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SS1314

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Physics Course Guide - Tips, Explanations & Advice (50 RAW)
« on: January 08, 2022, 05:14:22 pm »
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Hello everyone, here is a quick rundown of some of the tips I used to achieve a perfect study score of 50 in Physics in 2021! This guide includes information on how to approach each AOS of the subject, whilst some general advice is given in another post. Do not get overwhelmed by the sheer size of this guide, I know it’s a lot to take in haha. I encourage you guys to bookmark this page for future in-depth reading once you get up to a particular topic in class.

Anyways, let’s get started

Introduction

VCE Physics is no doubt some of the most challenging VCE subjects, and, if not for the cheat sheet, would probably match Methods in terms of raw difficulty. However, despite how overwhelming the subject may seem, I firmly believe that a systematic approach in dealing with the subject can really ease the tension when learning new topics. Having not even done unit 1/2, I used the below tips to learn new concepts swiftly and effectively. So, if these worked for me, chancing are you may get something out of this article yourself

Unit 3

Unit 3 covers to main areas, fields and motion, with the two being interconnected in some parts of the course.

I'll start off with motion, as your school will likely cover this before fields. Motion, unlike fields, is VERY related to YR11 Physics, with around 80% of the concepts being the same. However, if you struggled with this last year (or didn't do YR11 Physics like me), then DON'T WORRY, your teachers will still the class enough time to learn the topic as it is a full AOS instead of something that they breeze over. For this topic, I really believe that's its all about the practice since, unlike other topics, there aren't too many distinct topics, with many concepts being the same, just expressed differently (believe it or not, the conservation of momentum principle is derived from Newton's 3rd Law). So, once you surpass the initial basic conceptual hurdle, its all about doing the questions to pinpoint the small gaps in understanding. For example, you may know that 'work done' is calculated by 'force x distance' from class, but what if you encounter this question asking for the work done on object at an inclined surface? This question would make you rethink the formula and realise that the force in the work done formula has to be the PARALLEL component to the displacement. So, overall, I think this topic just comes down to doing a ton of practice questions so that you can 100% answer any motion question, because at the end of year exam, these questions should just be free marks for you.

Fields on the other hand is the exact opposite. The calculation questions are (usually) quite simple, involving straight-forward formulas like F=nILB (just plugging in stuff), whilst the conceptual questions are where most people trip up. Now these conceptual questions not only include written ones, but also graphs (god forbid the graphs!!), usually asking you to draw a general shape of a graph rather than labelling any values on axis. To strengthen your understanding to the required level, I strongly encourage you to learn (a little bit) beyond the study design. If your school has the Edrolo textbook assigned (like I did), then I think you should get a PDF of the Heinemann textbook, or borrow from library, as this textbook thoroughly goes over concepts, making sure you’re getting ALL the required information. An example of where goes beyond the SS can help immensely is Kepler’s Law, which, based on the idea that increasing the orbital radius of a satellite increases the orbit period by the same amount irrespective of mass. If you come across a 3-4 mark question where you’re given the orbital radius and period of Mercury, and just the orbital radius of Venus (alongside all relevant masses), you may be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information if you’re asked to find the orbital period of Venus. But, if you’re familiar with Kepler’s Law, you would know that the mass of the two planets is irrelevant and that we can just use a simple equation:

${ (\frac{r1}{r2})^3 = (\frac{p1}{p2})^2}$    (sorry don't know how to do subscripts  )

I have purposefully left Special Relativity till last as this topic, despite being part of motion, is rather distinct from the others as it usually requires a bit of a think before jumping straight to writing an answer to a question. The hardest part of this topic is determining which is the proper time/length and which is the altered time/length. Most students remember the proper measurements as being measured by the ‘stationary’ object, however this is insufficient and shows incomplete understanding of relativity. It’s important to remember that relativity is rooted behind the idea that motion is RELATIVE, so from the perspective (or frame of reference) of let’s say a ‘moving’ train, it is stationary with everything moving past it, whilst an observer at a nearby train station views it as moving towards it. For an object to observe proper time of two events, those two events must occur at the same point in space from its OWN frame of reference. If these two events occur at different points in space then dilated time is observed. An example of this could be time for a person at a train station to jump and land on the ground, with event 1 being their initial position at the ground and event 2 being their final position at the ground. In this case the jumper measures proper time as he is always stationary for himself (remember, everything passes by him from his point of view). An observer on the train, on the other hand, would measure it as dilated time as the jumper is in different points in space from its initial position to final position (even if it’s a vertical jump), because remember, from the frame of reference of the observer, everything else including the jumper is moving towards them. This type of stuff requires some thinking on your own, but don’t feel limited and let your imagination run wild   .

Unit 4

Unit 4 cover the overarching topic of waves, involving to mechanical waves and electromagnetic waves. Unlike unit 3, there aren’t a lot of calculations involved in many of U4 questions, so you should make sure to sharpen your intuitive understanding of the topic.

