Physics at UH is notoriously difficult. University Physics, however, is known to be one of the most difficult elementary or beginner Physics classes that the university has to offer. This class is a required course for various engineering majors and is often lauded as being a “weed out” class. That is not to say that it is by any means not easily passable or even that it is difficult to do well in this class. Hopefully you will find that the following tips will help to allay any fears you may have about taking this class, or will help you make your way through the class!
1. Brace yourself
This class is definitely at a different caliber of difficulty than basically all high school classes and a good number of undergraduate courses. Walking in to this class with realistic expectations in terms of how much time you will have to put in studying will help set you up for success!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Your professor’s office hours are your best friend. There may be times where you will spend literal hours trying to work out a physics question with little to no success only to have your physics professor explain it to me in 30 seconds with no problem. Seeking this help will help you understand concepts and theorems that you would otherwise steer clear of.
3. Don’t get discouraged!
There will be times when the material will seem formidable, when it seems like nothing makes sense and the text is incomprehensible. At these times maybe it is best to take a breather, but try not to let this dissuade you from trying.
4. Take this as a learning experience.
Taking a course like this that requires a lot of studying outside of class will definitely require you to hone your studying method and figure out how you best learn. Learning this early on in your college career will certainly help prepare you for other difficult courses that you may take in later years.
5. Find a study group.
Maybe you will meet someone in class that you think is interesting or maybe you will take the class with people you know beforehand, but it is important to find people to study with. Not only does studying in groups or in pairs make your time spent studying more enjoyable it is also helpful to have access to someone else’s perspective and they can help explain concepts to you that you have trouble grasping and vice versa.
University Physics is a difficult class, but it is doable and manageable. Hopefully these tips will help see you through and help you find study habits that will help you throughout your undergraduate and perhaps even graduate career!