Survival Tips for Physics Majors at UCI

General recommendations for success as a physics major:

  • Attend all of your classes, and take careful notes during lectures.
  • After class, work through all the steps of derivations and example problems done in lecture. This helps to reinforce learning and to ensure that you fully understand the class material. 
  • Don't just read the assigned textbook sections passively: instead, work through the steps of derivations in the textbook to make sure that you understand all of the details and can reproduce important derivations.
  • Do all assigned homework problems. 
  • When working on homework problems or studying for exams, turn off your phone, set it on silent, or set it aside so that you won't be bothered by distractions. Uninterrupted concentration is a key to developing a mastery of new concepts in physics and math.
  • On homework problems or lab reports, take care to write clearly and show all your work. Don't turn in sloppy work!
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions during class.
  • Bring questions to discussion sections and office hours.
  • Work with other students in study groups to prepare for exams.
  • Take the initiative to talk with faculty about research projects and senior thesis research opportunities. Don't wait until senior year to plan your senior thesis research: get an early start to find a research project.
  • Join the Society of Physics Students to meet other physics majors and participate in SPS activities.