Unit 4 starts off with mechanical waves, describing them as the transfer of energy across a medium without any net transfer of matter, for example, producing jerking a battle rope at the gym creates a wave that flows across the rope, transferring energy, yet the overall shape of rope is unaltered as none of the ‘rope particles’ permanently leave their mean position. Commonly, many students have difficulty understanding/visualising a transverse wave, where they (incorrectly) picture particles moving ‘carrying’ the wave across the medium, whereas the particles simply oscillate up and down in a regular manner to stimulate an overall wave motion.

The next topic is called ‘light as a wave’ where we learn about light using the wave model. Remember all of unit 4 is interconnected, so make sure to strengthen your understanding of waves in general before tackling this topic. The main focus of this area is Young’s Double Slit Experiment, which demonstrates that light displays the wave properties of diffraction and interference. Luckily (for maths peeps at least) this topic is largely calculation based so is more plugging in numbers. Another, mostly overlooked, aspect of this model is the polarisation of light, specifying that light is indeed a TRANSVERSE wave.

I believe the next, and final, topic is where things start to get REALLY interesting.
*SPOILERS ALERT* Aside from the wave model, light can also be modelled as a particle too, how crazy is that! This is where things start to get more technical as we look at the photoelectric effect experiment, connecting the topics light, waves, energy, fields AND electricity. So, as you can imagine, it’s imperative to strengthen your grasp of both unit 3 and unit 4 to master this area (don’t be afraid to flip back through your textbook!).  This experiment demonstrates how, with light shining on a metal plate, a current is induced in a circuit as measured by an ammeter, indicating that light transfers energy to the electrons of the metal atoms. This alone is not enough to support particle behaviour, as waves, by definition, also transfer energy. One interesting factor that supports particle nature of light is the fact that there is no significant TIME DELAY between light shining on metal surface and a reading showing on an ammeter, indicating the light is composed of discrete particles that COLLIDE with electrons in a similar fashion a car crashing to a truck, transferring energy instantly to the electron. If light were a wave, it would behave as a continuous transfer of energy, causing an electron to slowly accumulate enough energy to overcome the attractive force of the nucleus, resulting in a delay in its emission.

Tying everything together, we learn of the wave-particle duality, a theory that combines wave properties encapsulated by Young’s double slit experiment and the particle properties shown through the photoelectric effect. According to this, ALL particles exhibit wave-like properties, yet these are only noticeable for small objects like electrons. All particles have an associated de Broglie wavelength, which is not a physical property (a soccer ball isn’t going to oscillate like a wave), but merely a number that allows us to determine the extent of wave-like properties of particles. Like Young’s double slit experiment, a single slit electron experiment is conducted to illustrate this duality. Single electrons striking the screen surface (obviously) behave as particles, yet overtime a peculiar ‘interference’ pattern is observed, meaning that electrons diffract! To fine the extent of their diffraction we first calculate the de Broglie wavelength (remember not ACTUAL wavelength), using

$\boxed{\lambda = \frac{h}{p}}$

then determine the ratio $\boxed{\frac{\lambda}{w}}$ , with ‘w’ being width of slit.

Final words

Notice how I have not gone through many formulas in this post, as I believe the key to understanding physics concepts is intuition and visualisation instead of just plugging in numbers. After gaining these skills, the number crunching should all just come with practice

2021: English, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics [50]

Offering 2022 head start classes (PM for details)

artsy459

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Re: Physics Course Guide - Tips, Explanations & Advice (50 RAW)
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2022, 06:30:30 pm »
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Hey man, thx so for the advice, looks rlly helpful. What u reckon is the toughest area of the course?

Rlly nervous bout Physics, hopefully ill get a 40+ haha

RalphSturgill

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Re: Physics Course Guide - Tips, Explanations & Advice (50 RAW)
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2022, 10:50:11 pm »
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Thank you so much, my physics final exam is on next Wednesday and I am only weak in physics. That is why I always search for tips online. I am also worried about my assignments but I found my answer over https://edubirdie.org/can-you-get-caught-using-edubirdie/ here that I won't get caught by using Edubirdie and after taking help from their professional essay writers, I can easily concentrate on preparing for my physics final exam.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2022, 08:00:16 pm by RalphSturgill »

SS1314

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Re: Physics Course Guide - Tips, Explanations & Advice (50 RAW)
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2022, 08:40:02 pm »
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Thank you so much, my physics final exam is on next Wednesday and I am only weak in physics. That is why I always search for tips online. I am also worried about my assignments but I found my answer over https://edubirdie.org/can-you-get-caught-using-edubirdie/ here that I won't get caught by using Edubirdie and after taking help from their professional essay writers, I can easily concentrate on preparing for my physics final exam.

No worries mate, glad to help
2021: English, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics [50]

Offering 2022 head start classes (PM for details)