About the Physics Tutorial Center

Tutorial Center home


What we are:

The Physics Tutorial Center is a FREE drop-in tutoring service provided by the UCSD Physics Department

...and its available to everyone. 

We'll do our best to help any student who comes in with a desire to better understand physics.   We will also do our best to ignore people who come in with a negative attitude and try to get us to do their homework for them.  We have a disclaimer below to this effect.  Please take a moment to read through it.  

What we do and don't do:  

Tutors, in general, are folks who know a lot about a subject area and have solid skills in how to learn about and work with the material in that subject. They usually do not know what happens in specific courses or classrooms, except, perhaps, in a broad sense.

Using a tutor is sort of like being able to talk to a teacher who works at a different school-they can help you understand things, figure out how to solve problems, use efficient methods of learning material and such. They will generally NOT be able to, say, tell you what was covered in a lecture or lab last week, or what exactly your instructor is looking for on that homework problem. That is the student's job. This is true for tutors in all subject areas, at all levels, whether privately hired or provided to you by the school.

Tutors and TAs will:

 -Help you understand physics concepts from lecture and lab.

  -Help you figure out what a physics question is looking for.

  -Be familiar with general problem solving approaches used in physics.

  -Guide you in the kind of thinking required in physics.

Tutors and TAs will NOT:

  -Give or confirm answers to homework problems from lecture and lab.

  -Answer the questions "How do I do this problem?" and "Did I do this right?"

  -Know the answers to every physics problems you put in front of them.

  -Know what was said in lecture, lab, or your book.

Some tips to help you to use the Physics Tutoring Center more efficiently:

Be ready with specific questions. Physics tutors can't do your homework for you. "I just don't get it" is not a question and is too vague for your tutor to help you. When you have trouble with a physics problem, ask yourself, "What physics do I need to know to solve this problem? What have I done in lecture/lab that can help me find a solution?" If you have questions about the physics concepts or how to apply them, your tutor can help!

Try the problems before you come. The tutoring center is often very crowded, so there may not be space for you to work through your entire problem set or pre-/post-lab in the tutorial center. Trying the problems will help you come up with specific questions to ask your tuto

Be patient with your physics tutor. The tutors get asked questions for many different courses, and they may not be familiar with your specific course. In order to help you, a tutor may ask you about what has been covered in your lecture or what you've done in lab.