Demoralized by physics

Hi everyone.

Been a while since I posted. I’ve been slugging it out, the pre-reqs, one at a time for a few semesters. Doing well over all, until this semester. I just started physics (trig based) and I just don’t get it. It’s like I just don’t think that way. I never know what formula to use and when, and then trying to derive the formulas to solve these problems, it’s just too much. I’m spending hours to work through the homework, but every problem changes, and it’s never something I seem to be able to get on my own.

I’m seeing a tutor this week. Depending on how the first quiz goes, I might drop and try again when I have more time. I work full-time. Anyways, I can’t believe how hard this seems to be for me. I got As in gen chem.

My other option is to take this class, and if I do poorly, take it again (hopefully doing better), and then DO app will grade replace. I hate to waste that time, but I’m at a loss.

Thanks for listening.

  • Brenda E Said:
My other option is to take this class, and if I do poorly, take it again (hopefully doing better), and then DO app will grade replace. I hate to waste that time, but I'm at a loss.

Thanks for listening.

Doing poorly is NOT an option, so lets' eliminate that one for the realm of possibilities!

IF you decide to drop the class, I'd suggest you continue to "sit in" on it anyway and continue to go through it as if you were taking it for credit.

Good luck!

You’re definitely not the only premed to struggle with Physics! I took the non-calc based Physics, and struggled every step of the way. I used to tell some pretty bad jokes about it just trying to stay away from saying “I hate Physics”!!!

My brother (who is now a neurosurgery resident but hated Physics too) encouraged me with this:

“Physics only has five basic formulas. Learn them - don’t just recognize them. Manipulate them and change them up and try each one with each problem to see which one is going to work. Work literally thousands of problems, and treat it as something you really can make friends with. Because as a doc you’re really truly going to use it.”

I spent three hours EVERY SINGLE MORNING with my Physics prof during the week. I worked thousands of problems. I thought my brain would melt. But I got it.

And by the way, I was a single mom with one still at home - a teenager that I homeschooled - and I also worked full time. I know what its like to struggle against anything reasonable. But if you put in the time, you’ll get it!

I kept holding on to the truth that Physics is the language of science. Once I hit grad school, it really began to make sense. Sending you tenacity and courage!!

Have you checked out any of the Khan academy videos to see if that helps?

Keep at it! It’s a long journey.

Another option for videos is Steve.

I took both trig-based physics when I first went through undergrad and did A’s, but decades later took calc-based physics (got a B and an A). Only one topic tripped me up and that killed my grade. I later stupidly took advanced “modern” physics and got another B.

I would suggest getting an MCAT book and reading the physics sections. While such books don’t cover all the physics topics, they tend to present the topics in a clear format.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the advice. After really applying myself over the last few days and seeing a tutor, I did OK on the first physics quiz. Better than everyone sitting around me, and passing. So…I will stick with it. If you all can do it, then I can too!

Thanks again for the support!

good job! Keep it up.

You may go home feeling defeated, and you may or may not drop the class, but one thing must happen: you must continue on and score a decent grade. The absolute worst thing that can happen is to give up and just accept a bad grade…

Remember that, although older pre-med students are not as common as the younger trad students, you will still be competing for an MS1 seat with someone of your demographic, and if (although this is not the reality) the decision for admittance was based upon this one physics grade (all else being equal) then who will the school pick? They will pick you, because you will pull through and do just fine, whether you pull it off now or later. You can do this!

Hi, Brenda. I feel for you. Physics was certainly my least favorite class. I’m in physics 2 right now, though, and it is much better and I feel much more at ease with the subject now. So, don’t fret too much, but do work hard! I found lots of physics concepts just not in line with my way of thinking, if that makes sense. At one point in my first semester I could pretty much guess that whatever I instinctly thought was right, it would be the opposite in physics. My brain just wasn’t used to thinking about certain things in the way physics explains the world. However, tenacity got me an A in first semester and now I feel so much more comfortable doing physics problems now and the concepts from first semester are getting reinforced with second semester concepts. First semester lays the foundation, second semester builds on it and goes into other things (like electricity, currents, etc).

Do as others have suggested and practice a lot. Use online resources if that floats your boat. I found online help to work well for me, both for my preferred learning style and because it fit into a tight schedule and a tight budget. I found Khan Academy marginally helpful. Khan is great for basics, but I do feel not as in depth as I would always like. Freelance Teacher is great, but lots of videos, so sometimes it’s hard to find what you really want. These are free resources, too, so that is just a big bonus. I love coursesaver myself. Julio Cesar mentioned using this videos in another post and I paid for the College Organic Chem videos during my 1st semester of orgo. They were excellent and I think really helped me earn an A and cement crucial ideas that orgo is all about. I also invested in College Physics videos to help me with 2nd semester Physics and to help me refresh 1st semester stuff for the MCAt. So, I highly recommend coursesaver.

I will echo Jfowler and say that no matter what, you will have to take this class and get a decent grade. Do not give up. Keep at it. You may surprise yourself! Actually, it appears you already did if your first quiz is any indication. So, hold onto that feeling, keep it up. One lesson I am still learning myself also, is that one bad (or maybe just not great) quiz grade or test grade is not a deal breaker. I got so worked up over scoring A’s on everything that I left myself zero room for a bad day and it was bad for my morale. I got in my own way. For example, in 1st semester physics, I did well on the 1st exam, but then had a horrible 2nd exam. Worst exam of my life. Brain just shut down. I froze. I went blank and then ran out of time. I thought I totally blew the class. It took a bit of time to recover, but I did not let it get me down or throw in the towel. That 2nd test grade did not ruin my class grade, thankfully! I did end up with an A in class. So, my point is, give yourself room for error. I’m a neurotic premed and a type A and it’s hard for me to not beat myself up for not getting a perfect A on everything. But, in hindsight, all my errors have been great opportunities for improvement and really often just end up cementing ideas that I didn’t grasp well enough the first go around. I never forget the things I get wrong!

I’m sure you’ll do great. Just keep at it and don’t let anything get you down, but please don’t make the mistakes I have- give yourself a break every now and then!