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My ds is doing DO physics.  He is doing well on homework and is making mostly A's even very high A's.  He is making B's on the chapter tests.  

I never took physics in school, so I'm not sure how to help with this.  I have him print of the graded tests and redo mistakes, but I am looking for tips to share with him about how to prepare for the tests?  I'm not sure how this is different than other subjects, but perhaps it is.  I would simply go over all my homework and especially note any mistakes that were marked and maybe reread the chapter?  This seems too obvious? I don't know! LOL

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Is he missing problem questions of concept questions?  One thing that I struggled with as a student and try to explicitly teach kids to look for is 'what kind of study is appropriate?'.  I usually use math and literature (or history) as 2 examples - for math, you study by working practice problems, while for literature, you study by first making sure you've handled the memorization (characters, who did what, etc) and then thinking about the application - can you compare and contrast, or give an example of a protagonist doing X, etc.  Figuring out which kind of questions he's missing might help him to figure out what to do differently, and science classes can go either way or have some of both.  If it's problems, work more practice problems (like a math class).  If he's missing definitions or 'explain how' questions, then study the 'literature-like' material using those sorts of approaches - flash cards for terms, flowcharts to see relationships, outlining the big ideas from memory and then checking with the book to make sure that it's right, etc.  

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I can answer that.  I think I developed a highly effective technique.  Some of this applies to other topics, but I developed it in Physics classes. 

  1. Read the book before the lecture.  
    1. Do not write in the book or underline.   That is just you telling yourself you need to learn that later.  You rarely do. 
    2. Instead read the book with a sheet of paper and write down formulas and definitions and anything else that might be super-important.  
    3. Keep this notes_from_book to one page per chapter. 
    4. If your notes sheet is near the bottom of the page, rewrite it before starting the next section dropping what you completely know.  
  2.  During the lecture, try to write down everything.  Everything.  
    1. Don't think too much on what you are writing.  Just keep writing.   Think of this as the first stage in a classical education, just a data dump.  
    2. During the lecture, don't worry about your handwriting.  
  3. IMMEDIATELY after the lecture, rewrite your lecture notes.  
    1. This is when you get your handwriting legible.  
    2. Also, you will find that you can fill in some gaps in your notes that aren't on your first notes at all.  
    3. This is also when you mentally process the lecture.  (Logic stage of classical education)
    4. Sometimes you come up with a question from the lecture.   Ask the professor/teacher then.   
      1. Trust me, they don't mind AT ALL to get a question after the lecture that shows that you are pondering their lecture.  
      2. If it is an awesome question, they will open the next lecture by telling everyone else the answer.  
    5. At this point, you will likely have internalized 90+% of the lecture and you likely won't need to reference them outside of an open-notes test.  
  4. Homework
    1. Try to do the homework using just your notes from when you read the book.   If you need something not there, then add it to your sheet.   
    2. When you finish your homework set it aside, and do the homework again.  Yes, Again.  Using just your book_notes sheet.  
    3. There is something about the second time through that is really helpful.  The problems will seem easy and if they aren't you need to stop and study whatever your gap is.  
  5. Study for exams:
    1. Idly flip through your notes and say to yourself, "I know this.  I know that ..."
    2. Get a good night's sleep.  
    3. Shortly before the exam, make a list of all the formulas you'll need and make sure you have them memorized.  
  6. At the exam
    1. The first you do before even looking at the problems is write the formulas you memorized on the test.  
       


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I just remembered another hint.  

Pay close attention to Units.  Most people drop a letter grade just because they didn't pay attention to units.  I found it helpful to put the numbers together and the units together in a Dimensional Analysis layout.  Make sure the proper units cancel.   Often the problem will be that minutes were given, and you want seconds or something like that.  

Also, just knowing which units make up other units can help you in a pinch.   For example, Newton is a unit of Force.  A Newton = Kg * m / s2.   So if the revised formula that you make has time (seconds) ending up on top.  You know there is a problem.  

