I got my test (that I took yesterday) back today. He told us its basically the hardest test in introductory physics. But that really didn't make me feel any better. What I find funny is that I was going over the problems in my head all yesterday and today, and I knew exactly how to do them. I actually started doing them on a scratch piece of paper before I got my test back. So, it's not like I don't know how to do the problems. We do online homework, and I finish it all with ease for the most part without asking for any help (I've gotten 100% on all the assignments so far). The daily quizzes in class make sense to me, and I get full credit a majority of the time. I ended up getting a 42/100 on the test. He scaled it, though, but it wasn't much better. I got a 48% after the curve. Class average was 59%, the median was 55%. The test was over electric charge, electric fields, electric flux, gauss's law, electric potential and capacitors. I think I may just be a bad test taker... only in my physics class. Heh. All my other classes are fine. Quite easy for the most part. Its this one class where I get all nervous and freeze up during the test. Last semester, my exam grades were 86%, 64% (had the flu), 82%, 84%. I managed a 107% on the semester final, because he told the class the questions were going to be more in number but easier. So I relaxed a bit. It sounds like you have the same problem that many of my students do. My first advice is to give yourself "practice tests" with the homework problems, or with other problems from the book. Once you feel you've learned the material, pick a set of problems and try to solve them without using your book/notes (and whatever else you can't use on the exam). Physics is a type of class that is way different from most subjects. It is not enough to simply look over the homeworks and see if you understand the solutions. You MUST actually be sure that you are able to do independent problem solving. The other bit of advice I will give you is to always write as much as you know about a problem if it is giving you trouble. For example, if you see this problem on a test: "You fall off of a 6 meter tall roof and bend your knees as you land. While bending your knees, your center of mass moves a distance of 30 cm. If your mass is 80 kg, find the force that each leg experienced." Now, physics is NOT a subject where you look at the problem and can say "I don't get this problem." Even if you looked at the above problem and had no idea how you are going to get to the final solution, you can probably still figure it out if you just write down absolutely everything you know about the problem. So, for example, if I was totally stuck on that example, I would first write down stuff I know about energy. I would write down potential energy and kinetic energy. I would then write down F=ma, because I see the word "force" and I know I must find force. Well, then I also know that F=dp/dt, so I would write that down. After I get all this stuff written down, it seems that what I might have to do is find his velocity right before he hits the ground and find the time that it took him to stop. So I write down some equations that involve time. v^2=2ax and v=at. Now I would have all the stuff I need to solve a problem. Physics is NOT a field where you are going to get to the exam and look at the problems and be able to instantly say "I can do this one" and "I can't do this one". You must approach each problem with a determination in solving the problem. Write down every equation you know that contains some of the important physical parameters of the problem. Draw a picture. Draw a free body diagram. Make sure that you are getting your hands dirty, or else you're not really doing physics. If you continue into upper level physics, this will be even more important. I remember in my statistical mechanics class we were actually asked to DERIVE FORMULAS on the test, for things we have never seen before. Physics is probably the only class you have ever taken that is actually testing you understanding of information rather than your memorization of information. Also, yes, the electricity and magnetism section of Physics 2 is really really difficult. You will be getting into optics and circuits later, though. These are probably the easiest things in physics if you have a good professor. Keep your chin up and stick with the field. It is very difficult. I got a C in physics 2, which devastated me...but then by my senior year I was making As in my upper level classes that were much much more difficult. You'll find your stride. I guess that is a really efficient means of going about a problem. That seems to be what my professor does when he approaches a problem: he just picks the appropriate equations according to the information he has (and he draws a lot of pictures). But it always amazes me how much intuition you need to approach some of the problems. Just today, my professor helped me with a problem that I had no idea how to set up (was an integral, and I wasn't sure how to write it in terms of a certain variable). He ended up showing me that I just needed to put the whole figure on a coordinate system and use a line. I honestly would have never thought of that. Anyway, I think you're right about 'understanding' versus 'memorization'. It seems like high school was just a lot of memorizing things (in classes where it wasn't, ie physics, the teachers didn't really end up teaching much at all because everyone in the class simply wouldn't pay attention). It explains why I am still doing well in history and religion in university. I think you helped a lot. It's good to know why I am struggling. Like you said, if I stick with it, I'll most likely be able to pull through. I noticed that, too. Heh. No, I am attending university right now. Just a note (I hope I don't sound like this thread is all about me, because it's not, its for everyone), I'm going to be gone for the week, but I'll check in again after I get back. Thanks everyone.