Physics is among the most mathematical topics, excluding mathematics and statistics. Most students find physics more challenging than, for example, chemistry or biology.
The common notion is that more girls than males find this topic challenging. It is remarkable considering about equal numbers of male and female physics instructors in academia. So, what is it about Physics that makes it a ‘difficult’ subject?
The following ideas are derived from my teaching experience. Biology needs the memory of information. Although there is a great deal to explain and comprehend, students typically discover that they may succeed in biology by memorizing.
At least in the advanced secondary curriculum, there are virtually no computations, graphs, or numerical problems to answer. Again, memory plays a vital part in chemistry, but to a lesser extent than biology.
One must comprehend chemical equations, the structure of electrons, etc., although many students find chemistry “manageable.”
Even mathematics may be simpler, as memorizing is often ineffective. If you know how to solve a certain sort of issue, extensive practice (‘drill’) assures that you will perform well in arithmetic.
What then occurs in Physics? Here are a few reasons why physics is not very well-liked:
- Conceptually more rigorous.
- Every notion or issue requires many levels of thought.
- The outcomes of experiments must be linked with theoretical values.
- Calculations of results incorrect
- Handle multiple units of physical quantities
- Displaying numerical and graphical findings
- The analysis of graphs
- Number tables, such as trigonometric and logarithmic tables
- Understanding physics laboratory equipment and concepts such as least count, zero error, precision, sensitivity, etc.
- Provide justifications that correspond to real, actual observations.
- Keep in mind terminology and laws.
- Too numerous formulae to master
- Too much theory, including laws, hand rules, considering quantities as vectors or scalars, and dealing with non-‘obvious’ ideas.
- Transfer between graphical and numerical representations and vice versa
- Physics is not only about physics; you must also utilize algebra, geometry, and calculus; thus, you must be competent in these areas.
- Some physics disciplines, such as quantum mechanics and atomic physics, are abstract and difficult for students to relate to instantly.
- Physics is taught more quickly than languages and social sciences.
- Physics might require that you begin with a particular outcome and develop broader laws.
- Not reading the book or doing the activities makes knowledge very difficult.
Frequently, the numerical problems that are answered are of the substitution kind, such as F = ma, given F and M, determine a. Students are made to assume that such computations are required in physics.
We know this to be false. The most difficult difficulties are never addressed, and the more difficult topics are preserved as “options,” although they are the areas that require more study.
The fundamentals of drawing and comprehending graphs and mathematics are frequently inadequate.
While a student may understand how to calculate a derivative, she may not know the relationship between derivative –> slope –> velocity, area under a curve – integral, etc.
This challenge occurs because the mathematics instructor may not be required to present calculus applications to other disciplines. Yet, the physics instructor expects (sometimes) the mathematics instructor to discuss these interrelationships.
There is a possibility that physics is not being taught as it should be. It would not be the kids’ fault.
But the student continues to struggle. Unfortunately, these beliefs are seldom addressed, despite several studies indicating that pupils hold several misconceptions.
The laws of physics are cumulative. If you did not comprehend the fundamental principles but passed your tests, this deficit will become apparent as you continue to study physics.
Therefore, you cannot neglect fundamentals. Competitive examinations assess not just textbook knowledge but also application skills.
You can only address application-oriented issues if you have a firm grasp of the foundations and hone your mathematics, graphs, interpretation, and logic abilities. Once you understand why a topic looks tough, you may attempt to make it simple, fascinating, and beneficial.
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