You, like many students, may view college level
physics as difficult. You, again like many students, may seem overwhelmed by
new terms and equations. You may not have had extensive experience with
problem-solving and may get lost when trying to apply information from your
textbook and classes to an actual physics problem. We hope this pamphlet will
help!

It's designed to help you stay out of the difficulties
that come when you think small and get too involved in memorizing formulas or
other specific details without understanding the underlying principles. It will
guide you in understanding how to apply specific knowledge to the problems, how
to start, how to seek help, how to check your answer. In short, it will help
you develop the study skills that are important not just in physics but in all
of your courses.

**Contents**

Getting an Overview

**Effective Participation in a Physics Class**

**Reading Your Physics Textbook**

**Problem Solving in Physics**

**Examples of the Application of the Problem-Solving
Principles**

**Effective Test Preparation**

**Weekly Flow Chart for Studying Physics**

**Tips**

** **

**Getting an Overview**

It's important to recognize that physics is a **problem-solving
discipline**. Your physics teacher will
stress major themes and principles, and one major goal is that you, the
student, will be able to apply these principles to **understand and solve
problems**. You should focus on this
fact, that in a physics course, you are expected to solve problems.

An **overview **of
your course can help you organize your efforts and increase your efficiency. To
understand and retain data or formulas, you should see the underlying
principles and connecting themes. It is almost inevitable that you will
sometimes forget a formula, and an understanding of the underlying principle
can help you generate the formula for yourself.

Take these steps to getting an overview early in the
term so that all subsequent material can be integrated into your overview:

1. Examine the course outline (first
day handout or syllabus) carefully, and read the official description of the
course in the University Catalog. Look for underlying themes or a pattern on
which the course is developed and how this course fits in with your other
courses.

2. Preview the textbook:

A.
Read the introduction
and table of contents.

B.
Read any notes to the student (or
teacher) that are included and the preface.

C.
Check the course outline to see
what chapters are assigned and which are omitted. If they are not assigned in
the same order as in the table of contents, can you see a reason for your
teacher's decision to alter the order of presentation?

3. As you preview the course from this
perspective early in the term, look for important themes and principles. Glance
at some of the problems. How are important themes illustrated in these
problems?

**Effective Participation in a Physics Class**

It's important that you be well prepared for class in
order to use its potential fully for integrating the course material. To
prepare for the class, you should do the following:

**Prior to each class:**

1. Check the course outline or reading
assignment to see what will be covered. Prepare by **briefly previewing** the sections of the textbook that apply to the
subjects to be covered. This preview will improve your ability to follow the
class, for you will have seen the new terminology and will recognize signposts
that will help integrate the classes into an overall picture.

2. Read the introduction and the
summary of the relevant chapter and look at the section headings and
subheadings. Try to formulate questions in your mind about the subjects to be
covered. This question-formulating helps you manipulate and therefore better
understand the material.

3. Examine the drawings and pictures.
Try to determine what principles they illustrate.

4. Make notes of new words, new units
of measure, statements of general laws, and other new concepts.

5. Do **not** underline or highlight the text, since you do not yet
know what will be emphasized by the instructor.

6. Right
before the beginning of class, check your notes from the last class. Reading
your notes will prepare you to listen to the new physics class as part of an
integrated course and will help you to see the broad development of themes.

**During class:**

**Come to the class on time and stay till the very
end.** Often teachers give helpful
hints in the first and last minutes of the lecture. Unfortunately, these times
are when a lot of people are not listening.

1. **Take good notes**. It's helpful to draw up a set of **abbreviations** and use them consistently in taking notes. Keep a
list of them for later reference. Leave ample margins for later comments and
for questions or write on only one side so that you can use the opposite side
for comments and questions (see After Class, below).

2. When you copy **drawings**, completeness is worth more than careful artwork. You
should not only copy what is on the board but also record important points that
the teacher makes orally about the diagram.

3. If you get behind in your
note-taking, **leave a space** in your
notes and go on. You can fill in your notes later with the help of a classmate
or your textbook. (Note: The **Learning Skills Center** can give you additional information on note-taking.)

