If you are studying Physics, here are five tips on how to score well in your exams and tests:
#1 Read the units for measurements correctly
Read the units carefully and convert them to the correct base units whenever necessary. For example, whenever a physical quantity is substituted into a formula, it should be converted into its base unit (eg: 5 km = 5000 m). This ensures the teachers know that you understand the question fully. Students sometimes miss out this step and lose marks.
Remember to write the correct units of an answer. It’s often observed that students leave the final portion of a calculation without mentioning the correct units. Just a number without a unit makes no sense in Physics. It shows that the student is either not mindful of the importance of using the correct units, or that they do not fully understand the concept of the question, even if the numbers in the answer are correct. It can make the difference between scoring an ‘A’ grade or a ‘B’ grade.
#2 Utilize the entire graph sheet
Utilize the entire graph sheet when drawing a graph. A part of Physics is the ability to plot down values and compare them based on other values that increase linearly (units such as time, temperature, and gravitational strength). Students are marked on their ability to draw graphs which accurately illustrate points of comparison between the different values.
It is important to choose a proper and relevant scale on the X and Y axes so that the points plotted in the graph are spread across the entire sheet. This ensures that a more accurate best fit curve can then be drawn. Students will often overlook this point and end up losing marks for drawing a relatively small graph, even if their calculations from the graph are correct.
#3 Memorise definitions
There are many questions in Physics which require students to understand and write down the proper definitions using relevant scientific terms. In certain cases where there may be alternative ways of expressing a concept, it is imperative to use the correct terminology when writing down your definition.
Use of alternative words and rewriting a definition without the specific terms of the set definition will lead to lost marks. Teachers are not looking for creative writing, but rather a student’s ability to remember specific quotes or definitions.
You can minimize the chances of being marked down by simply remembering the key words and phrases and then practising them in and out of class. This will help you to get maximum marks for any definition based question.
#4 Write down the formulas
Write down the formulas you are likely to need when writing an answer. A subject like Physics requires students to understand and use many formulas when answering a question or providing a solution to a set scenario. Students will often forget to write the formulas used to analyze or logically evaluate a scenario.
Writing the correct formulas will not only help you to get more marks but it also saves time when explaining something. This is because examiners want to assess how well you understand a concept. By writing down the correct formulas even if the final answer may not be correct, you will still receive marks for partial competence with regards to the set scenario.
#5 Show the workings of calculations
Students must show all the required working, including the use of appropriate formulas, conditions and conclusions in order to obtain the full allocation of marks for a given question. Some students do not get rewarded with the full marks for a question even though their final answer is correct because certain steps required to derive the answer are missing.
Double check your calculations in an exam, so that any mistakes that you may have made when tackling a scenario can be identified and then corrected. Students should also ensure that they do not spend too much time on one question, so that they will have adequate time to check through their answers to ensure that careless mistakes are spotted and corrected.