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I find it hard to apply concepts in exams and practicals in A Level Physics

in September i will be in the 2nd year for a-level.
I understand the concepts in lessons.
but when I need to apply it in practice questions, exams and practicals, i find it hard to apply the concepts.

I'm aiming for a A. I got E in the mock exam cuz I don't know how to apply the concepts.
I tried to do past paper questions, but still I find it hard to apply the concepts.

In lessons, the teacher only taught us the information (concepts) we need and then give us some questions but didn't taught us how to apply the information we just learnt to the questions. so I find it hard to do the questions.

At home, every time I do practice questions, I have to look through the textbook to find what the question is talking about so I can apply the relevant concepts (not from the textbook, because I know the concepts) to the question.

I find it easy to apply concepts to practice questions, exams and practicals in GCSEs but not in A-Level

I hope to do a mechanical engineering course at uni, so physics play a big role.

what can I do to make applying information/concepts easier?
am I doing it wrong by doing past papers and practice questions?
(edited 1 year ago)
Hey

So I'm also entering the second year of my A levels and I have taken physics, I did end up getting an A for As levels.

Here's what you could give a try

1. read and fully understand the textbook content (if u dont understand the content do not go to the questions, instted i would advice to go to this youtube channel called 'ETphysics' though the content is for CIE physics, it explains the concepts very well and with ease.

2. you should try and attempt the textbook questions before u do the past papers as the textbook questions tend to be easier and have direct application of the concepts.

3. try some multiple choice questions before theory, this helps to make sure that u understand the fundamental concepts

4. go over your notes 'actively', so for example instead of reading your notes, do a few questions on the topic and try to summarize the content

5. know your definitions, even though they don't carry many marks, its highly important to know them to even understand the theory questions.

6. keep revising the older topics, as you are going to A2 level, I would recommend to go over all of the AS content and to do the As-level questions before the A2 content in order to understand and have a solid foundation.

anyways, I hope this helps!
If I am not mistaken, there may be some videos on YouTube where a tutor answers some A-level Physics past year paper questions. You might want to check that out.
Original post by Khushi123tri
Hey

So I'm also entering the second year of my A levels and I have taken physics, I did end up getting an A for As levels.

Here's what you could give a try

1. read and fully understand the textbook content (if u dont understand the content do not go to the questions, instted i would advice to go to this youtube channel called 'ETphysics' though the content is for CIE physics, it explains the concepts very well and with ease.

2. you should try and attempt the textbook questions before u do the past papers as the textbook questions tend to be easier and have direct application of the concepts.

3. try some multiple choice questions before theory, this helps to make sure that u understand the fundamental concepts

4. go over your notes 'actively', so for example instead of reading your notes, do a few questions on the topic and try to summarize the content

5. know your definitions, even though they don't carry many marks, its highly important to know them to even understand the theory questions.

6. keep revising the older topics, as you are going to A2 level, I would recommend to go over all of the AS content and to do the As-level questions before the A2 content in order to understand and have a solid foundation.

anyways, I hope this helps!

thanks! I will try out all those tips and see if it works for me.
Original post by wifd149
If I am not mistaken, there may be some videos on YouTube where a tutor answers some A-level Physics past year paper questions. You might want to check that out.


ok, thanks!
that might help
Maths is more important for mech eng (or any engineering for that matter)
thats proven with how imperial they require A* in maths for 4 alevels and not in phys, just keep this in mind if u want to go into mech eng

i did edexcel phys, so i would say honestly forget the text book, unless u trully need it (cus it waistes so much time)
go on youtube and watch summaries of A2, ur foundation is built there if u have none now lol, then get the cgp book and read thru them (purple for me), most basic questions u do rnt gna help u, litterally go on maths and phys tutor and do all the questions (EXAM Q) for the subjects uve gone thur,

in the exam some questions r so crazy compared to basic ones, harder ones u do and eventually get, literally all concepts of that sub ud know how to apply to a scenario they give in exams, try harrd questions even when uve got a basic level of understanding
Original post by Khushi123tri
Hey

So I'm also entering the second year of my A levels and I have taken physics, I did end up getting an A for As levels.

Here's what you could give a try

1. read and fully understand the textbook content (if u dont understand the content do not go to the questions, instted i would advice to go to this youtube channel called 'ETphysics' though the content is for CIE physics, it explains the concepts very well and with ease.

2. you should try and attempt the textbook questions before u do the past papers as the textbook questions tend to be easier and have direct application of the concepts.

3. try some multiple choice questions before theory, this helps to make sure that u understand the fundamental concepts

4. go over your notes 'actively', so for example instead of reading your notes, do a few questions on the topic and try to summarize the content

5. know your definitions, even though they don't carry many marks, its highly important to know them to even understand the theory questions.

