Is there gender equality when it comes to passing or scoring A for physics? You may be aware of the stereotype of boys being better at physics than girls. What are the reasons behind this stereotype? Do girls find it harder to excel at physics? Do these reasons apply to girls only?
In this post, we will explore the reasons behind this stereotype and why this is a myth. We will also highlight the difficulty in passing or scoring A for physics and how understanding this can enable you to secure better results in the subject.
We have divided this post into three sections to help you easily find what you’re looking for:
Reasons for the Stereotype of Boys being better at Physics
If you looked at the number of girls taking physics at H1/H2 level in JC or IBDP SL/HL classes, they will easily be outnumbered by the boys. At the JC level or IBDP level, the percentage of girls doing physics usually ranges from 20 to 30 percent. This gender gap is often used to point out that boys are better at physics and girls find physics more challenging.
70 to 80%
20 to 30%
One study provided a trivial reason for this gender gap. It pointed out that boys get to learn projectile motion whenever they go to the toilets. This gives boys an unfair advantage over girls when it comes to learning physics.
On a serious note, the real reason for the significantly lower number of girls doing physics at higher level has to do with university courses and career options. It boils down to simple gender preference and male dominance in career options (Physicist, Engineering, Architect) that require physics.
Reasons Why the Stereotype is False
The stereotype that boys are better at physics holds no water in the gender equality era we live in. Thankfully this is supported by numbers when we look at the number of students doing pure physics at GCE O level and their results. Due to the common streaming at the end of secondary 2, there is no significant difference in the number of boys and girls taking up pure physics as a subject for O level in most schools. At the results level, there is also no significant difference to show that boys are better at physics. In fact, in some years, the results show that girls outperform the boys in both number of passes and distinctions.
What happens after the post secondary level where the number of girls taking up physics is significantly reduced is more a matter of personal choice. It does not necessarily mean that boys are better at physics than girls.
Why do boys and girls find it a challenge to pass or score A for Physics (GCE O, A level, IGCSE, IP or IBDP SL/HL)?
Even though there is only significant difference in the number of girls taking physics at the post secondary level, there are some common reasons why both boys and girls find it harder to pass or score A for physics. These reasons are even more valid for students doing physics in post secondary education such as H1/H2 or IBDP SL/HL levels. These reasons are briefly mentioned below:
- The learning process for physics is difficult. You cannot just google a physics solution and expect to learn. Physics requires a certain amount of memory work but unlike other subjects, you also need to apply what you’ve learnt to solving problems.
- Students don’t try to understand the concepts but instead memorize some procedures and formulas. The same thought process may not work for all problems. When a student encounters a problem slightly different to the one they’ve seen before, they find that the previous method does not work. They get confused when they do not understand what they have done wrong.
- The concepts in physics are highly interconnected. In other subjects, students who do not understand one topic might still understand the next one. Physics usually involves starting with basic concepts and building on these concepts. If you fail to grasp concepts in current topic, you are most certainly not going to follow the next topic in lessons.
- Students are used to having information at their fingertips via google search engine. They take for granted that concepts can be learnt in a short amount of time or at the last minute. However, physics is a subject, like math, that requires time and devotion. It require students to spend more time to learn a concept and master its applications.
Equipped with this understanding, hopefully it will enable you to take the necessary steps to secure better results in physics.
Engage a good Physics Tutor
Whether you are a boy or girl struggling to grapple with the concepts of physics, we are here to help. We will help you understand concepts, connect the dots, provide starting points to solve each particular type of problem. We are is competent in teaching physics at GCE O level, IGCSE, IP, IBDP (SL/HL) and H1/H2 for A level. You can make use of our expertise at Tuitioncafe in our years of helping students to secure their passes and distinctions in Physics.
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