During the second week of April, SCCS students Caspian Brenner and Shane Smith will participate in the highly competitive, academically rigorous PhysicsBowl exam. This exam is a 40-question, 45-minute timed, multiple-choice test focusing on topics and concepts covered in a typical high school physics course.
“Approximately 10,000 students from all over the world take the exam each year so it's a great way for students to measure their performance against that of a large population of physics students,” explained Deb Brenner. “Shane and Caspian work on practice problems together three days a week. It's great training in problem solving and in working with a partner.”
This enriching opportunity was presented to both Shane and Caspian and they chose to train for this exam. This is their first time taking the PhysicsBowl exam.
“For preparation, Caspian and I have been meeting at least three times a week during a study hall where we work on practice test problems together in the library. If a problem is ever extraordinarily difficult, we ask our physics teacher to help explain,” shared Shane.
Caspian explained, “The preparation is pretty neat for me simply because I have a natural interest in the types of problems the test brings up and I love to problem solve and work them out. While preparing for the test, I have come across new ways to view concepts that I had never considered before and that in turn helps me to solve problems with even more success. I am mostly excited for the PhysicsBowl because I love to take tests and this is a test on a subject that I enjoy so those two things combined mean that even though preparation is quite difficult, I am enjoying it immensely.”
Both students shared that they have grown in their understanding of knowledge regarding Physics and they would recommend this process to other students.
“Be ready to learn concepts you won’t understand at first, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and try to take something away from this whole process so it’s not a futile effort,” continued Shane.
“If there are any students interested in taking the PhysicsBowl exam next year, I say go for it no matter how low you believe you will score,” added Caspian. “It has proved a great experience learning new ways to apply formulas to different situations and since it doesn't count as a grade, there's not much to lose. I would also add that the test and preparation are likely going to be very difficult and at first it can seem overwhelming; however, by continuing to work and see where you might have made mistakes, you can see where you went wrong and correct it. The important thing is not to give up.”
We are cheering for you Shane and Caspian! We know your hard work will pay off.