About a year from now, I have to take the Physics subject GRE and, in all honesty, I am scared to death. Like everyone else, I have to score well so I can get into the grad programs I want to get into, my top choices are Penn State, University of Colorado in Boulder and University of California at Berkeley. I keep thinking those are too out of my league, but I'm going to try anyway.
Well, I have a few problems that I don't know how to solve. I'm pretty much a B-C student at the moment, having had to work (i.e. take time away from studying) so that I can live and have received B's and C's in my Physics classes. My GPA is horrid as I came back to school after a brief reprieve into the world of customer service and telemarketing - but I came back and got B's and C's my first semester back, which to me was awesome. I'm currently a senior Physics major at my school and I believe that I'll be making A's in my Physics classes this year and a B in the Adv. Calc class I'm taking. Yay. I also quit my job grading for the department in order to focus on school (the chair of my department pushed me to focus more) and have done pretty well this semester.
One of my problems is I don't feel like I retain this information after the semester is over and I don't know what to do about it - I learn a lot from the classes, but I don't feel like I learn ENOUGH to do what I want to do in the future. And this scares me greatly being that I've got to take this test and do well in order to get into graduate school. Do others feel this way too as undergrads?
Secondly, I don't think I'm "gifted" in Physics -or- Math, to be honest. This is what I want to do though - I enjoy the classes and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I'm getting better, but I don't feel like I have a "talent" for the subjects. So I figure the only thing I can do is study harder. And I have this past semester.
The third thing is: I have a professor who can't teach. Well, not that he can't teach, but I feel like I can't learn from him. He focuses so much on the math and not the concept whereas I need the concept first and then the math to understand it better. And I don't know how to adjust to this. I have to take at least THREE more classes with him: Math Methods (which I think will be awesome with him because it _is_ learning the math), Mechanics, and Quantum. (sigh) Any suggestions?
Fourth: how do I take this test next November when I haven't even had Quantum yet? I feel as though it's a rush to take the test and apply for graduate school, but i have to apply to these schools early Jan/Feb to get in for the Fall and I can't afford to sit out a semester and study for the test.
(sigh) I've needed to rant for a while about this. Sorry - I just really am frustrated with this whole thing.