Tutoring & Academic Help

 

Getting Help

Tutoring. The department offers free, drop-in tutoring for lower-division courses in The Physics Tutoring Center.

Office Hours. Students are also strongly encouraged to attend their professor's and TA's office hours

Academic Advising. If you are having trouble in your physics and math classes, make an appointment with your physics department faculty academic advisor to discuss study strategies and how to improve.

LARC Tutoring.  The LARC program on campus offers interactive and student-centered learning environments to support students in a variety of different courses. They help students better understand their course material while teaching creative study strategies that will benefit students in other classes too. The department offers some scholarships to LARC. Contact your faculty advisor for more information. 

 

Helping Others

Undergraduate Learning Assistants help teach our introductory courses.  Tutoring other students is a fantastic opportunity to teach, improve your own understanding, and add to your resume.  The Department offers two ways for you to get involved:

  1. New Learning Assistants typically begin work in Physics 2, our introductory course for incoming first-year students.  Learning Assistants work in a large instructional team, guiding student problem solving during class from 4-6 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.  New Learning Assistants also enroll in UNI STU 176, a 2-unit seminar on how to become an effective teacher.  Physics 2 is taught in Fall and Winter quarters.
  2. Learning Assistants are also needed in smaller sections of Physics 3 and Physics 7.  Here, tutors partner with one graduate student TA to run 3 or 4 interactive discussion sections at different times of day.  Experienced Learning Assistants can qualify for paid teaching positions in physics and in the LARC program.
Apply Now  
Read additional, general information about UCI's Learning Assistant program at http://dtei.uci.edu/certified-learning-assistants-program-clap/.
 
Interested students should complete our application questionnaire immediately after registering for courses.  Applications are typically reviewed during Weeks 9-10 to select Learning Assistants for the following academic quarter.

Good Study Habits

Study groups. Working with other students in your classes informally is a very important study strategy to be successful in physics courses. Meet other physics majors and study in the SPS room (Frederick Reines Hall, Room 2107). The UCI libraries also provide study space for individuals and groups.

General recommendations for success in physics courses and as a physics major

  1. Attend all of your classes, and take careful notes during lectures.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Do all assigned homework problems. 
  5. 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.
  6. On homework problems or lab reports, take care to write clearly and show all your work. Don't turn in sloppy work!
  7. Don't be afraid to ask questions during class.
  8. Bring questions to discussion sections and office hours.
  9. Work with other students in study groups to prepare for exams.
  10. 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.
  11. Join the Society of Physics Students to meet other physics majors and participate in SPS activities.

 

Mathematica
Some physics courses use Mathematica software for homework assignments. Read more about the department's use of Mathematica.