4. **Ask questions.** Don't be embarrassed to ask your teacher questions.
Many teachers depend on feedback from students to help them set a proper pace
for the class. And of course it can happen that the teacher does not explain a
step he or she takes, or even makes a mistake when writing something on the
board.

**After class:**

1. Immediately after class, or as soon
as possible, **review** and edit your
notes. You need not rewrite them. Rather, you should look for important ideas
and relationships among major topics. Summarize these in the margin or on the
opposite side if you've taken notes only on one side, and at this time you may
want to add an outline to your notes. Also, this would be a good time to
integrate notes from your textbook into your lecture notes; then you will have
one set of integrated notes to study by.

2. As you review your notes, certain **questions** may come to mind. Leave space for recording
questions, and then either ask the teacher or even better, try to answer these
questions for yourself with your friends and with the help of the text.

**Reading Your Physics Textbook**

Reading the text and solving homework problems is a
cycle: Questions lead to answers that lead back to more questions. An entire
chapter will often be devoted to the consequences of a single basic principle.
You should look for these basic principles. These Laws of Nature give order to
the physicists' view of the universe. Moreover, nearly all of the problems that
you will be faced with in a physics course can be analyzed by means of one or
more of these laws.

When looking for relationships among topics, you may
note that in many instances a specific problem is first analyzed in great
detail. Then the setting of the problem is generalized into more abstract
results. When such generalizations are made, you should refer back to the case
that was previously cited and make sure that you understand how the general
theory applies to the specific problem. Then see if you can think of other
problems to which that general principle applies. Some suggestions for your
physics reading:

1. Make use of the **preview** that you did prior to the class. Again, quickly look
at the major points of the chapter. Think back to the points stressed in class
and any questions you might have written down.

2. **Read the homework problems
first.** If specific homework problems
have not yet been assigned, select several and look these over. Critically
assess what principles seem to be most significant in the assigned chapter.
Based upon your brief review of the class and your examination of the problems,
try to generate questions in your mind that you want the chapter to answer.

3. **Read actively** with questions in mind. A passive approach to reading
physics wastes your time. Read with a pencil and paper beside the book to jot down
questions and notes. If you find that you are not reading actively, once again
take a look at the problems and the lecture notes. Read to learn, not to cover
material.

4. **Stop** periodically and pointedly recall the material that
you have read. It is a good idea to repeat material aloud and especially to add
notes from the textbook into the margins of your class notes.

5. During your reading you will notice
sections, equations, or ideas that apply directly to assigned problems. After
you have read such a section, stop and analyze its **application** to a homework problem. The interplay of reading and
problem solving is part of the cycle of question --> answer --> question.
It helps you gain insights that are not possible by reading alone, even careful
reading alone. Passive reading is simply following the chain of thought in the
text. Active reading also involves exploring the possibilities of what is being
read. By actively combining the questions that are inherent in problem solving
with your reading, you enhance both your concentration while reading and your
ability to recall and to apply the material.

**Problem Solving in Physics**

You may now be like many students a novice problem
solver. The goal of this section is to help you become an expert problem
solver. Effective, expert problem solving involves answering five questions:

• What's
the problem about?

• What
am I asked to find?

• What
information am I to use? What principles apply?

• What
do I know about similar situations?

• How
can I go about applying the information to solve the problem?

• Does
my solution make sense?

You,
the expert, will decide, "this is an energy problem," or, "this
is a Newton 2 problem." A novice is more likely to decide, "this is a
pulley problem," or, "this is a baseball problem." The novice
concentrates on the surface features of the problem while you concentrate on
the underlying principle. You, an expert problem solver, will answer these
questions, play around (briefly) with the problem, and make drawings and
sketches (either in your mind, or even better, on paper) before writing down
formulas and plugging in numbers. A novice problem solver, on the other hand,
will try to write down equations and plug in numbers as soon as possible. A
novice will make many more mistakes than you will when you become an expert.

