Welcome back to Week 3 of the blog! We’re a few weeks away from the exam itself, so I thought I’d highlight in this blog aspects of studying for Physics which I started to implement around this time, along with some tips and tricks for Mod 6, Electromagnetism.
Note-making should be finished. If you haven’t finished them, then that’s your first goal for the week. Why? Because you want to move on quickly to…
There’s only so much that note making can do for you. It’s a good way to revise, and ensure that you’ve covered all areas of the syllabus. However, note making is a means, rather than the end.
The HSC is a game, and as with most games, there are three things you can do if you want to excel:
1. Read the rules of the game;
2. Understand the techniques for playing the game well;
3. Practice these techniques in real life;
Practice papers prepare you for the real deal, and it is the best simulation of what could actually happen in November. Practice papers are also a great way to revise in general! When I started to do practice papers around this time of year, I realised that I learned so much from the worked solutions!! A process I followed to keep on top of note-taking in other subjects and doing past papers for physics was the following:
1. Identify all the questions where I dropped any marks (including multis)
2. Write down the paper and question number in a custom table
3. Write down why I got that question wrong
4. Write down a correct answer (or a Band 6 response)
Would strongly recommend you use a table like this! When it came time for the HSC exam, and I wanted to look quickly over my notes for a confidence boost, I looked over this table. I found that it was a whole lot more beneficial to look over things I had got wrong, rather than things I already knew how to do.
Electromagnetism: The Flow of Logic
You may have seen in that last example there a question about AC induction motors – this section of the syllabus is often overlooked! In fact, most of Mod 6 is. I found electromagnetism to be one of the most unintuitive modules, and I struggled understanding Lenz’s Law, any types of motors, applications of transformers, magnetic braking, and so on. In the HSC, it’s usually not the calculation questions in Mod 6 which get you – it’s the written responses.
1. Plan the logic
When tackling a question on Lenz’s Law, or magnetic braking, it’s always good to think about the flow of logic. For example, consider what happens when you power a DC motor:
Current goes through armature > Motor Effect results in a force (F = l*I*B) > Two forces produce a torque in the armature > Motor spins à Change in magnetic flux produces an opposing current by Lenz’s Law > A back emf is produced
I would literally write this out on the exam paper. Now, your question can just be an expansion of these lines of thought, or include some equations.
2. Be concise
It goes without saying that a clear response is MUCH better than a messy response. Sentences should be short. They should be direct. They should be a clear statement.
3. Draw a diagram
Diagrams are a great way to tell the marker that “I know my stuff!”. It supplements your answer and makes it clear that you understand the subject. Beyond this though diagrams also help keep you on track, keep your answers clear and concise and make help you pick things up that you might have otherwise missed in an answer.
Practice, practice, practice. Take breaks, but practice. Pay particular attention to Mod 6 as you work through notes and papers this week; caveats in Mod 7 to come soon!
Best of luck, and stay in the game.