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Overcome the 10 Common Challenges of College Physics Homework

Physics has always been among those few subjects which seem to scare students away. With its various problems and theories, it is a rather complex and interesting subject that captures the minds of many. However, college level physics is quite difficult and different from school physics. While in school, you only had to learn certain basic concepts and elementary things to make your foundations strong. In college, you get to expound upon those concepts and learn more aspects about it.

However, though the course is quite vast and a bit complicated, it is sort of straightforward and a continuation of what you had been taught in school. Despite, all that they do certain pose some challenges which can be quite troublesome for students at the beginning of the session.

‘All problems are illusions of the mind.’

What are the 10 most common challenges?

Physics might interest you no doubt, which is probably why you took it up in college, but it does have its only share of challenges. Many students are scared of physics for various reasons and some of them are mainly due to the mistakes they commit. And these mistakes become the common challenges that the students have to overcome. Some of the 10 most common challenges are as stated below:

  1. Getting the units right:

One of the most common challenges that students face while solving any problems assigned as homework is when they have to convert the units. Many students forget about the units like kilogram, sec, etc. into which they have to convert to get the final answer. Some even forget to convert it from MKS system to CGI system when they write the final answer.

  1. Finding the correct amount of motivation:

Motivation is of the utmost importance when pursuing any subject. If you lack motivation, then your career will fail to reach the heights you want. Similarly with physics, many students lack the requisite amount of motivation to even complete their homework asthey think college is allabout having fun.

  1. Not mixing up degrees and radians:

Many students forget to convert their degrees into radians when solving a problem on acceleration or angular velocity. This causes confusion as the answers never match which makes the student think that they know nothing about physics.

  1. Getting the sines and cosines right to solve the problem:

One of the challenges that most students face is the trouble figuring which sines and cosines they need to use. They mix up sin θ with cos θ and vice versa.

  1. To treat the vectors in the correct manner:

Many students forget how to add vectors when solving an assignment on it. They just simply add the magnitude and simply forget about the other components of vectors. Thus, remembering to treat vectors in the correct manner is what poses a challenge to the students.

  1. To not neglect latent heat:

When solving any assignment on a phase change, students blatantly ignore the latent heat produced during the phase change.  Like for example, when water is boiled and it evaporates into vapours, latent heat is released which the students simply disregard and forget.

  1. Get the refraction angles right:

An assignment on refractions, can pose to be a big challenge to students. This is because they do not read the angles properly. The students mistakenly measure the angle that is there between the ray of light and the boundary between the two mediums.

  1. Understand the direction of the flow of current in a Kirchhoff’s loop:

Students have a problem with Kirchhoff law. Why? Because they fail to solve the problems on it simply because they cannot interpret the signs based upon the direction of the flow of currents.

  1. Add the resistors correctly:

Students get confused when adding the resistors. They get confused between parallel and series circuit and calculate in a wrong manner. Like for example, in a series circuit, you simply add the resistance which increases the overall resistance which affects the entire problem if you calculate it wrongly.

  1. Getting the ray diagrams right:

Ray diagrams are literally the Achilles’ heel for many physics students. They either forget to mark the direction, or draw the diagram wrong, or simply fail to comprehend the diagram altogether.

Thus, these 10 common challenges are enough to confound enough students to leave their assignments incomplete. Apart from these, there are other challenges as well like lack of interest, priorities, etc. present which further make the students panic about their assignments.

How to overcome such challenges in physics homework?

Despite the presence of such challenges, it is necessary to overcome them. There needs to be enough solution that proves to be effective to eradicate these problems. However, this cannot be achieved over a short period of time and needs some patience and some sincerity on your part to overcome them efficiently. Listed below is how you can do this and also ensure that your grades are not effective in a bad manner.

Don’t panic

The first thing that you need to stop is panicking. It will not help you. It does sound easier but it’s rather hard to do especially when you look at assignments sitting write on your desk. Take a few seconds off and breathe. Remember solution is at hand. All you need to do is concentrate and apply the right formula to solve it.

Understand what the assignment is about

The first thing that you need to concentrate on after you have calmed down is to figure out what does assignment state. Highlight key word to figure out what to do you need to look for. Does it involve a problem that needs to be solved? Can it be done by a simple formula? Does it require a formula that needs to be derived from a theory? Figure out what you have to do before you sit down with it.


Sit down and study at an hour that is appropriate for you. Before you sit down gather all the requisite study materials and keep it at hand. Once you have figured out what you need to do with the assignment, list down all the data that is given and get it organized.  List down the things that has not been specified or any data that has not been given. This way the problem will take less amount of time to get solved and also sorting it out will make it easier for you to solve it.


The more you practice the better will you be at solving problems. This is because you will remember most of complex formulas if you practice and will not have any problem solving it. Moreover, you will know the common methods in which you can solve a problem as well.

‘A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it’

Look for a tutor

It is advisable that you look for a tutor whose expertise is teaching college level students, if you problems still persist. They help you to overcome these challenges by simply solving the problems for you initially, and by explaining it to you. You can also opt for online tutors for your convenience as you can learn right from your dorm room, without much hassle. All you need is a laptop and a good internet connection and you will be good to go.

Remember physics is what drives you and reason why you took it up in college and the challenges will seem less important then. So work upon it and ace your assignments!

I'm from Michigan, USA and working as Tutor at My Homework Help Since 2012. The teaching job is very challenging job, but I love to do. I'm helping students with their homework. If you need homework assistance, feel free to contact me!

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