These websites are absolutely a must if you are struggling with physics.
The topic list for Physics 1 is a bit different than the one in the US. They have a lot in common but not everything. Here in Norway, they don’t talk much about Rotational Dynamics or Linear Momentum and Impulse, but they do go into astrophysics for example.
While studying for this exam I focused a lot on the Kinematics, Dynamics, Work, Energy, Power, Mechanical Waves, and Electricity.
I went through a lot of practice problems, I cared about the exact definition of the concepts, etc. I was really ready for a good problem.
The only chapters of the book that I didn’t dedicate much time to were 8 and 10 – astrophysics and physics and technology respectively. I thought it was OK to not waste much of my time with those because they didn’t seem very likely to come up on the exam.
I was the second person to show up in front of the examination room. However, the teacher wanted me to be the 3rd and last person to take the exam.
The girl who was going to be examined first wanted to apply to medicine. She was so nervous. She had her study notes on her lap and they were so beautiful. Lots of colour, detail, and very neat. I hope she made it!
She entered the room and picked a topic randomly. Then she left to the silent room for about 30 minutes. 15 minutes after she had left the other student was sent to the silent room with the same topic as her. 20 minutes after was my turn to pick the topic. Just like the second student, I didn’t pick anything. The topic was given to me instead.
When the teacher came to said: ‘If I were you I wouldn’t waste too much time with the instructions because we’ll guide through the exam, right? What you really need to care about is your topic here…’. As he’s turning the first page my stomach drops to the floor when I read the word ‘Astrophysics’.
I couldn’t hold it. ‘Are you kidding me? Astrophysics? From all the topics that could come up? Seriously?’.
– ‘I’ll give you 40 minutes. You’ll just have to try your best.’.
I was so pissed. Everything was about this stupid topic.
- Stars: birth, life and death.
- Wiens Displacement Law.
- Stefan-Boltzmann’s Law.
- Compute the uncertainty.
- Distance between the stars and the different scientific methods used to calculate them.
- Cosmology and the Standard Model for the Universe Development.
I read through the chapter as well as I could during those 40 minutes even though I just felt like leaving home. I tried to make sense of the formulas and to understand the big picture. What are stars, when they are born, what they turn into after a while, etc.
The time was up and I was called into the examination room.
It was embarrassing. I was very uncomfortable with the questions despite their clarity and I wasn’t given much time to think on the spot. They wanted quick answers and I just didn’t have them. I felt miserable before the teachers.
At some point, the guy who was asking all the questions said ‘I’m done. Let’s go to the second part of the exam since this is not going anywhere.’
The second part was about the forces and I did way better. However, I was so shaky and embarrassed that I couldn’t think straight anymore. Therefore I messed up some more. Easy questions but I was so angry that I couldn’t come up with answers in the blink of an eye. I did get where they wanted me to though.
In the end, I was sent out of the room and was told my grade 2 minutes after. They passed me with a 2, the lowest grade. Unbelievable. At that moment I thought ‘I’m gonna ask them to fail me. I must come back to improve this ridiculous grade. If they fail me today the exam fee will be half the price.’.
But I decided to leave it as it was. When applying to medicine abroad physics isn’t usually a requirement.
I left the school disappointed. All those study hours for a miserable grade.
Never mind. I can handle defeat and disappointment way better now. In the past, it would have been the end of the world. But now I’m actually able to accept it faster and move on. It won’t help to cry about it for long.
Even though astrophysics was the main examination topic it’s not very relevant for my future studies and it doesn’t reflect my knowledge of the subject as a whole.
Next time I’ll do better because I know better.