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2 hours ago, ClemsonDana said:

Is he missing problem questions of concept questions?  One thing that I struggled with as a student and try to explicitly teach kids to look for is 'what kind of study is appropriate?'.  I usually use math and literature (or history) as 2 examples - for math, you study by working practice problems, while for literature, you study by first making sure you've handled the memorization (characters, who did what, etc) and then thinking about the application - can you compare and contrast, or give an example of a protagonist doing X, etc.  Figuring out which kind of questions he's missing might help him to figure out what to do differently, and science classes can go either way or have some of both.  If it's problems, work more practice problems (like a math class).  If he's missing definitions or 'explain how' questions, then study the 'literature-like' material using those sorts of approaches - flash cards for terms, flowcharts to see relationships, outlining the big ideas from memory and then checking with the book to make sure that it's right, etc.  

I know so little about physics that I don't even know what kind of questions he's missing.  It all looks like weird math to me.  He is not getting true/false or definition questions wrong or why graphs are important type questions..  Those are all correct.  

I can see he missed an entire series of questions based on a graph.  That was 8pts off.  However he did another graph and only missed 1 point. 

Word problems.  Out of 4 he got 2 completely correct and one completely wrong.  1 point deductions for the other two for some reason. The reason is written out in math form.  I have no idea what it means, but it looks very different than what ds had written out. Even using different letters.  

 

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29 minutes ago, shawthorne44 said:

I can answer that.  I think I developed a highly effective technique.  Some of this applies to other topics, but I developed it in Physics classes. 

  1. Read the book before the lecture.  
    1. Do not write in the book or underline.   That is just you telling yourself you need to learn that later.  You rarely do. 
    2. Instead read the book with a sheet of paper and write down formulas and definitions and anything else that might be super-important.  
    3. Keep this notes_from_book to one page per chapter. 
    4. If your notes sheet is near the bottom of the page, rewrite it before starting the next section dropping what you completely know.  
  2.  During the lecture, try to write down everything.  Everything.  
    1. Don't think too much on what you are writing.  Just keep writing.   Think of this as the first stage in a classical education, just a data dump.  
    2. During the lecture, don't worry about your handwriting.  
  3. IMMEDIATELY after the lecture, rewrite your lecture notes.  
    1. This is when you get your handwriting legible.  
    2. Also, you will find that you can fill in some gaps in your notes that aren't on your first notes at all.  
    3. This is also when you mentally process the lecture.  (Logic stage of classical education)
    4. Sometimes you come up with a question from the lecture.   Ask the professor/teacher then.   
      1. Trust me, they don't mind AT ALL to get a question after the lecture that shows that you are pondering their lecture.  
      2. If it is an awesome question, they will open the next lecture by telling everyone else the answer.  
    5. At this point, you will likely have internalized 90+% of the lecture and you likely won't need to reference them outside of an open-notes test.  
  4. Homework
    1. Try to do the homework using just your notes from when you read the book.   If you need something not there, then add it to your sheet.   
    2. When you finish your homework set it aside, and do the homework again.  Yes, Again.  Using just your book_notes sheet.  
    3. There is something about the second time through that is really helpful.  The problems will seem easy and if they aren't you need to stop and study whatever your gap is.  
  5. Study for exams:
    1. Idly flip through your notes and say to yourself, "I know this.  I know that ..."
    2. Get a good night's sleep.  
    3. Shortly before the exam, make a list of all the formulas you'll need and make sure you have them memorized.  
  6. At the exam
    1. The first you do before even looking at the problems is write the formulas you memorized on the test.  
       

 

I just printed this out!

Not sure how much of it he will want to do! LOL  Especially the part about doing the homework 2x!  I am going to bribe him to try it once though and see how his grades improve!

Thanks!

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The second time through on the homework really doesn't take much time. 

I worked 30+ hours a week while getting a B.S. in Physics and Math minor in precisely 4 years.  About 140 hours of  required classes when you included the hidden requirements  (a required class that had a prerequisite that wasn't required).    I REALLY needed to be efficient in order to also have time to date and drink beer.  Rewriting the notes and homework meant that I had to do really nothing else to study and I went from an average A/B student to the star student.   There was even a fight at a professor's meeting about who would be allowed to offer me a lab job.   Not physical, but lots of yelling and storming off.  
 

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This is a suggestion for DO's course specifically.

