Back to Today's Deal

School thread


Is it outside the boundaries of things to ask why you are taking physics without a solid mathematical background?? Is this a normal progression or did you take this class as an advanced option.

In my opinion the best bet is unfortunately, that you need to divide your studying between 2 fronts:

As a forewarning, this will likely not be easy, and I apologize to recommend it late in the year, @YQMaoski has already provided a good framework for the process, but I can’t help but throw my 2 cents into the ring, so apologies about that.

In brief, in order to understand and learn the physics you should approach the math you are unfamiliar with, be especially certain you are familiar with the following (from my understanding of physics, but I am a field biologist so what do I know?): Unit conversions & the formulas present in class (I assume you are working with formulas for forces involving electricity, gravity, liquids and possibly gasses).
The major thing that you need to get comfortable with in physics is the ability to identify what terms you have & then solve for the terms you don’t have. Basic calculus will be almost necessary here, but don’t be too proud to avoid brushing up on things like order of operations and other mathematical minutiae.

Classes where there is a difference (no matter how small) between the coursework’s level of knowledge and your own are always tricky, and the one thing I would recommend is that you take this experience to heart and learn to recognize where there is a difference between the coursework and your knowledge. A lot of the time students pay little to no attention to their grades until the end of the semester/year/trimester and then panic close to final exams. I would advise that you for sure take this opportunity to learn to recognize what struggling in a class looks and feels like (and remember that this struggle is not because you can’t learn this subject, you aren’t intelligent or clever or any other reason/excuse) and when you see it happening again, take steps to correct it. I absolutely agree with @YQMaoski that talking with the teacher or attending some kind of study group.

Full disclosure: I got a C in Physics in high school myself, I was lost the entire class because I wanted to treat it like chemistry, but physics is a really different beast. I didn’t want to talk to people about it because I was embarrassed and felt like I couldn’t learn it. Physics remains something I vaguely understand to this day because I was always afraid to go back and relearn it.

And I was a stocking assistant in a library when I was in high school. Whoo Library represent! They are the best places to go and find information, especially once you learn how to navigate them… Nothing better than finding a good book nobody else knows about.


Thank you for all the comments, everyone. Here’s to clarify/comment on a few things:

Yes, there are tutoring sessions in my school! The thing is, I have absolutely no clue what to ask or to show them. I’ve been more of a self-learner/getting all resources from class time, so I’m a bit iffy on the tutoring stuff.

Would definitely agree with that. My parents just want to see me go to a good college and provide for myself. They rarely make me feel lesser than I am, and that’s why I feel so guilty when I get something like a 70 for physics - that doesn’t show them that I’m doing particularly well.

lowkey just glad that I’m not failing haha

I mostly just hang out with my friends afterschool to play badminton and then finish my homework when I get home. Good boys don’t skip :wink:

Yes! Khan Academy, my worst nightmare in middle school, but my savior in high school. I started on one or two topics and then stopped for some reason. I’ll try to pick back up, but I’m not sure if I’ll even get through another topic. Thank you for the links.

The library is one of the most wonderful places to be. Finished a lot of homework at the school library.

I’ve actually never really thought about that - all my 15 minute “breaks” turn binging sessions of food videos and what not.

Thank you for believing in me.

So basically, I’m not sure if anyone here is from New York apart from @YQMaoski, but we have these tests called Regents (a summative assessment for a subject, you’re placed into a more “advanced” class). I took the living environment (diffusion, osmosis, cells, what have you) Regents and passed it in 8th grade, so I got placed in the next class, which was physics.

The thing is, my high school had a harder curriculum for classes.

My mathematical background is shit to say the least. I liked Algebra I because of how amazing the teacher was, along with the rest of the Regents classes I took in 8th grade. The teachers took their time to explain everything and make sure that we were prepared to take the Regents. In 8th grade. The Regents didn’t matter as much, but they still did their best to prepare us. I liked math back then.

All I have to say is - fuck.

Thank you, everyone. Seriously. Those of you that took the time to reply to my comment and encourage me to do better. @YQMaoski, @Vindace, @GDBringer, @NME1, @coralinecastell, @delenn13, @hivefleetbothan (if I missed anyone, I’m very sorry, I appreciate you as well), thank you. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll commit to my studying habits (as if I had any in the first place), but either way, I thank ye.


I won’t fully quote you hear, but don’t despair! IMO the parts of calculus you need are the way that logic applies to formulas side of calculus.


Hey. It’s been a while

Small updates!

