Although the sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics often have a reputation in school for being particularly difficult or challenging subjects, the truth is that they are some of the most rewarding subjects that you can study.
Physics, for example, can help teach you more about how things work, as well as teach you about the laws and phenomena that guide our universe.
What’s more, physics is a highly in-demand degree at the moment, particularly in certain sectors such as teaching, where there is a shortage of qualified teachers entering the classrooms to teach a new generation of students.
So, if you’re thinking about what degree you could take at university and you have an interest in physics, it’s definitely worth researching the benefits of taking physics at university.
There are plenty of different physics degrees and physics courses available at universities. For example, you could study:
- Applied physics;
- Astrophysics; or
- Theoretical physics, to name a few.
You can also study physics either as a single subject or in conjunction with another such as mathematics.
Equally, it’s important to do your research on which university would be best for you to attend to study physics. Looking at a variety of institutions, from Oxford and Cambridge to UCL and beyond, is well worth doing, and if you can attend their introductory open days and have some interaction with current students to find out more about the curriculum and the lectures they attend then so much the better.
Equally, you should be able to find out more about a particular physics course from the physics department at that university, which should have its own website outlining the kind of work they do and courses they offer.
If you’re still unsure about whether physics is the right subject for you, or you’re not confident that your knowledge of physics is enough to enable you to do well at university, this article highlights some of the benefits of studying physics at university, and also offers some suggestions as to how you can improve your academic performance in the subject.
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10 Great Reasons To Study Physics
If you’re looking for some extra motivation as to why you should study physics, then look no further. Whether you’re thinking about taking physics at A-Level or are trying to figure out whether physics would be a good subject for you to study at university, there are plenty of benefits to be had from studying physics.
For instance, learning about physics can:
Help you understand more about the world around you and how it works. If you want answers to some of the fundamental questions about how the world and the universe more generally works, then physics is the subject for you.
You should learn about a variety of different areas, from electricity and magnetism to Newton's laws, Einstein's theory of general relativity, particle physics, thermodynamics, black holes, gravity, modern physics, and so much more.
Improve your career prospects. Physics graduates are often considered highly employable and can enter a range of different fields, from teaching to nanoscience.
Ensure that you keep learning. Physics isn’t a static subject – new theories and ideas appear all the time. If you want to study a subject that won’t go stale, then physics is certainly one to consider.
If you want to see even more reasons why you should study physics, see our article 10 Great Reasons To Study Physics.
How To Find A Physics And Maths Tutor
If you think that a physics degree might be for you, you might be wondering what your next steps are.
If you’re still studying for your GCSE and A-Level exams, then one of the best things you can do when it comes to setting yourself up to study physics at university is to do as well as you can in your physics exams.
If you’re naturally gifted when it comes to academia and scientific subjects such as physics, biology, and chemistry, then getting good marks might not pose too much of a problem.
However, if you do find yourself struggling at times, whether over particular topics such as wave-particle duality, calculus or algebra, or coping with the demands of your physics course more generally, then it’s reassuring to know that there is help out there to boost your academic performance.
Indeed, given how competitive some university places can be these days, it’s arguably in every student’s best interest to do as well as they can in all of their A-Level subjects and to make sure that they’ve done well in core GCSE subjects such as maths.
If you are looking for ways to do better in your school subjects, then it is worthwhile researching different ways you can undertake additional study, such as:
- Spending more time in the evenings going through your lesson notes and homework;
- Asking your teacher for help after class if there are certain points you have not understood, for example in relation to a particular experiment, or areas such as equations of motion, special relativity, electromagnetic fields, or nuclear reactions; and
- Buying a revision guide to help you prepare for upcoming exams.
Of course, another way to try to improve your marks in physics is to hire a physics and maths tutor. A physics instructor can be a great help, regardless of whether you hire one just to help you through the exam season or if you have one to help you throughout the academic year.
This is because a tutor can provide you with the extra motivation you might be lacking to succeed in your studies, can teach you about aspects of the physics syllabus you might not be comfortable or confident with, and can let you know about different exam techniques and approaches that can help prepare you for the day of your exam.
What’s more, if hiring a tutor is something you’d be interested in, it’s also worthwhile considering whether you’d be best placed to hire a physics and maths tutor to help you.
As physics and maths are very closely linked as subjects, and physics requires a high level of numeracy in order to perform well in the subject, sometimes just improving your ability in maths can be a real help when improving your marks in physics.
