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Recommended Practices for Succeeding in 12X
- Study in groups. Make friends who are also taking 12X or at least form alliances. Working together is a great way to learn more and work through problems. Both asking and answering questions are very helpful for learning so it doesn’t matter which role you’re in— either one is to everyone’s benefit!
- Go to the study center. (The study center is located on the lower level of the Physics Astronomy Auditorium building. Go down the stairs to the right of the Foucault Pendulum and straight down the hall to Rm. AM018) Graduate students and professors are on call in the Study Center to help you with questions about physics M-F 9:30-4:30. Take advantage of this low stakes way to get free tutoring! Ideally you should make a time in your academic weekly schedule when you always attend the study center (treat it like another class commitment). It will save you a lot of time in the end because you will understand things faster and do your homework in less time.
- Meet with the Professor. Go to office hours. One on one discussion of the concepts and simply hearing an explanation a second time or in another way is extremely helpful in grasping the material. Most physics ideas don’t make sense to most people until they’ve heard them more than once!
- Get help early. No matter what techniques you’re using to get help (study center, work groups, office hours, all of the above) try not to let confusion on a topic accumulate. Understanding the foundation is important for understanding what comes next.
- Don’t overly focus on your grade. Most people (future physics majors included) perform lower than they are used to on 12x exams. This is totally normal. The tests are designed so that the vast majority of people won’t get perfect scores. Aim for personal improvement over some abstract grade. Also, post-midterms is a great time to either go to the study center or offices hours and work through what you missed on the exam. When it shows up on the final exam you’ll pick up a lot of extra points.
- Read the textbook before lecture. Read the relevant text sections and/or do the relevant FlipIt Physics exercises for your class. This is an easy way to reinforce your learning. Hearing a concept you’ve already introduced yourself to once is a lot more useful than trying to listen to a description of a totally new topic.