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# Struggling with Mechanics Watch

1. So I'm doing Maths and further maths at A2. For the applied units, we're doing M1, M2 and S2. I'm doing fine in the pure units (C3, C4 and FP2) and getting A*s but I just can't seem to get my head around mechanics. I get the theory when working through the booklets in class but I struggle whenever we do mock exams. Some of the questions really confuse me. I was just wondering if someone could offer some advice or some good resources? I'm with AQA.
2. Have you tried examsolutions mechanics section
3. Coming from what could probably be described as the worst secondary school ever existed (no longer does), I was kicked off of GCSE Science for reasons unfathomable and came across mechanics at A-Level and initially felt the same. What I realised was, as opposed to pure mathematics, where beauty is taken in the 'soundness' of the mathematical rigour itself, applied fields, even from a mathematical perspective should never sacrifice the reasoning subject to the field it is being applied to. With pure, even if we do not hold the understanding initially, we can attempt exam questions and learn the necessary rules of mathematics on application, however within an applied field such as mechanics, the universality is not held constant. For example, you may be looking at two questions both on pulley systems, or particle collision and though the concepts should be the same, the scenario in which they are presented means you may get 1 question right and 1 wrong. This is because you must think about the laws of physics and how this affects the system you are observing. A good exercise which helped me appreciate and grow to love mechanics is thought exercises. Sit down and think about basic mechanics, such as F=ma, and how this simple equation can be applied. Is it absolute? does it give approximation to otherwise very difficult questions but are good enough to accept.

I'm going to attempt to open your mind with a very 'sketchy' example. Lets take a boxer throwing a punch, in the most simplistic sense, we can model the force of that punch, by the mass of the boxers arm, and the acceleration in the punch thrown (F=MA). Now this is very simple, this could be seen as an introductory question into mechanics, but then when one allows his mind to wonder and think about the boxer himself and the physics involved, instead of just the variable given, a lot more can be deduced about it in a real world environment. Okay, so the boxer isn't just an arm, power generated also comes from muscles attached at the shoulder and chest, momentum generated from the legs up due to a stance or change of position to impulse, all basic things to be considered. Then one can delve really deep into advanced matters such as wind resistance, drag and lift. What you must realise is that each question you are being asked is a system, and in some cases the system is isolated and case specific. Perhaps the same boxer threw the same punch in the direction wind was blowing, this would ultimately affect everything, and this is how you are required to think in an exam style format; intuitively.

If your pure mathematics is A* level, your mathematical skill is not in question, but rather you haven't trained yourself to think intuitively about the physics and this should be your course of action to ace mechanics, sadly sometimes practising exam papers just to pass is more debilitating than just learning for the sake of understanding.

BSc Mathematics/MSc Applied Mathematics
4. Drawings help loads. If you do the questions atm without drawing something as you read the question then start getting into the practice of it, most questions are impossible otherwise

EDIT: And if you haven't already, as said above,use Exam Solutions

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Updated: April 13, 2016
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