependant. Well, you'll see how I am arrogant later.

I didn't understand physics at all at first, why the complicated, unintuitive formula for the gravitational potential? So I went back to consult my secondary physics teacher on the formula. Ussually, when she explains physics in Form 4 and 5 I completely (or I think I completely) understand physics. But this time, it's different. I see that salvation is not gained by consulting teachers. I would have to get it somewhere else. Besides, it's too late to register for tuition for physics, it's packed full.

So I read the text book before the classes and paid half attention in classes, didn't do my homeworks (in physics). However, I always make sure that I can do those questions that my classmates can do.

I do remember always asking my teacher questions that he keeps on saying, "You'll know it later."And So I keep on looking for popular physics books in the library. "Popular" as in no equations and the physicist keep on downgrading the concepts so that the average layman can understand them. But to me, it's like an extra knowledge, an edge to higher (I think of them as advanced) concepts in physics, since no one else in my class does that, they are just contented with doing exercises and whatever the teacher teaches.

One reason I feel very elated when I got the chance to go for the International Physics Olympiad traning (now you see the reason for my disclaimers), is that I knew that I can learn more about physics (from previous experience when going for the chem one) , the stuff that they teach in Uni first and second year (only first year for NUS). So the trill of getting lots of physics concepts stuff into you and the small related maths in 4 days and nights worth of lectures kept me from giving up during the extremely (it seems so at that time) tough qualification test. Cause I wanna go for the next stage! And the rest is history, ok fine it's somewhere else in my blog, just read it.

And so I got a new light on the physics I'm studying is that sometimes you need to know more advanced concepts to know why things are like that in more elementary physics. Just that if the teacher is going to go through to the higest level of physics for you just to understand one little thing, you'll be looking at a University, no Graduate (that means masters) level of study. So in conclusion, physics in form 6 is not meant for you to understand as much as for you to memorise, work, and know how to solve problems.

Ok sorry for the disappointment, but as I see it, since I did understand physics back then, it's really possible for you too. Just that you need to be passionate towards physics and really read the popular books, they are helpful for understanding and getting your interest piped up. I mean all you guys learn about modern physics is some little thing on old quantum mechanics and its applications (atomic and nuclear physics). The rest are all Classical and it's so interesting to see how did the 400 years of physics (Maths is even worst, we learn much less about it's 1000 years of development) developed to such an elegant set of mathematical rules that practically explains every physical thing (non-biological) you see.

This is a response to the typical question of, "hey how's your life? Hope u do well in sg.. Hmmm.. I now in upper 6 delta.. may i kno how u study physics? do u do a lot of exercises? do u think a lot? or do u remember the concepts? I lik phy but dint get the result i wanted in the final exam last year.. i got a 66.. hope u can help me.. tq"

Instead of giving a typical answer that would exceed the character limit on friendster, I gave this. By the way the typical answer is, "You need to understand the concepts, that's all, no need to remember even after you understand. Cause you understand you know already. Done."

So for the majority of you guys that can't mimic my way, just do what my classmates do, exercises all day. Ok sorry classmates, if you do more I didn't know, that my impression on you guys......

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