  • I started back up with Khan Academy and this new thing called (my school offers us free accounts). I gave up on it a few weeks ago, but I’ll try to continue it soon.
  • Physics! Still struggling. Hopefully this project will boost my grade.
  • Winter break is impending, very nice (snow is fun!)
  • Quit art club a few weeks ago. Wasn’t my thing. Starting to play at badminton club, although I’m not going to join the club for a few reasons (also, my friend has a volunteering club! hopefully I can join next semester.)

That’s about it for now. I’ll let you know if I die in midterms week.


I mean, I’ve given up on the hope that everybody should enjoy science, but being able to derive equations is most of being a scientist or engineer (once you cut out the bureaucracy you have to deal with). I can’t speak to the quality of the classes you took, but the general premise is not at all unreasonable. Consider the alternative: having to memorize an effectively infinite list of equations. No, thank you.

And this is why a strong foundation in math is extremely beneficial. If you understand the fundamentals, you don’t need to memorize very many equations. Take circles and spheres. If you know how to find the circumference of a circle, you know basically all you need to know about circles and anything related to them.
-The integral of the circumference is the area of the circle.
-The integral of the area is the volume of a sphere in the positive quadrant (so 1/4 the total volume).
-Or take that integral over different intervals to get the volume of a cylinder, or torus, etc. And this applies to all shapes. So you know one thing, and you can figure everything else out.

Same thing with combining equations. You just need to know a few basics and pay attention to their parts (in other words, don’t blindly use them). Do I know the equations for orbital velocity? No, but I bet I can derive it pretty quick:

  1. Intuition tells us orbital velocity has got to be related to acceleration and distance. The only sensible arrangement is a = v^2 / r (because that gives us units of distance^2 / time^2 / distance, which is distance / time^2, which are units of acceleration, which is what we need for both sides to match). This is just basic reasoning.
  2. F = m * a (worth memorizing)
  3. F_gravity = G * M * m / r^2 (worth memorizing, but easily derived if you know gravitation is subject to the inverse square law)

Put those three equations together and you’ve got it:
a = v^2 / r
a * r = v^2
v = (a * r)^0.5 (hold that thought)
F = m * a = G * M * m / r^2
a = G * M / r^2
v = (a * r)^0.5 (okay, back to this equation)
v = (G * M / r^2 * r)^0.5
v = (G * M / r)^0.5 (and you’re done; just split up “r” if you want to account for orbital eccentricity)

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Nothing more than a couple of equations and a little bit of logic. Post got a bit longer than I intended, but I was having fun ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So @Buzzyboii I know it’s too late to do much for you in this specific course, but my best advice going forward in the sciences is to get a really good grip on the fundamentals (which includes math). Remember, science (especially at the educational level) is generally complex, not complicated. If you know the pieces, it’s trivially easy to put them together like LEGO blocks. If you don’t know the pieces, it’s always going to seem like a wizard did it.


You don’t want my opinion of snow…Being from Florida. Good luck on the midterms :heavy_heart_exclamation::heavy_heart_exclamation::heavy_heart_exclamation:


Hi. It’s been a month or so now!

Quick update before the week starts - this (and one day of next week) marks the start of midterms/finals week! I am hoping that I will pass most of my midterms, but who am I kidding, I’m not going to pass haha

I wanted to say this before I go offline for another two weeks, just to

  1. Bump this thread
  2. Update everyone

Alright, that’s about it for now. Thanks to all of you for reading and just generally being awesome. Have a great day, people.


Good luck. Not sure if you are in high school or college or whatever, but if its just exams, its probably not as horrible as my assignments probably. Or maybe it’s because I’ am taking an IT course lol and a lot of my assignments are due soon ugh! At this point if the assignment isn’t dead simple I 'am beginning to prefer exams a little more. Sad I know.
I said a little.


Good luck!


Just do your best and know we are here urging you on to Summer Vacation…:rofl::rofl::rofl:

JK Just keep calm and pay attention. Best of luck :heavy_heart_exclamation::heavy_heart_exclamation::heavy_heart_exclamation:


I’m back
Not good

Midterms week is finally over! (one more midterm left next week, but I only have to come in one day next week, so it’s pretty great!)

Some bad news:

  • I got a 36 out of 100 on my physics midterm. The rest of the class did fairly okay, but the majority got a very low score (I’m pretty sure I had the lowest score out of the 3 classes). Because someone got a 100, our teacher’s POLICY is that they wouldn’t curve everyone’s grades up. As the midterm is 20% of my grade with me having a 75 right now, I’m destined to take physics again for another term in junior year (which is fun).

