Aug 2, 2016
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So sorry if this has already been posted, this is my first time hanging out here. I'm a rising junior currently taking Physics 2 over the summer at Georgetown University (have not taken physics 1) and I'm consistently doing badly in the class, particularly on the exams - I'm guessing I might come out alive with either a C+ or B-. I really like the concepts, which I understand pretty well (the class by itself is super interesting), but the math and equations portion kills me every time. My GPA at my home school is pretty good, but I'm worried this class won't exactly help me - how much of a problem is getting a bad grade in physics come admission time/do I just need to stop worrying and just enjoy the material as much as I can? Thanks!
 

studentdocftw

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Don't worry, get the best grade you can (preferably B or higher). No adcom is going to look at a C in physics 2 and decide not to interview based solely on one grade in one class. Just do well in your other courses and one blip will be minute.
 
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Saxappeal1

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....wait. You haven't taken Physics 1? How is that possible? And that might explain a few things.
 

Lawper

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I take it you're referring to algebra-based physics? And that physics 2 = E&M? Well yeah it's no surprise physics 2 is tough because you're trying to study something that is best studied using multivariate and vector calculus (and some linear algebra). The fundamental equations of electromagnetism involve vector calculus, and an algebra-based physics course will skip through these equations because they are too complex.

If physics 2 is calculus-based, yeah of course it will be difficult to do well because the concepts are difficult to understand.

You also didn't take physics 1, which is important before diving into physics 2. And you took physics 2 at a different university, so course rigor, professor biases etc vary.

Regarding your concerns, a C is fine. Just ensure your cGPA and sGPA are above a 3.6 and you study well for the physical sciences section on the MCAT (good news: physics is deemphasized).
 
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NimbleNavigator

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Geez I feel you man. That's exactly how I felt about Ochem. I thought it was really interesting but somehow I consistently underperformed. Unfortunately, I don't really have much advice - I just stopped in to commiserate with you a bit.
 
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leonardoson

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I take it you're referring to algebra-based physics? And that physics 2 = E&M? Well yeah it's no surprise physics 2 is tough because you're trying to study something that is best studied using multivariate and vector calculus (and some linear algebra). The fundamental equations of electromagnetism involve vector calculus, and an algebra-based physics course will skip through these equations because they are too complex.

If physics 2 is calculus-based, yeah of course it will be difficult to do well because the concepts are difficult to understand.

You also didn't take physics 1, which is important before diving into physics 2. And you took physics 2 at a different university, so course rigor, professor biases etc vary.

Regarding your concerns, a C is fine. Just ensure your cGPA and sGPA are above a 3.6 and you study well for the physical sciences section on the MCAT (good news: physics is deemphasized).


My favorite part of Second Semester physics. :love::love::love::love::love::love::love:
 
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May 30, 2016
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Yeah algebra based physics 2 is just a memorization and application of specific formula course. Use flash cards. Scenarios w/ formulas you should think of. Also practice the problems. Practice makes perfect.
 
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OP
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Aug 2, 2016
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....wait. You haven't taken Physics 1? How is that possible? And that might explain a few things.
aha yeah unfortunately due to my work and course load schedule, I wouldn't be able to take the second semester of physics within my 4 year plan to graduate - so I had to take it this summer. I've taken calc 1, which was the only prereq for this course. My prof told me I wouldn't need physics 1, which I'm now realizing very quickly was a lie
 
OP
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aha yeah unfortunately due to my work and course load schedule, I wouldn't be able to take the second semester of physics within my 4 year plan to graduate - so I had to take it this summer. I've taken calc 1, which was the only prereq for this course. The physics prof at my home school told me I wouldn't need physics 1, which I'm now realizing very quickly was a lie
 
OP
G
Aug 2, 2016
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I take it you're referring to algebra-based physics? And that physics 2 = E&M? Well yeah it's no surprise physics 2 is tough because you're trying to study something that is best studied using multivariate and vector calculus (and some linear algebra). The fundamental equations of electromagnetism involve vector calculus, and an algebra-based physics course will skip through these equations because they are too complex.

If physics 2 is calculus-based, yeah of course it will be difficult to do well because the concepts are difficult to understand.

You also didn't take physics 1, which is important before diving into physics 2. And you took physics 2 at a different university, so course rigor, professor biases etc vary.

Regarding your concerns, a C is fine. Just ensure your cGPA and sGPA are above a 3.6 and you study well for the physical sciences section on the MCAT (good news: physics is deemphasized).
Yeah, exactly - the class I'm currently taking is a calculus-based, but luckily the prof for this course gives us an integral table and a solid list of formulas, so I've been clinging on to dear life with that. Thanks for your post, this was super helpful - I guess this experience can go down in an essay as a ridiculously humbling experience?
 
May 30, 2016
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You technically only need the energy part of physics one. If you're really getting hurt by it, there are amazing resources all over the internet for basics like that.
 
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Lawper

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Yeah, exactly - the class I'm currently taking is a calculus-based, but luckily the prof for this course gives us an integral table and a solid list of formulas, so I've been clinging on to dear life with that. Thanks for your post, this was super helpful - I guess this experience can go down in an essay as a ridiculously humbling experience?
Eek. Yeah you should have taken physics 1. Calculus-based E&M was brutal for me (i failed a couple of tests with like 54%) but after a lot of struggling, i managed to get the concepts down (except for that evil Biot-Savart law which still doesn't make much sense).

Try in any way possible to get higher than a C so that you can move on without having to retake it. Ideally, a B is good but a B-/C+ is fine. Make sure you can strengthen your GPA by taking easier classes and prioritize stats over calculus.
 
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OP
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Aug 2, 2016
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Eek. Yeah you should have taken physics 1. Calculus-based E&M was brutal for me (i failed a couple of tests with like 54%) but after a lot of struggling, i managed to get the concepts down (except for that evil Biot-Savart law which still doesn't make much sense).

Try in any way possible to get higher than a C so that you can move on without having to retake it. Ideally, a B is good but a B-/C+ is fine. Make sure you can strengthen your GPA by taking easier classes and prioritize stats over calculus.
Aha ok thanks so much! I've been scoring really well on the homework (yay internet) and I'm killing it in lab, so fingers crossed for the B-. Unfortunately I've got organic chem next semester so that could be interesting