6. keep revising the older topics, as you are going to A2 level, I would recommend to go over all of the AS content and to do the As-level questions before the A2 content in order to understand and have a solid foundation.

anyways, I hope this helps!

is it CAIE for ETPhysics?
Original post by helpppspp
Maths is more important for mech eng (or any engineering for that matter)
thats proven with how imperial they require A* in maths for 4 alevels and not in phys, just keep this in mind if u want to go into mech eng

i did edexcel phys, so i would say honestly forget the text book, unless u trully need it (cus it waistes so much time)
go on youtube and watch summaries of A2, ur foundation is built there if u have none now lol, then get the cgp book and read thru them (purple for me), most basic questions u do rnt gna help u, litterally go on maths and phys tutor and do all the questions (EXAM Q) for the subjects uve gone thur,

in the exam some questions r so crazy compared to basic ones, harder ones u do and eventually get, literally all concepts of that sub ud know how to apply to a scenario they give in exams, try harrd questions even when uve got a basic level of understanding

I never knew that maths is more important for engineering than physics.
thanks!
I do have the CGP Book. is there any good YT Channels for summaries?
I will try the hard questions
for YT, just look up year 1 physics (ur exam board) summary then use the cgp book then questions, then check where u lack and start from cgp again, rinse and repeat

honestly make sure u go thru exam papers, cnt be stressed enought

good luck
Original post by helpppspp
for YT, just look up year 1 physics (ur exam board) summary then use the cgp book then questions, then check where u lack and start from cgp again, rinse and repeat

honestly make sure u go thru exam papers, cnt be stressed enought

good luck

thanks!

my physics teacher set us a another 2021 physics past paper for homework during the summer holidays.
and I haven't quite started it because of this problem, but after looking at the relies on this thread and going through the tips, it helped.
I found that if I watch past paper walkthroughs on YT, it's easier for me to apply it, because they explain through what knowledge and how to apply to the question.
so I think my physics teacher is correct, go through more past papers in order to improve the grade
i feel like i'm reading something that i would have written myself
In my march mocks i got an E in physics and couldn't believe it. I'd spent so long doing JUST physics and completely abandoned my other two subjects to end up with an E. I knew i had 3 months until the final year 12 exams and just like you i had no idea how to apply what i had learnt. I felt like i was constantly behind and couldn't start a question until someone gave me a hint of what topic it was.

I used physicsandmaths tutor and the actual old ocr past papers from like 2011 and just did absolutely every question that possibly existed. When doing them i had no idea what i was doing and was basically just copying from the mark scheme- but that's honestly the trick. After doing like 5 topic papers for every topic i'd seen similar worded questions and just knew how to answer them. They will never change the mark schemes and only have limited questions they could possibly ask you. If it's a diagram of idk a door and you kind of know that it's a moments question just literally write what you can and if it's wrong, then it's wrong. There's nothing much you can do except apply the knowledge from what you have learnt from the mark scheme to the next question. I'm still unsure of how to answer most mechanics questions, but i ended up getting an A in July just from purely doing past papers- i thought the A on my report was a typo :smile:.
Good luck for this year, i hope we both do very well!
What exam board are you with? AQA?

I did AQA 7408, completed my A-levels this year.

I know how it feels because I've been there. But I just wanna reinforce that doing past papers is pretty much the only way!

But before you go into doing past papers, I really want you to understand the concept itself! Truly understanding the concepts is key and I can't stress the importance! Not being able to apply is one thing but I know of people who can't even recognise the concept linked with a question and its a clear indication that they don't understand the concepts!

So TRULY UNDERSTAND THE CONTENT - use textbooks, revision guides, online revision notes, youtube videos and so on.

After doing a topic, DO QUESTIONS ONLY ON THAT TOPIC - if you are with AQA, https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/exam-question-booklets, provide you with booklets full of practice questions and answers at the back (sometimes/ always with examiners guidance too). So after every topic, complete those booklets!. We had a wonderful Physics teacher who would give us questions after every sub-topic to ensure we understood it. So I get that starting this habit will be quite hard because the booklets are long and tedious.. But it truly helps.

If you are stuck with questions, obv look at the mark schemes and examiners guidance too. Don't move onto the enxt question without understanding the previous question. Force yourself to complete every booklet fully!

The next step is to COMPLETE PAST PAPERS - this is obv a combination of all the topics, so jumping straight into this will be hard! But once you've started doing topic-specific exam booklets, this will be a lot easier.

When doing questions (topic specific and past papers), if you need to look at the text book, its finee! Trust me, I sometimes do it too! Esp with the memory ones like idk like fluouresent tubes, I would go back read my notes then come back to answer it! But as you move towards past papers, try and avoid doing this so that it mimics exam conditions!

And can I also add, if you do get stuck at a question - not with the content but rather you dont know what topic it is or smth like that - just quickly skim through the mark scheme to get an idea of what the topic is - then think about how that particular topic applies to the question. So if the question is about water through a turbine, and you are stuck with that, skim through the mark scheme, you will get words like energy and gravitational potential and using these words, think really hard about how energy could be applied in this context. Is water flowing down? So gravitational potential energy is being converted into Kinetic? you know things like that will help you with it.

Final tip, dont feel guilty about skimming through ms before answering a question or going back to your notes after reading a question!! These things are part of the learning process. And if you begin to embrace these, you will start to see a difference by January!

Goodluck with it. If you are with AQA, and you wanna ask any questions or even notes, ask me and Ill try my best to help out!

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