Where to Start Building a Good Foundation in Physics

Where to Start Building a Good Foundation in Physics

Physics is the study of matter and its motion through space and time in the pursuit of understanding how the world works. For years, we have relied on physics to explain observable phenomenon all around us, such as Newton’s laws of gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In schools, physics is sometimes referred to as the science subject with a lot of formulas and calculations — while it is true that physics and mathematics are closely related, trying to excel in physics by simply memorising formulas and concepts is an exercise in futility. To achieve good grades and grasp the application of physics concepts when it comes to actual problem solving, you first need to establish a strong foundation in the subject.

Now that we’re clear on that, where do you start?

Improve Your Mathematical Skills

It’s often said that math is the language of physics. While you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to perform physics equations, you do need a certain level of proficiency to complete them. It’s no secret that physics is math intensive — sharpening your math skills will increase your confidence in tackling various formulas, so you can focus on solving the physics aspect of the problem and stop worrying about whether you did the equation correctly.

Understand the Basic Theories

At its core, physics centers around basic theories upon which everything else is developed. Most physics questions test your understanding of one or more of these theories, and how they interact with each other. If you can grasp how equations are derived from these theories, you’ll begin to form a clear picture of how they work and become a better problem solver.

Be Familiar with Physics Constants

There are a lot of constants in physics with values that don’t change regardless of how they are used. For example, gravity on earth is always 9.81 metres/second2 while the speed of light is always 3 x 108 meters/second. Have a table with you and commit the most frequently-used constants to memory so you don’t have to worry about recalling them during an exam!

Be Familiar with Basic Equations

You can’t solve a physics question without equations. Physics uses equations to describe and calculate various forces on an object or in our environment. Basic equations such as “Force = Mass x Acceleration” are the bedrock of which more complex equations are built on. By understanding the basics and knowing them well, you are better equipped to recognise situations where they can be used problems. As a bonus, you will be able to quickly grasp more complex equations because you already have an underlying understanding of what makes them work!

Practice Consistently, and Get Help When Needed

Like all things in life, mastery and skill is achieved through constant practice. It’s better to consistently practice your knowledge of physics for an hour every day rather than trying to cram everything in one sitting. If you’re unsure, seek out classmates who know the subject better than you or your teacher. A different perspective could just be the boost you need to solve a problem.

These techniques, when used together, will help you develop a strong understanding of the basics of physics, which is infinitely useful when learning the subject. If you are struggling in class and would like to catch up, consider lessons under the watchful eye of a physics tutor who can get you up to speed quickly. Here at Physics Academy, we create customised learning plans to deliver effective and memorable lessons to each student.

Find out how our teaching approach can help struggling students quickly develop mastery over the physics curriculum and achieve As. Drop us a message on our Facebook page to find out more.

About The Physics Academy

SINCE 2007:   Founded By Award-Winning Singapore Physics Tutor & Ex-MOE Education Specialist Bryan Lai, the Physics Academy is a Specialised Tutor In Physics Tuition for JC A Level, O Level, IB & IP students.

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