When it comes to finding a maths and physics tutor, there are a number of different places that you could look.
For instance, you could ask your teacher if they have any recommendations for tutors, or if they would be available to tutor you themselves.
Equally, you could ask your friends studying physics and maths whether they use a tutor, and if so if they would recommend the one that they’re currently using to you.
If you prefer to make your search for a tutor relatively easy and quick, you can also use online tutoring websites such as Superprof to find your next maths and physics tutor.
By entering your postcode and the subject you’d like tuition in, you’ll be matched with tutors within your local area, as well as those that can provide online tuition if you’d rather have remote lessons.
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How Much Does A Physics And Maths Tutor Cost?
It can sometimes feel as though half the battle of getting a good physics and maths instructor is finding one in the first place that is local to you (or willing to do remote lessons) and has the relevant experience that you’re looking for.
However, another important factor that needs to be considered when it comes to finding your next physics and maths tutor is the matter of cost.
Although you’re likely looking at hiring a tutor to improve your academic performance, the truth is that it’s not worth hiring a tutor that is out of your price range, as this can quickly suck your finances dry and may well mean you don’t have access to the amount of tuition that you’d ideally like to have.
When it comes to the cost of a physics and maths tutor, there are a few different factors to keep in mind:
- How experienced is the tutor in question? A brand new tutor is unlikely to charge as much as a tutor with years of experience;
- Where will the tuition be located? Sometimes, the price of tutors in cities with high living costs such as London can be higher;
- What you can realistically afford to pay per hour of tuition; and
- Why you need tuition in the first instance (e.g. for revision preparation, general course assistance, etc.).
All of the above can have a dramatic impact on how much any prospective tutor will charge for their services.
As an example, say that you would like a tutor for a few weeks just so they can help you revise a couple of well-known areas related to basic physics that may come up in the exam, such as topics related to waves or particles, electricity, electromagnetism, momentum, or radiation, or if you have a question related to a particular equation or principle.
The price of tuition for such services is likely to be lower than if you wanted a maths and physics tutor for the entire academic year to help you with particularly complex or involved areas of the syllabus, for example, areas such as quantum mechanics, classical mechanics / Newtonian physics, cosmology or astronomy.
So What Can I Expect To Pay?
As a very general rule, physics tutors tend to charge between £15 and £30 per hour for their services. However, there are tutors out there that charge more and some that charge less.
The key to finding a tutor for the best price is to understand your own budget from the outset and to communicate this with your tutor so that they know whether they will be able to meet your budget’s requirements.
You can also try different ways to save money on tuition, such as by opting to have online rather than in-person lessons, asking your tutor whether they are open to the idea of offering a discount, having condensed lessons, and choosing group tuition over one to one tuition.
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What Kind Of Job Can You Do With A Physics Degree?
When deciding whether a physics course at university is right for you, part of your decision should factor in what kinds of career opportunities there are likely to be for a physics graduate once you have completed your three or four-year undergraduate course.
Thankfully, physics is a wonderful subject to study at university when it comes to career prospects. This is for a wide number of reasons:
- It teaches you transferable skills that many employers highly value;
- You can work in a number of different industries and roles; and
- It paves the way for further academic study.
For example, a physics degree should help teach you to employ analytical and critical-thinking skills, as you’ll have to interpret a wide variety of data and get used to problem-solving as part of your degree.
These kinds of skills can be highly prized by employers – for example, investment management firms that need people who have good mathematical skills and can model spreadsheets and analyse figures.
What’s more, having a degree in physics doesn’t mean that you have to work as a laboratory assistant, physicist, or scientist. You don't even have to work in labs or take a job specifically linked to your field. Rather, your career path can be very flexible.
So if you’d like to be a mathematician, journalist, accountant, engineer, investment analyst, or work for the government, a degree in physics can help you achieve your goal.
Another great aspect of physics is that it can be a great degree to have as an undergraduate degree if you’re looking to progress on to further study. Many physics undergraduates decide after completing their undergraduate degree that they would like to stay at university and pursue a master’s degree or even a PhD.
While some students may keep studying physics, others may choose to take a master’s degree in a different discipline – again, there are lots of different routes to choose from.
If you need any assistance finding out more about what you can do with a degree in physics, don’t be afraid to contact your school’s career adviser, or even consult a website such as Prospects, which is a great resource for finding out more about what career paths a degree could potentially offer.