Recommendations on how to do physics homework

Prof. Ernest Barreto

Department of Physics & Astronomy

George Mason University

Doing physics problems develops several very important and useful skills that will help you way beyond your physics education. Most importantly, these include organizing your thinking and communicating your results. These are skills that are acquired only by practice. And lots of it! Below are recommendations for how to do physics homework. Some suggestions will be more relevant than others depending on the specific problem being considered.

Very important: If you are confused about a particular topic, you will probably find that it is difficult to formulate a question to ask. Formulating a good question is 95% of learning physics! The best way to learn is to discuss physics with other people. Talk to your classmates, and do not be afraid to seek help from the professor or the tutor just because you don’t have a specific question. Simply discussing things will help.

It is very common for students to find physics problems to be hard, and then very suddenly, when you make a conceptual breakthrough, they become easy. Strive for this experience and don't give up.

General Recommendations

Specific Recommendations (these will be useful later on in the semester)