Have him attempt to do the problems presented in the lectures *before* DO goes through them.  This will make him an active participant in the lecture.  You may need to sit next to him to ensure he does this (ask me how I know...).

Have him redo all of the practice and HW problems before the test.  He should be able to do them perfectly.  If, when he does this, you find that he is saying things like "I can't remember how to do this one," that might mean that he doesn't understand things conceptually and that he is trying to remember procedures.

Make sure that he is *rock solid* on units.  He needs to track the units through the problem.  From what I remember, DO does not always do this, but students should never omit this process.  If the units come out wrong, he did the problem wrong.

If he is still having trouble, ask DO for extra practice problems.  

Edited by EKS
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18 hours ago, EKS said:

This is a suggestion for DO's course specifically.

Have him attempt to do the problems presented in the lectures *before* DO goes through them.  This will make him an active participant in the lecture.  You may need to sit next to him to ensure he does this (ask me how I know...).

Have him redo all of the practice and HW problems before the test.  He should be able to do them perfectly.  If, when he does this, you find that he is saying things like "I can't remember how to do this one," that might mean that he doesn't understand things conceptually and that he is trying to remember procedures.

Make sure that he is *rock solid* on units.  He needs to track the units through the problem.  From what I remember, DO does not always do this, but students should never omit this process.  If the units come out wrong, he did the problem wrong.

If he is still having trouble, ask DO for extra practice problems.  

 

Thanks for the tips!  I will encourage this!

He did groan out loud when he looked over his test.  I guess he had about 8pts of stupid mistakes so hopefully that's a wake up call to pay more attention!  These small little mistakes would have brought him up to a low A. 

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On 10/10/2018 at 11:56 AM, shawthorne44 said:

I can answer that.  I think I developed a highly effective technique.  Some of this applies to other topics, but I developed it in Physics classes. 

  1. Read the book before the lecture.  
    1. Do not write in the book or underline.   That is just you telling yourself you need to learn that later.  You rarely do. 
    2. Instead read the book with a sheet of paper and write down formulas and definitions and anything else that might be super-important.  
    3. Keep this notes_from_book to one page per chapter. 
    4. If your notes sheet is near the bottom of the page, rewrite it before starting the next section dropping what you completely know.  
  2.  During the lecture, try to write down everything.  Everything.  
    1. Don't think too much on what you are writing.  Just keep writing.   Think of this as the first stage in a classical education, just a data dump.  
    2. During the lecture, don't worry about your handwriting.  
  3. IMMEDIATELY after the lecture, rewrite your lecture notes.  
    1. This is when you get your handwriting legible.  
    2. Also, you will find that you can fill in some gaps in your notes that aren't on your first notes at all.  
    3. This is also when you mentally process the lecture.  (Logic stage of classical education)
    4. Sometimes you come up with a question from the lecture.   Ask the professor/teacher then.   
      1. Trust me, they don't mind AT ALL to get a question after the lecture that shows that you are pondering their lecture.  
      2. If it is an awesome question, they will open the next lecture by telling everyone else the answer.  
    5. At this point, you will likely have internalized 90+% of the lecture and you likely won't need to reference them outside of an open-notes test.  
  4. Homework
    1. Try to do the homework using just your notes from when you read the book.   If you need something not there, then add it to your sheet.   
    2. When you finish your homework set it aside, and do the homework again.  Yes, Again.  Using just your book_notes sheet.  
    3. There is something about the second time through that is really helpful.  The problems will seem easy and if they aren't you need to stop and study whatever your gap is.  
  5. Study for exams:
    1. Idly flip through your notes and say to yourself, "I know this.  I know that ..."
    2. Get a good night's sleep.  
    3. Shortly before the exam, make a list of all the formulas you'll need and make sure you have them memorized.  
  6. At the exam
    1. The first you do before even looking at the problems is write the formulas you memorized on the test.  
       

 

 

This is fantastic! Thanks for writing this out. I forwarded this to both dss.

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Ok, I'm going to try to get all this info into practice starting now.  It's hard for me to be more hands on, but I think learning to study difficult subjects is something he needs a little oversight with.   

Thanks everyone for all the great tips!