In a
physics course it's important to remember a couple of things about physicists
and physics professors:

_ A
physicist seeks those problems that can be modeled or represented by a **picture
or diagram**. Almost any problem you
encounter in a physics course can be described with a drawing. Such a drawing
often contains or suggests the solution to the problem.

_ A
physicist seeks to find unifying principles that can be expressed **mathematically** and that can be applied to broad classes of physical
situations. Your physics text book contains many specific formulas, but you
must understand the broader Laws of Nature in order to grasp the general
overview of physics. This broad understanding is vital if you are to solve
problems that may include several different principles and that may use several
different formulas. Virtually all specific formulas in physics are combinations
of basic laws.

**General
outline of how to approach a physics problem:**

1. **Read the problem.** Look up the meanings of any terms that you do not
know. Answer for yourself the question, "What's this about?" Make
sure you understand what is being asked, what the question is. It is very
helpful if you reexpress the problem in your own words or if you tell a friend
what the problem is about.

2. Make a **drawing** of the problem. Even a poor drawing can be helpful,
but for a truly good drawing include the following:

A.
Give a **title** that identifies the quantity you are seeking in the
problem or that describes the problem.

B.
**Label** the drawing, including the parameters or variables on
which the solution depends and that are given in the problem. Write down the
given values of these parameters on the drawing.

C.
Label any **unknown** parameters that must be calculated along the way or
obtained from the text in order to find the desired solution.

D.
Always give the **units
of measure** for all quantities in the
problem. If the drawing is a graph, be sure to give both the **units** and the **scale** of the axes.

E.
Include on the drawing information
that is **assumed** and not given in
the problem (such as g, the value of the acceleration due to gravity), and
whether air resistance and friction are neglected.

3. Establish which **general principle** relates the given parameters to the quantity that you
are seeking. Usually your picture will suggest the correct techniques and
formulas. At times it may be necessary to obtain further information from your
textbook or notes before the proper formulas can be chosen. It often happens
that further information is needed when the problem has a solution that must be
calculated indirectly from the given information. If further information is
needed or if intermediate quantities must be computed, it is here that they are
often identified.

4. Draw a **second picture** that identifies the coordinate system and origin that
will be used in relating the data to the equations. In some situations this
second picture may be a graph, free body diagram, or vector diagram rather than
a picture of a physical situation.

5. Even an expert will often use the **concrete
method** of working a problem. In this
method you do the calculation using the given values from the start, so that
the algebra gives numerical values at each intermediate step on the way to the
final solution. The**disadvantage** of
this method is that because of the large number of numerical calculations
involved, mistakes are likely, and so you should take special care with
significant figures. However this method has the **advantage** that you can see, at every step of the way, how the
problem is progressing. It also is more direct and often makes it easier to
locate a mistake if you do make one.

6. As an expert, you will more and
more use the **formal method** of
working a problem. In this method, you calculate the solution by doing as much
as possible without using specific numbers. In other words, do as much of the
algebra as you can before substituting the specific given values of the data.
In long and complicated problems terms may cancel or expressions simplify. Our
advice: gain experience in problem solving by substituting the numbers when you
start physics, but gradually adopt the formal approach as you become more
confident; many people adopt a compromise approach where they substitute some
values but retain others as symbols (for example, "g" for the
acceleration due to gravity).

7. **Criticize your solution**: Ask yourself, "Does it make sense?"
Compare your solution to any available examples or to previous problems you
have done. Often you can check yourself by doing an approximate calculation.
Many times a calculation error will result in an answer that is obviously
wrong. Be sure to check the **units**
of your solution to see that they are appropriate. This examination will
develop your physical intuition about the correctness of solutions, and this
intuition will be very valuable for later problems and on exams.

An
important thing to remember in working physics problems is that by **showing
all of your work** you can much more
easily locate and correct mistakes. You will also find it easier to read the
problems when you prepare for exams if you show all your work.

8. In an **examination**, you may have to do problems under a strict time
limitation. Therefore, when you are finished with a homework problem, practice
doing it again faster, in order to build up your speed and your confidence.

