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Grade 12 Physics - Advice?

A photo of comebackkid comebackkid
My first unit test is coming up soon (this Tuesday), and I haven't started studying. BUT, the good thing is that my teachers gives us quizzes every Friday so I've been evaluated on the concepts various times. My main concern:

How hard did you find your unit tests? Most of the problems usually take a page to solve in the first unit, such as pulley-ramp questions, and relative velocity problems with non-90 degree triangles. Did you have enough time on your first unit test?

As long as I don't get anything below an 85 in physics I'll be happy, since that's the cut off for Life Sci. I'm shooting for a 90+ in both biology and calculus so I can maintain my current scholarship :D
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A photo of aidangunda94 aidangunda94
Now I'm sure I'm not as smart as you considering how high you're aiming in terms of final marks. You probably have a 86+ in several other courses don't you?

Considering how I finished with only an 83 in Grade 12 physics, it's obvious that I made a hell of a lot of mistakes studying. Physics to me is a course that is studied by doing as many practice questions as possible while knowing the actual theory behind everything as well as possible.

As for how my tests went? Well, the doctor in physics (Yes... I had a freakin' Doctor in Physics teaching me Physics) tried to make tests resemble how HE believed it would be in university (not in terms of content of course, but in the actual scheme of things). This means plenty of multiple choice questions along with a couple problem solving questions. The multiple choice questions were more theoretical as opposed to solving for actual numbers so memorizing formulas was never enough. Everyone would tend to bomb the multiple choice section because of how picky we had to be about the answers we chose. And so, we screwed up on our tests. Let's just say I didn't end up doing to well on the tests. Scored anywhere from a 49 to an 88 on those tests. And I mean anywhere.

Did I have enough time? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But all in all, as long as you study with that basic idea in mind of doing as many practice questions as possible while really grinding in the theories behind it all, you should be able to easily pull off an 85+.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I hope it helps in some way.
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A photo of comebackkid comebackkid
Wow! That seems brutal. Granted, if you had a teacher with just their BSc then you would have gotten a mark much higher, and much accurate to the course concepts and expectations in high school. Personally, I think I'm OK in understanding the theory/logic as to how a physics problem is solved. In grade 11, where it was simply plugging it into a formula, didn't require much thinking at all. I constantly lose marks in communication for not catching something like a direction. Or, drawing a diagram wrong.

Thanks for the advice, as well. I personally believe that only doing review questions in a science course sets students up to fail. It's having a balance in both the knowledge behind a concept, and the practical skills required to solve a problem (mostly in chemistry and physics) which create succesful students.

Timing is everything, in my opinion. From my friends in first semester physics, they said that sometimes there just isn't enough time to finish every question to the best of your best ability... which really scares me. Considering the fact that most dynamics questions require the derivation of a formula or component analysis, it seems like I'll be pressed for time. In contrast, my teacher uses minimal amounts of MC and T/F questions... and in my opinion that's a good thing because MC is typically harder in science courses.

All in all, thanks for the advice!
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A photo of aidangunda94 aidangunda94
The funny thing was how our teacher boosted our marks. It made no sense at all. My friend, who had a 64 on the mid-term, got a 75 on the exam, had 80s on a couple projects, and finished with an 86. If he didn't give us those boosts, we would've probably ended up with mid to high 70s. MC questions really screwed us over.

Yeah, I'll agree with you there. That's exactly what I learned a little too late, primarily right after I received my grade for the first two tests, which by the way, were not satisfying at all.

Well when it comes to timing, all you have to do is follow the basic rule: do the questions you know you can finish quickly, first, and then move on to the ones you have difficulty on. Oh, and when it comes to actually doing the question, just write down your "Givens". Seriously, write them down. It's useful having that visual aid of what every number represents. Then write down all of your formulas that you know will be related to the question.

Most importantly, STAY CALM! Careful thinking is required.

And one question: Grade 11 physics consisted of plugging in numbers into ONE formula? If I had a physics course that consisted of just doing that, I would be EXTREMELY happy.

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A photo of jelly jelly
Each of my tests consisted of about 4-5 pages, multiple choice separate. First 1-2 pages would be conceptual questions, word problems (application and communication, basically), and the last questions (usually about 4-5 questions) were calculations. I always finished the test on time (approximately 1 hour given), that was never really an issue. The exam for me was really long though. I think it was around 14-15 pages.

I also had a weekly quiz, which I scored anywhere between 50-100. Tests ranged from 60-90. I ended up with an 82, which I am not really satisfied with. I don't know if it had anything to do with my teacher (can't judge since I don't know teachers from other schools) but my teacher never actually learned physics. She was a lifesci grad who didn't get into med school, and now she's teaching bio and physics. That being said, her teaching was surprisingly superb, but there was no way of actually doing well in the course without truly understanding the content. Often (actually, now that I think of it, on every single test) we would be asked to derive equations based on a situation given, with only a select few variables (constants allowed). Those questions were pretty killer, though surprisingly I did well on those, but not on the stupid application questions.
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