A lot of students are confused about how to study for HSC physics, as the strategy to learn is usually not taught at school. In this blog post we will go through the various techniques and strategies you should employ to achieve the best marks possible.
Learning and Understanding Concepts
Physics is a conceptually demanding subject that requires a deep understanding of various topics, ranging from electromagnetism to time dilation, most sections of the syllabus need to be understood rather than memorised. One of the most effective ways to learn concepts that require spatial thinking in different planes is through visual aid, especially videos and animations. For example, time dilation may be a hard concept to wrap your head around, but after watching videos and animations on YouTube, things will start to make a lot of sense. It is also helpful to watch videos of practicals and experiments that are relevant to the Physics Syllabus. As you go along these videos, make notes of things that you may forget later on.
Making notes for Physics is a different process compared to making notes for other subjects. As Physics is more conceptual and demands problem solving it is important that you are able to incorporate these elements into your notes. The first step is to write the syllabus points as the title e.g., 5.3.3 predict quantitatively the orbital properties of planets and satellites in a variety of situations,
including near the Earth and geostationary orbits and relate these to their uses. Then write the notes for the specific syllabus point underneath and repeat for all the syllabus points. Make sure you have plenty of diagrams that are relevant to the topic as it will increase your understanding of the content.
It is also helpful to write down all the formulas and their uses on a separate sheet. You can also write down derivations of formulas that are not on the formula sheet e.g. Escape Velocity Formula.
Applying the Concepts to Questions
No matter how many videos and notes you read, attempting and solving questions is the most effective way to memorise and learn the content. Start with having your notes and formulas in front for reference as you do questions, then as you get more confident, do the questions without any assistance. As you do questions, tick off which syllabus points they target, this will allow you to know what bits of the syllabus you haven’t practiced. Try to be consistent with how many questions you do per week, doing a load of questions once a month will just overwhelm you. Start with the simple example questions in the textbook and ones from school, then as you grow confidence, move to past papers and harder questions. Don’t forget to mark the questions as you go and if you get a question wrong then understand the solution and attempt a similar question again to make sure you know how to answer it.
Preparing For Exams
The most effective strategy to prepare for exams is to do past papers and practice papers from different places. Therefore, it is important to accumulate as many resources as you can through years 11 and 12. It is important that you learn and understand the content throughout the year so you can focus on doing practice exams in last few weeks before your trials and HSC. It is as important to mark your answers, making sure you understand the feedback and marking guidelines.