When
you have completed a problem, you should be able, at some later time, to read
the solution and to understand it without referring to the text. You should
therefore write up the problem so as to include a **description** of what is wanted, the **principle** you have applied, and the **steps** you have taken. If, when you read your own answer to
the problem, you come to a step that you do not understand, then you have
either omitted a step that is necessary to the logical development of the
solution, or you need to put down more extensive notes in your write-up to
remind you of the reasons for each step.

It
takes more time to write careful and complete solutions to homework problems.
Writing down what you are doing and thinking slows you down, but more important
it makes you behave more like an **expert**. You will be well paid back by the assurance that you are not
overlooking essential information. These careful write-ups will provide
excellent review material for exam preparation.

**Examples
of the Application of the Problem-Solving Principles**

** **

**SAMPLE
PROBLEM #1:**

This
problem is stated and the solution written down as you would work it out for
homework.

In 1947
Bob Feller, former Cleveland pitcher, threw a baseball across the plate at 98.6
mph or 44.1 m/s. For many years this was the fastest pitch ever measured. If
Bob had thrown the pitch straight up, how high would it have gone?

1. What
does the problem ask for, and what is given? Answer: The speed of the baseball
is given, and what is wanted is the height that the ball would reach if it were
thrown straight up with the given initial speed. You should double check that
whoever wrote the problem correctly calculated that 98.6 miles/hr is equal to
44.1 m/s. You should state explicitly, in words, that you will use the 44.1 m/s
figure and that you will assume the baseball is thrown from an initial height
of zero (ground level). You should also state explicitly what value of g you
will use, for example, g = 9.81 m/s2. You should also state that you assume that air
resistance can be neglected. Since you don't know the mass of the baseball, say
that you don't (you won't need it, anyway).

2. Make a drawing:

3. The
general principles to be applied here are those of uniformly accelerated
motion. In this case, the initial velocity vo decreases linearly in time because of the
gravitational acceleration. The maximum height ym occurs at the time tm when the
velocity reaches zero. The average velocity during from t = 0 to t = tm is the average
of the initial velocity v = vo and the final velocity v = 0, or half the initial
velocity.

3. Make a second drawing. In this case, try a graph of
velocity

as a
function of time.

Notice
that the graph is fairly accurate: You can approximate the value of g as 10 m/s2, so that the
velocity decreases to zero in about 4.5 s. Therefore, even before you use your
calculator, you have a good idea of about the value of tm.

5. The concrete method can now be
applied: An initial velocity of 44.1 m/s will decrease at the rate of 9.81 m/s2 to zero in a
time tmgiven by

tm
= 44.1 / 9.81 = 4.4954 s .

During
that time, the average velocity is vav = 44.1 / 2 = 22.05 m/s. Therefore the height is given
by

ym
= vav
tm
= 99.12 = 99.1 m .

Notice
that for all "internal" calculations, more than the correct number of
significant figures were kept; only when the final answer was obtained was it
put into the correct number of significant figures, in this case three.

6. To do this problem in a formal
method, use the formula for distance y as a function of t if the acceleration a
is constant. Do not substitute numbers, but work only with symbols until the
very end:

y = yo
+ vo t
+ a t2
/ 2 ,

where yo = 0 is the
initial position, vo = 44.1 m/s is the initial velocity, and a = - g = -
9.81 m/s2 is the constant acceleration. However, do not use the numerical
figures at this point in the calculation. The maximum value of y is when its
derivative is zero; the time tm of zero derivative is given by:

dy/dt = vo + a tm = 0 --> tm = - vo / a .

The
maximum height ym is given by putting this value of tm into the
equation for y:

ym
= yo
+ vo
( - vo
/ a ) + a ( - vo / a )2 / 2 = yo - vo2 / 2a .

Now
substitute: yo = 0, vo = 44.1, a = - 9.81. The result is

ym
= 0 + 0.5 (44.1)2 / 9.81 = 99.1 m .

