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Underperforming on midterms/finals

random12478(*random12478(* 5 replies1 threads New Member
Hey everyone, pre-engineering sophomore here. Just got my 2nd midterm scores back for physics 122 and it feels like I could have done so much better. I have never ever gotten higher than like 1 point above average on midterms in the physics series and I don't know why. I put in the work, stay on top of everything, feel like I understand all the concepts well and ask others/ TA's for help if I don't, but come test time, I feel okay at the beginning, then I just get hung up on a couple of complicated problems during the beginning of the test and get a little nervous and start forgetting stuff and making stupid mistakes.

Was just wondering if anyone has any advice on taking these physics tests because I'm starting to get really annoyed with the physics series in general. Normally, I would have just moved on by now and try to learn from my mistakes, but this is like the 5th time it's happened and it's really frustrating, especially since all the engineering majors like to see good physics grades.
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Replies to: Underperforming on midterms/finals

  • random12478(*random12478(* 5 replies1 threads New Member
    or maybe what you do to study, I think I'm not retaining the material well enough to apply it to other questions. Right now to study, I just try to do as many practice problems as I can, maybe that's not the best approach?
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 threads Senior Member
    That's a decent approach if you're also figuring out what you get wrong and why, and applying that knowledge to the next problem.

    During tests I sometimes do the easy problems first. If I'm getting stuck on something, I can come back to it later, after I've done all the ones I'm sure of.
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  • random12478(*random12478(* 5 replies1 threads New Member
    yeah I try to skip the hard ones that I come across, but it always bothers me when I do that for some reason, like lowers my confidence a little and I get nervous. Guess I'll just study harder, thanks for the reply!
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3600 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Practice problems are not a bad strategy. Do you review how well your choice of practice problems matches what is the test afterwards?

    Skipping around shouldn't make you feel bad. If you spend too much time on any one problem, it hurts your score on later problems. Even if you know the material better for the later problem, you're rushed.

    If you know for sure a particular type of question is coming, really prep well for that question for accuracy and speed. Pick up those quick points first and that will leave you more time to work on the harder problems.
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  • random12478(*random12478(* 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Yeah, the tests I've had so far are not really calculation heavy, but actually relatively simple if you know the material really well and can apply it and find shortcuts. For the type of questions, on midterms there is usually a big emphasis on one topic and then a couple problems on other topics. On the final, not sure, probably more evenly spread.

    For skipping around, how long do you spend thinking about one problem before moving on? I feel like I have problems knowing when to give up, like I'm almost to the answer and end up spending another 10 minutes on it.
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3600 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Survey the test - if there are seven problems and 50 minutes that's seven minutes a problem.
    Survey your progress - somewhere in that 10 minutes of "almost there" time you stopped making progress but didn't realize it.

    Does your professor release old tests? Doing timed practice tests might help you.
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