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Thread: Tips: Studying for Physics

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    Lightbulb Tips: Studying for Physics

    This is my guide to how to study for physics; as is as follows:

    General Stuff

    Syllabus - I don't know how important the syllabus is, it is probably the most central document towards your study in biology. Given by the BOS, this document dictates what the biology course is all about. You need to know your syllabus Hell, I am serious. Know it inside out, back to front. I cannot stress how important this is, as there is lotsa stuff in there. My teacher used to ask me; "Is this in the syllabus?"; cuz she didn't know if it was in it or not. Knowing the syllabus will save you lots of time, and you will know exactly what the outcomes are, and where they are. Knowing where in the syllabus helps, believe me

    Don't do your homework - Yep, thats right, don't do your homework, IF, and only IF it isn't relevant. One of my teachers set homework/mini-assignments that had nothing to do with the course. What a waste of time if you actually did them, when you could be studying stuff thats in the course. Of course, if there are severe penalties; just do a dodgy job of it and hand it in

    Assessments - assessments are extremely important. They determine your rank within your school. Some people like to put it like this; when doing assessments, you are competing with your school. When you sit the real HSC exam, your competing against the state. Thus, the ranks derived straight from your assessment marks will make a large difference. Go to the UAI section of these forums for more information about scaling etc. One word of warning, biology has not scaled as well as chemistry and physics over the last few years, and to be able to take advantage of the scaling, you are going to need to push yourself past a certain point, because if you are in the bottom end of the scale, scaling won't help you much, and especially if your school isn't good; your assesment marks will probably get scaled down. Feel free to contradict me on this. One more thing about assessments- feel free to go overboard on the ouctomes that should be covered in the taks. However, again, don't waffle, be precise and use the terminology required, this shows that you know what they mean. Because these assessments determine your ranks, don't leave them till the last minute, and do your best.

    Practicals- babydoll has already covered this above, but I'll add to it. As babydoll mentioned, you gotta get the format of your practicals right ie. Aim, Equipment, Method, Results, Discussion, Conclusion. Most of that is self explanatory; but perhaps the discussion is a little tricky. The discussion section is used to... discuss your results, and relate your results to your conclusion. Also in the discussion you need to discuss factors such as accuracy, sources of error, improvements to method, safety etc. Make sure you answer the outcome, or the "dot point" that the practical is related to; and never forget your pracs, you can be tested on them; it has happened before.

    Practice Questions I really recommend doing the entire Success One book (I did the entire series; phys chem and bio lol). It is an invaluable experience, and it doesn't take long to do. Doing the entire book, yes every single question will help you heaps. It only took me around 8 hours (or one day) to complete the whole book. While the question may start to get boring and repetitive, this is exactly the point. By the time I finished the book, I could tackle every (well, almost) question available. Doing the book will also help you identify your weaknesses, find out which areas you need more work on, and to conosolidate your knowledge.

    Not only should you do the Sucess One book; you should get your hands on as many trial papers as you can. This site is a great place to start for trial papers. Doing these trial papers will help you understand how to "attack" the real HSC. Success One should have the STANSW Trials from the previous years; and generally speaking, they are quite good. Once you get the past trial papers; just sit down and do them. Whether or not you do them in 3hour blocks as if they were the real thing is up to you. Personally, I did one question and then bummed around for a while.

    Prescribed Focus Areas - You may not have ever heard of this before. Well, you may as well learn it now. Prescribed Focus Areas can be found in the first section of the syllabus. See? Knowing the syllabus is important. This is where you can earn your marks. Besides covering all the knowledge outcomes, the prescribed focus areas are generally used in the longer answer question; those consisting of approximately 6-8 marks. The prescribed focus areas are as follows:

    - the history of physics(H1 evaluates how major advances in scientific understanding and technology have changed the direction or nature of scientific thinking)
    - the nature and practice of physics(H2 analyses the ways in which models, theories and laws in physicshave been tested and validated)
    - applications and uses of (H3 assesses the impact of particular advances in physics on the development of technologies)
    - implications of physicsfor society and the environment (H4 asesses the impacts of applications of biology on society and the environment
    - current issues, research and developments in physics(H5 identifies possible future directions of biological research)

    The thing in the bracket basically explains what the prescribed focus area is all about, and I've quoted the HSC outcome; which is slightly different to the Preliminary Outcomes. Basically, thats all the boardofstudies crap which you might as well familiarise yourself with; as this is also tested alongside the knowledge outcomes. I might also add that the knowledge outcomes tend to be much easier and simpler than these ones; hence the number of marks these types of questions are worth

    Glossary - Yep, like I said, know the syllabus. Many people in the lower bands; wouldn't know the difference between the key verbs in the syllabus. Examples of these include, "assess", "describe", "evaluate" etc. Go to the boardofstudies website, and grab the glossary. It's only a few pages long, but it contains lots of information, it describes exactly what they mean when they use those verbs, in the syllabus, and probably more importantly, in the HSC exam itself. By the way, I believe that this glossary is universal for all HSC subjects. Anyway, again practice is essential. You need to know exactly how to answer these questions. I suggest you get some templates if you have no idea on how to approach these. I have a set on my website (just go to the HSC Stuff page). Practice, do some questions, and soon you will know exactly what to write when it comes to those trickier "assess" questions. Knowing how to do the long answer questions is the difference between band 5 and band 6.