  • Most likely going to fail my geometry midterm, but at least for geometry I can study and catch up because I have a half-properly working teacher (unlike physics)

Some good news:

  • One whole week off next week! Amazing!
  • Going to spend some time with friends to just chill.
  • Ended off the term with pretty decent grades (apart from geometry and physics)
  • Everyone here! You guys are amazing - I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see your messages earlier, but it’s great that I came back to these messages before I continue my 1-2 week hibernation. So, thank you :heart:

Let’s see how the rest of this year goes. Have a great month, everyone!


Because someone got a 100, our teacher’s POLICY is that they wouldn’t curve everyone’s grades up.

I always hated this idea. I can explain why they do it, but I still don’t like it.

It basically punishes both the best students and the worst students. The best students get high scores, yay? I guess that’s fine but all their little friends will hate their guts. It’s a great way to ostracize people and tempt them to do worse. Even so, then the worst students never have a chance to increase their grade and are held back by the randomness of having 1 or 2 smart students unluckily in their class. Good luck next semester and hope there are worse students in your class? That’s not the best mentality either.

There are several other methods for encouraging students to continue working hard no matter if they are far ahead or catching up. And the grading curve is not it.

As the midterm is 20% of my grade with me having a 75 right now, I’m destined to take physics again for another term in junior year

That’s exactly what I mean. It’s a waste of your time to even continue trying and the best you can do is just sit there and treat your class as a prep class for the next time you take it since you can’t pass it this semester. Which is not the best way to teach a class as I suspect there are others the same as you. The classroom atmosphere will be different when some students are doomed to fail the semester but still have to sit in the classroom.

The reason why these teachers do this grade curve is because…well…it’s an easy way to cover their butts?
Imagine these two scenarios.
If all the students are failing or have low scores, the administration will take notice. Why is an entire class doing so badly? To get them off their back, the teacher curves all their grades. Suddenly all the students’ grades are average or great! Teacher gets to pat themselves on the back and administration leaves them alone.
Now imagine your scenario. I can only guess exactly but I’ll at least say some are failing, some are average, and 2 are perfect. The administration goes to the teacher and ask, “Why are these students failing?” The teacher can dismiss them saying, "No no no. Look. I have these 2 students with perfect scores. They all got the same lessons and materials. Those failing students are just the worst/lazy/need tutoring/don’t participate/insert excuses here/etc. So the teacher uses the high scoring students to justify the failing students. Therefore, there is no need to curve the grades at all. I mean, if they do, that would be “unfair” to the perfect students.

Sorry for the rant. There is so much I hated about the education system.

I’m glad you’re doing well in everything else. Have a nice break!


This is the American system, isn’t it? If it is then God that is horrible. Like my school probably doesn’t go nearly as bad as you guys do, if we (as in a good chunk of the class) mess up on the test there’s that. No curbing grades as far as I can remember, just guilt and shame. Just move on and don’t repeat the mistakes. Although our education system has its own set of issues that I dislike, and it doesn’t help that our education minister only just recently quit after a few years.


Maybe. Depends. I assume you have a final. And if the midterm is 20%, the final is probably like 20-30%. Which would mean you have a 75 in the last 50%, but with another half of the class to bring that up. When I’m off work today, I’ll show a spreadsheet I have that’ll calculate all that crap.

What I know for certain is it is impossible for you to get an A as you lost 12.8 Quality Points on that exam. (meaning with everything else 100% your MAX grade is 87.2%)


Teachers tend to have their own systems, it’s not a single way of doing things.

Some teachers will curve still based on a majority of the grade points, instead of all. Creating the appropriate curve and ignoring outliers is often done so that people can catch a break without making it so that people don’t try to achieve the highest scores.

Here are a bunch of different ways to curve scores.


I will note that to do this, you will have to have some patience and be willing to write up formulas in excel or GSheets. However, it will always calculate your MINIMUM grade with what you have in, and you can use it to determine how much you need to get on the remaining schoolwork to get X Grade.

So to walk through the Spreadsheet. I have 3 exams, 1 final, homework, quizzes, presentation, labs, and attendance.