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If this is DO, have him take the test again  (print out a new, fresh version) in about two weeks. He'll want to retake them all again (and correct them himself) before the midterm as it is cumulative. DO builds a week into his schedule for study. Have him retake the tests. (DO has an extra test version for each chapter he can send you if he's rather take a slightly different version in studying for the midterm or final.)

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I got started today.  I printed out the responses here.  I put them together and since I prefer the carrot approach I put a $ amount beside each idea I wanted to be followed.  I put more $ on suggestions he's not likely to follow..like do the homework again.  He will get a nice sum if he does it.  I think he will do it because I also added a stick approach, if you don't do it I will take away video games.  I hate being "mean" and told him that.  I made the $ worth it.  The next test is in 3 weeks.  I'm curious to see if it's a better score, because it's costing me! LOL

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/10/2018 at 1:56 PM, shawthorne44 said:

I can answer that.  I think I developed a highly effective technique.  Some of this applies to other topics, but I developed it in Physics classes. 

  1. Read the book before the lecture.  
    1. Do not write in the book or underline.   That is just you telling yourself you need to learn that later.  You rarely do. 
    2. Instead read the book with a sheet of paper and write down formulas and definitions and anything else that might be super-important.  
    3. Keep this notes_from_book to one page per chapter. 
    4. If your notes sheet is near the bottom of the page, rewrite it before starting the next section dropping what you completely know.  
  2.  During the lecture, try to write down everything.  Everything.  
    1. Don't think too much on what you are writing.  Just keep writing.   Think of this as the first stage in a classical education, just a data dump.  
    2. During the lecture, don't worry about your handwriting.  
  3. IMMEDIATELY after the lecture, rewrite your lecture notes.  
    1. This is when you get your handwriting legible.  
    2. Also, you will find that you can fill in some gaps in your notes that aren't on your first notes at all.  
    3. This is also when you mentally process the lecture.  (Logic stage of classical education)
    4. Sometimes you come up with a question from the lecture.   Ask the professor/teacher then.   
      1. Trust me, they don't mind AT ALL to get a question after the lecture that shows that you are pondering their lecture.  
      2. If it is an awesome question, they will open the next lecture by telling everyone else the answer.  
    5. At this point, you will likely have internalized 90+% of the lecture and you likely won't need to reference them outside of an open-notes test.  
  4. Homework
    1. Try to do the homework using just your notes from when you read the book.   If you need something not there, then add it to your sheet.   
    2. When you finish your homework set it aside, and do the homework again.  Yes, Again.  Using just your book_notes sheet.  
    3. There is something about the second time through that is really helpful.  The problems will seem easy and if they aren't you need to stop and study whatever your gap is.  
  5. Study for exams:
    1. Idly flip through your notes and say to yourself, "I know this.  I know that ..."
    2. Get a good night's sleep.  
    3. Shortly before the exam, make a list of all the formulas you'll need and make sure you have them memorized.  
  6. At the exam
    1. The first you do before even looking at the problems is write the formulas you memorized on the test.  
       

 

My college dc is using this method in all courses.  Dc is astonished at how easy it is to do well this way.   

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23 hours ago, klmama said:

My college dc is using this method in all courses.  Dc is astonished at how easy it is to do well this way.   

 

I think my proudest moment was in an Engineering Masters-level class, at University that specialized in Engineering.   It had been an open notes test.  Everyone but me did so miserably on the exam that the professor handed back the tests and told them to take the test home and work on it some more.  I'd been worried about being incapable because much time had passed between B.S. and starting the Masters.  I thought my mind would be calcified.   The very very first class back, the professor was talking about all this stuff and I was scribbling away as fast as I could trying to catch it all, while my classmates were sitting back.   I thought, "Eeek, they know this stuff already.  I have SOOOO much catching up to do. "   Then on the elevator down from the final exam for that class, one of those students I'd noticed had been relaxed was complaining about a problem on the final.   The professor had given the answer during that first class.   
 

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  • 1 month later...

Y'all are awesome!  DS managed to squeak out an A after using all the advice on this thread! That is the only help he got from me as neither dh nor I have ever taken physics.   While he was taking his final I decided I would just sit at the table with him and surf the web.  I take my job as proctor seriously! LOL  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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