    Examplars - These are relased by the boardofstudies. If you can get a copy, get it! Apparently it's illegal to print them, and you shouldn't really need to print them anyway. They are there for you to read over, and see how other HSC students have answered the questions. You will see that many of the band 6 examplars are succint, to the point, and don't waffle, as babydoll mentioned. (Also something interesting to note is the handwriting , some of them are barely readable, but the markers have to read it)

    Background Knowledge - most of your background knowledge stems directly from your studies during the Prelim course. For those of you who mucked about in Year 11, maybe it's time you got down and study; because if you understand the key concepts from Prelim, it will make some sections of Biology easier to understand and comprehend. I also suggest reading your textbooks, as that will also give you lots of knowledge. Although I have been stressing to stick to the outcomes, often it will require some other background knowledge. However, don't confuse yourself, for example learning many examples for a certain concept, and then later linking it to something else.

    Knowledge Outcomes - these are the "dot points" of the syllabus. It's extremely important to cover each single one; as you never know what the HSC exam could cover. If its in the syllabus, learn it; its that simple. Generally, the third column covers pracs and investigations, while the second column is the stuff that you need to learn.

    HSC Ouctomes - know that I've used the word outcomes so many times, I might use it some more. There's not much to say about the HSC outcomes; but sometimes you need to look them up for assessments; mind you, they differ from the Preliminary outcomes. Again, they are found at the begninning of the syllabus, and you need to know what you need to be able to achieve

    Summaries - for your summaries; or "study notes" it is good to set them out in a clear format that you are familiar with. For starters on study notes; I suggest that you look through the forums; other people have posted theirs up for you. I have done so; and they can be found at my website . Make sure you cover every dot point. I've written a short guide about writing summaries, which can be viewed here

    Most of the above tips relate directly to the way the BOS decides to structure the syllabus and the entire course; you just have to live with it. I guess that ends my "short" guide lol, good luck for physics everyone
    Last edited by t-i-m-m-y; 21 Mar 2005 at 11:10 AM.
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    ReSpEcTeD Dash's Avatar
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    Just adding to that, here are some very important tips you should consider when making your notes:
    • Make sure they are structured, organised and NEAT! Your brain will respond better to the info that way.
    • Redo your study notes ONLY to test yourself and to revise what you've learnt.
    • Write study notes every time you have finished a topic. This will reinforce the knowledge you have already gained and will save you time come exam time. It'll also allow you to update and improve your study notes close to exam time.
    • Use bullet points and abbreviations (key phrases) rather than long sentences and paragraphs. Its easier to learn key ideas rather than whole paragraphs.
    • Put information in your own words so that you're studying the same time your doing your notes. Do not copy straight from a textbook!
    • Gather all texts you wish to use for your summary before hand and try to use only them. By getting too many resources you can easily get overwhelmed by the mass information that you have to digest.
    • Highlight, underline or box key information.
    • Make sure you leave room when writing notes so that you can add information as you pick up more valuable information.
    • Include examples of calculations in your notes if possible or if required.
    • Also, try to write down your notes on A4 paper rather than a note book so that adding more information will be easier.
    • Lastly, try to complete your notes as soon as possible! The advantages are priceless. Dedicating approximately 2 or 3 hours on weekends to update study notes is enough.
    Obviously, these techniques do not only apply to Physics notes, but for all subjects...
    Last edited by Dash; 28 Jan 2004 at 5:08 PM.
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    Juno 15/4/08 :) MuffinMan's Avatar
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As you know, the physics, chemistry and biology subjects are arranged in dot points. As your teacher is giving you notes, making you write them out, whatever, it is a good idea to write on a separate book a SYLLABUS SUMMARY. It does help alot. Read the teachers/textbooks notes and summarise them in your own words (i.e. dont copy word for word). Do this for every non-practical dot-point

    As for practicals, it is extremely important to keep your practical book up to date. Anything you have done practically in the topics assessed can be asked in your exam. Write the dot points before you start writing your practicals as this helps you to relate the practicals to the dot points.

    The idea of the syllabus summary is summarised notes (which you will understand) which should be read as a study guide for your exam. Hence you will not need to flip pages on the textbook to find each dot point as it is in order, hence you should feel more organised and confindent. For the HSC I also recommend concept cards - i.e. cards that contain the most important facts of each module - good idea to read just before an exam

    Hope this helps Feel free to add any more ideas to this thread

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    as a '04 physics student i recommend to you all summarising the syllabus, or at least writing up notes based on the syllabus, and doing lots of past papers, there is a text book out called Success One Physics or something, best book ever. especially since the science hsc exams are based entirely off the syllabus!
    Year 12 Class of 2004
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    cbff... Michaelmoo's Avatar
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    Re: Studying for Physics

    Wow, the entire book in 8 hours? Theres like eight three hour exams in there. How'd you manage to get 24 hours of work done in eight?

    I guess on a rough finish, you could get each paper done in an hour. But itd have to be dot pointing the main ideas. Full answers would take much longer.
    Last edited by Michaelmoo; 5 May 2009 at 8:57 PM.

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    Re: Tips: Studying for Physics

    Fuarrrr... Man, so helpful, thanks
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    Re: Tips: Studying for Physics

    Quote Originally Posted by angrycookies View Post
    fuarrrr... Man, so helpful, thanks
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    Magniloquent Member strawberrye's Avatar
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    Re: Tips: Studying for Physics

    Some very comprehensive advice

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