7. Look over this problem and ask
yourself if the answer makes sense. After all, throwing a ball almost 100 m in
the air is basically impossible in practice, but Bob Feller did have a very
fast fast ball pitch!

There
is another matter: If this same problem had been given in a chapter dealing
with conservation of energy, you should not solve it as outlined above.
Instead, you should calculate what the initial and final kinetic energy KE and
potential energy PE are in order to find the total energy. Here, the initial PE
is zero, and the initial KE is m vo2 / 2. The final PE is m g ym and the final
KE is zero. Equate the initial KE to the final PE to see that the unknown mass
m cancels from both sides of the equation. You can then solve for ym, and of course
you will get the same answer as before but in a more sophisticated manner.

8. To prepare for an exam, look over
this problem and ask yourself how you can solve it as quickly as possible. You
may be more comfortable with the concrete approach or with the formal approach;
practice will tell. On an actual exam, you might not have time for a complete
drawing or a complete listing of principles. By working this problem a couple
of times, even after you've gotten the answer once, you will become very
familiar with it. Even better, explain the problem to a friend of yours, and
that way you really will be an expert!

**SAMPLE
PROBLEM #2:**

Again,
this problem is stated and the solution written down as you would work it out
for homework. As in Sample Problem #1, we go through the eight steps of the
general outline.

A one
kilogram block rests on a plane inclined at 27o to the horizontal. The
coefficient of friction between the block and the plane is 0.19. Find the
acceleration of the block down the plane.

1. The problem asks for the
acceleration, not the position of the block nor how long it takes to go down
the plane nor anything else. No mention is made of the difference between
static or kinetic coefficients of friction, so assume they are the same. The mass
is given, but you will eventually find that it doesn't matter what the mass is.
(If the mass had not been given, that would be an indication that it doesn't
matter, but even in that case you may find it easier to assume a value for the
mass in order to guide your thoughts as you do the problem.)

2. Here is the first picture. Note
that the angle is labeled , and the coefficient of friction is labeled . In
addition, the use of m for the mass and **a**|| for the acceleration down the
plane are defined in the picture.

3. There
are two general principles that apply here. The first is Newton's Second Law:

**F** = m **a** ,

where **F** is the net force, a vector, and **a** is acceleration, another vector; the two vectors are
in the same direction. The mass m will eventually be found not to make any
difference, and in that case, you might be tempted to write this law as **a** = **F** / m,
since **a** is what you want to find.
However, the easiest way to remember Newton's Second Law is **F** = m **a**,
and so that is the law to work with.

The
second principle is that the frictional force is proportional to the normal
force (the component of the force on the block due to the plane that is
perpendicular to the plane). The frictional force is along the plane and always
opposes the motion. Since the block is initially at rest but will accelerate
down the plane, the frictional force will be up along the plane. The
coefficient of friction, which is used in this proportionality relation, is .

4. It is now time to draw the second
picture. It helps to redraw the first picture and add information to it. In
this case a vector diagram is drawn and various forces are defined.

Note
that in the vector diagram, the block has been replaced by a dot at the center
of the vectors. The relevant forces are drawn in (all except the net force).
Even the value assumed for the gravitational acceleration has been included.
Some effort has been made to draw them to scale: The normal force is drawn
equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the component of the gravity
force that is perpendicular to the plane. Also, the friction force has been
drawn in parallel to the plane and opposing the motion; it has been drawn in
smaller than the normal force. The angles of the normal and parallel forces
have been carefully drawn in relation to the inclined plane. This sub-drawing
has a title and labels, as all drawings should.

5. We will do this problem using the
formal approach, leaving the concrete method for a check (see below).

6. Now for calculation using the
formal approach, where you work with algebra and symbols rather than with numbers.
First state in words what you are doing, and then write down the equation:

_ Magnitude
of gravity force = weight = m g.

_ Resolve
gravity force into normal component and parallel component whose magnitudes
are:

FG||
= m g sin and FGN = m g
cos .

_ The
magnitude of the normal force due to the plane is equal in magnitude (but the
direction is opposite) to the magnitude of the normal component of the gravity
force:

FN
= m g cos .

