Year 12 Physics: Frequently Asked Questions – A Blog

The HSC, all 13 years gathered into one final moment, the ending of our schooling life.

Physics ultimately deepens our understanding of life as we learn about the nature of how and why things occur. We use physics in our everyday lives, whether you are looking to work in any field, most degrees out there use concepts of physics.

As a physics tutor, I have received many questions from my students asking me how physics applies to the real world, and how to study effectively to achieve a Band 6 in their HSC.  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions physics students ask.

“I’ve read the textbook but still can’t get all the questions correct.”

Physics is one of those subjects that requires extensive research. By the end of my physics course, I was in the same position, I had read the textbook and struggled to correct all the questions. Physics is a subject that goes beyond recalling content and instead focuses on its application in science. 

One of the most effective means through which I drastically improved in the memorisation and application of content is watching youtube videos and completing past paper questions. Refining your skills and developing your content is essential to acing the course, and achieving the marks you want. 

If you still feel as though your content is not up to examination standards, do not hesitate to ask your teachers and tutors for help to ache=ive your desired marks for the subject.

“How can I minimize the time I spend on questions but still maximize my marks?”

  • Recall Formulas: Although you are provided with both a reference sheet and a formula sheet, it proves to be quite useful to have them memorized. This ensures that you avoid losing time flipping back and forth, trying to find the formula. 
  • Practice!!! The more questions you do, the faster you will be. Remember, when answering past paper questions, it is not about the speed you answer the question, but your ability to precisely meet all the requirements.
  • Get accustomed to sitting a three-hour exam, aim to do 2-3 exam papers a week per subject after you have completed your course to maximize your ability to complete it on time. As they say, practice makes perfect!

“I get tired of sitting at my desk all the time.”

When studying for any subject, it is rather daunting to sit for hours on end at your desk. Try to develop healthy study habits where you may study for up to an hour and give yourself a 10-minute break as a reward. This allows you to have a small rest before you get back to studying. When you are studying ensure that there are no distractions, particularly your phone and social media.

Alternatively, if you feel discouraged to study at your desk after an extended period, you may opt for a change of environment. Sit outside, get some fresh air and study. 

You may also choose to implement active recalling. An example of this is, going for a short walk and recalling the content you have learnt. It is recalling not learning and memorising new content.

“I am struggling to answer the questions correctly on my own”

It is not the process of doing the question that you must understand; it is why. If you are struggling to complete questions on your own, do not feel discouraged, with time, and immense amounts of practice, you will become familiar with all the questions and how to answer them. 

Your first step should always be to break down the question into components, allocate marks and understand what the question’s verb is asking of you. After breaking down the question, attempt an answer for the parts you know, and refer back to your notes for the sections you have left out. Eventually, with time, you will be able to answer these questions and achieve a band 6.  

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” –  Aristotle.

“What is the best way to study for Physics?”

If your school teaches from one specific textbook, I would advise you to form the fundamentals of your notes from this textbook. These notes should consist of the theory learnt as well as the practical investigations conducted in class. A common misconception among students for science subjects is that the investigations and experiments are not examinable. However, they form the basis of many questions in your topic tests, trials and HSC. 

To achieve the best marks, it is vital to make yourself familiar with other textbooks. Read through other books if a concept is not entirely understood as other resources may have worded it more understandably. 

Moreover, diagrams are crucial to your notes! Many questions in physics will require you to construct diagrams to explain a concept. Diagrams and the use of colour are the best way for visual learners to memorise and understand the content.

“How do I test my knowledge and if I have memorized content properly?”

There are a few methods to test yourself on whether you have memorised the content. 

  • Recall content: using your syllabus, concept by concept, aim to recall content without looking back at your notes. You may choose to do so by writing this information down or by recalling it verbally (it comes down to which method you most prefer and find effective).
  • Apply your knowledge: as mentioned before, the most effective means to test whether your content is perfect is answering past paper questions. Many of the questions you will come across, particularly in physics are skills and application-based rather than a mere recollection of content learnt. Remember, it is not enough to just answer the questions. Mark your answers independently based on the sample answers given and the marking criteria. This allows you to expose yourself to band six responses which you can mimic in your writing. 

I hope you have found this FAQ useful. If you are struggling with physics or are looking to refine your skills, contact The Thinking Cap Tutoring Centre for your educational needs.

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