Any of those that include multiple items are (Sum of Grades)/(# of Grades). The grades would need to be entered in as percentages out of 100. If you enter them out of ten you will need to multiply by 10. For example:


`= SUM (I2 to I5) / ( 4 Grades) * (10 Since grades were out of 10)

If any are dropped (say you get 2 freebies) then you would need to add in a LARGE function like so:

=SUM(LARGE(I13:I42, {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28}))/28

= SUM ( Largest 28 Grades in cells I13 to I42) / ( 28 Total Grades)

The final grade is calculated as follows:
(First Exam * % of grade + Second Exam * % of grade + quizzes * % of grade + labs * % of grade…)
Which looks like this:


= (Attendance % * 10% + Labs % * 25% + Quizzes % * 20% + Final Exam % * 45%)

If it is out of a predetermined set of points (say 520 points), this is how I have it set up:


= (Attendance % * 30 Pts + Quizzes % * 50 Pts + Homework % * 40 Pts + Exam 1 % * 100 Pts + Final Exam % * 200 Pts) / (520 Total Points)

It’s probably kind of confusing. That’s okay. Take some time and mess with it in GSheets or something. I know it took me a bit of time to set some of them up, like this one:


`= Attendance * 10% + Homework * 20% + [SUM( Final, Presentation, Midterm Project Report) / 6 + (Sum of Memo Grades) / (Total Possible Memo Points) * 50] * 40% + Final * 30%

Took me a bit to figure out why I divided by 6. It’s because it was worth half of the 40% and the memos were worth the other half. I think I didn’t split it into 20% each because of how they were lumped together.

And then for the GPA… I’m not sure GSheets has this BUUT it utilizes an IFS function (available starting with Excel 2016). You can set it up using nested IF-THEN statements, but that’s a bit more of a pain. Here’s what it looks like:

 =IFS(C11>93, 4, C11>90, 3.67, C11>87, 3.33, C11>83, 3, C11>80, 2.67, C11>77, 2.33, C11> 73, 2, C11> 70, 1.67, C11> 67, 1.33, C11> 63, 1, C11> 60, 0.33, C11<60, 0)


Hahaha, the grading curve is just one problem amongst many.

Though, seeing my reply again, how dare I at least not provide a solution?

One of my favored methods is this. The difference in test scores is applied to the lower score.
Example. Midterm test = 45 grade. Final test = 85 grade.
(85 + 45) /2 = 65. The 65 replaces the midterm test score. So final scores are Midterm 65 & Final 85.

I like it because even if you fail the first test, IF you persevere and do better in the next test, you are rewarded. The better your final test score is, the bigger the reward. If both tests are average, then your grades remain average. Also the students with perfect scores will not have a problem because this method will not have students reach their achievement. Students that fail both tests…there’s no helping them. (No matter the method.)

And I think @choujiacheng is from Asia and yea. Having taught in Asia too for a few years they have their own problems with grading. Grades affect what middle school you go to, then what high school you go to, then what college you go to. Making bribery, trading favors, networking for getting certain teachers. It’s a big hidden problem. Some of those teachers really were on a power trip with students and their parents.

Story time.
There was this one top university. The only way to get in was money (donations), fame (big in music/tv) or related to politicians, or if you’re actually smart and pass their entrance exams.
Anyway, there was this funny loophole that moderately rich people used to get in. If the student lived abroad for more than 2 years (iirc), that student can apply as a foreign student and don’t need to take their entrance exams…or was it they could have a lower score? It’s been a while so the details are fuzzy. Well anyway, the bar was set incredibly low. So what these families did was send their kids to highschool in the USA for a number of years (costs a lot of money unless they already have relatives to stick the kid with), apply as a foreign student to the top university, pass their low standards, and done. The student is a foreign student in their own country. Once you’re in, your life is set. Hahahaha. I can still remember the faces of some people when I explained it to them. And it explains how I met so many dumb (and I mean intellectually) students from that cream of the crop top university. Like having to explain to a college biology major how hot air rises.

sigh oh memories. I hope I get old enough where I can entrap young kids in my stories they don’t want to hear.


Yeah, I remember that if you fail a certain subject you have to do one more year in school in primary. My brother had that misfortune but was lucky enough to move to a private school before this. I also was incredibly lucky to be in a private school, I just need to do one major exam as opposed to 3 of them!


This whole system just sounds stupid, designed to discourage improvement and sabotage those who needs more time to grasp stuff.

Over here, at least back when I was in school, any course would come with a number of “diagnostic” tests throughout which allowed you and your teachers an insight into how well you were absorbing the course material. Those who failed them could get remedial classes to help them understand what they missed or simply be encouraged to take better responsibility for their own studies. If it was clear that a large part of the class failed to grasp something it was a good sign to the teacher that the problem might lie in how they taught it and for them to go over it a 2nd time with another approach.

Your grade would then be based primarily on the big final that tests you on every aspect of the course but also on course work completed. Teachers wouldn’t have a simple formula to grade everyone by points scored across tests though, they would have to actually take into consideration the individual student’s performance. But maybe that’s too much work to ask teachers to do these days?