_ The
frictional force opposes the motion, and its magnitude is equal to the
coefficient of friction times the normal plane force:

Ff
= m g cos .

_ The
net force (which is along the plane) is the difference between the parallel
component of the gravitational force and the friction force; its magnitude is:

F = m g sin - m g cos .

_ The
acceleration is net force over mass:

a||
= g sin - g cos = g ( sin
- cos ) .

_ The
numerical answer is (given to two significant figures since the given numbers
have two):

a = (9.8 m/s2) (sin 27o - 0.19 cos 27o) = (9.8) (0.454 - 0.19 x 0.891) = 2.79 = 2.8 m/s2 .

7. When you look over this answer to
see if it makes sense, try doing the problem by substituting numbers in at each
step (the concrete approach). The weight of a kilogram, for example is 9.8 N.
The normal (perpendicular to the plane) component of the gravitational force is
9.8 times cos 27o or 8.73 N. This makes sense, for if the angle were
very small, the normal component of the gravitational force would be almost
equal to 9.8 itself. Notice that although the final answer should be given to
two significant figures, you should keep three in these intermediate
calculations.

The
parallel component of the gravitational force is 9.8 sin 27o = 4.45 N. The
normal force due to the plane is equal in magnitude to the gravitational normal
force (but opposite in direction), and so the frictional force is 0.19 times
8.73 or 1.66 N. The net force is down the plane and equal to the difference
4.45 - 1.66 = 2.79 N. Divide this value by 1 kg to get the acceleration 2.79
m/s2
(which is rounded off to 2.8 m/s2).

Again
examine your solution. It says that the block does accelerate down the plane
because the final answer is positive. The acceleration is less than g, again a
reasonable result. Notice that if the angle were more than 27o, then its sine
would be larger and its cosine smaller, so the acceleration would be greater.
If the angle were less than 27o then the opposite would be true, and the
acceleration, as calculated above, could become negative. But a negative value
for acceleration would be wrong, because that would say that the block would
accelerate up the plane because the frictional force dominates, and that is
impossible. Instead, if the calculation had produced a negative value for a,
you would have had to change the solution to a = 0, meaning that the frictional
force was enough to prevent sliding.

8. Now anticipate how you'd do this
problem on an exam. Is the concrete approach faster and easier for you? Or
would you be more comfortable using the formal approach on an exam? It is a
good idea to practice doing this problem when you study for an exam, if you
think a similar problem will be asked.

**Effective
Test Preparation**

If you
have followed an active approach to study similar to the one suggested in this
handout, your preparation for exams will not be overly difficult. If you
haven't been very active in studying, your preparation will be somewhat harder,
but the same principles still apply. Always remember: Physics courses, and
therefore physics exams, involve **problem solving**. Hence, your approach to studying for exams should
stress problem solving.

Here
are some principles:

_ In
the **week prior** to the exam, follow
the three steps below. These steps should give you a reasonably good idea of
what has been stressed and on what you can expect to be tested.

_ Review
your **notes** and recheck the course
outline. Your goal at this point is to make sure you know what has been
emphasized.

_ Reread
your solutions to the **homework** problems.
Remember that these solutions, if complete, will note underlying principles or
laws.

_ Review
the assigned **chapters**. Once again,
your purpose in this early stage of exam preparation is to make sure you know
what topics or principles have been emphasized.

_ From
this rapid overview, generate a list of **themes**, **principles**,
and types of **problems** that you
expect to be covered. If samples of previous exams are available, look them
over, also, but do not assume that only previous types of problems will be
included. It definitely helps to **work with others** at this stage.

_ **Review
actively**. Don't be satisfied with
simple recognition of a principle. Aim for actual knowledge that you will be
able to recall and to use in a test situation. Try to look at all the possible
ways that a principle can be applied. Again, it helps to work with others and
to explain things to others (and have them explain things to you).

For
example: If velocity and acceleration principles have been emphasized in the
course, look over all of your homework problems to see if they illustrate these
principles, even partially. Then if you also can anticipate an emphasis on
friction and inertia, once again review all of your homework problems to see if
they illustrate those principles.

_ Effective
examination preparation involves an **interaction** among homework problems, the classes, your notes and
the text. Review actively, including self-tests in which you create your own
problems which involve a combination of principles. You need to be sure that
you can work problems without referring to your notes or to the textbook.
Practice doing problems using both the concrete and the formal approaches, to
see which you are more comfortable with.

_ Remember
that exams will include a **variety**
of different problems. You want to look back on an exam and say, "I know
how to do friction problems so well, that even though they were asked in a
weird way, I could recognize them and solve them."

** **

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**Weekly
Flow Chart for Studying Physics**

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**Tips**

1. Get to know your professor. Go to
his or her office hours early in the semester and often. Get to know your TAs.
Go to their office hours early in the semester and often. UT Austin has faculty
and graduate students who are among the best in the world; get to know them.

2. As soon as you can, trade names and
phone numbers with at least two classmates. Don't ask the professor what you
missed if you happen to miss class; ask your classmates.

3. Make sure you are enrolled in the
course you think you are enrolled in. Correct any enrollment mistakes as soon
as you can.

4. Read and study your course policy
statement (the first day handout or the syllabus). It is a legal contract!

5. Buy and use an appointment book.

6. Keep a notebook of unfamiliar words
and phrases. Look them up or ask what they mean. Buy and use a good dictionary.

7. If you haven't yet learned to use a
computer, do so. If you don't have a good calculator, which you know how to use
easily, buy one and learn to use it. A particular calculator may be required
for class; be sure you get the right one. Study its manual and practice using
it until you can do so quickly and accurately.

8. Learn to touch-type. If you
hunt-and-peck, you will be at a disadvantage. Learn either through a computer
program or at Austin Community College.

9. Bring two calculators to each exam
or one calculator and extra batteries. Bring your text book to each exam. Bring
extra paper to each exam. Bring two pencils and two pens to each exam. Bring
two blue books if required. Ask which of these you are allowed to use, but of
course don't use the items that aren't allowed.

10.
Go to each and every class
session. Be punctual. Look professional. Don't disturb the class by talking.
But do ask questions!

11.
Exercise at least every
other day.

12.
When you write papers, do so
in at least two editing stages, with a few hours or a day or two between
drafts. Type your papers. When you write up homework problems, do so neatly and
carefully. If possible, ask your professor, TA, or the grader for feedback
before you turn in the final version of an assignment.

13.
Understand that you are
reinventing yourself. You are defining what and who you are for a good many
years to come (you may want to reinvent yourself later, at 30 or 40), so be
careful about how you go about it.

14.
Hang out with the smartest,
most studious people you can find. Watch how they work. Eventually people will
be watching you; help them in developing good study habits.

15.
Take the teacher, not the
course. Shop for the best teachers by asking older students who they are and by
reading the Course/Instructor student evaluations at the UGL's Reserve Desk.
Try to meet prospective teachers before enrollment. Keep a "Best Teachers/Best
Courses" notebook.

16.
Assume responsibility for
your own education. Exercise initiative. Learn to love the whole process of
education, not just the end-product.

17.
Dr. Trimble's seven reasons
for going to college:

_ To
meet a lot of interesting people, some of whom will become lifelong friends.

_ To
gain an enlarged view of an enlarged world.

_ To
learn better how to learn. (Most of what you later learn, you'll teach
yourself.)

_ To
reinvent yourself -- that is, to discover and explore more of yourself than you
normally could at home.

_ To
acquire at least a dilettante's knowledge about a lot of different things,
since being informed beats the hell out of being ignorant.

_ To
learn how to handle adult responsibilities while still enjoying a
semi-protected environment.

_ To identify and explore career options.

*By Ramanathan Jambunathan (Dr.J)*

**Www.academictips.org** mirror.
Original copy is available at http://www.phys.uwosh.edu/jambuna/How%20to%20Study%20Physics