Last summer, I decided to take A level physics and revised it myself for the exams. I used a variety of resources and I will cover them in a future post. However, there were other things I learnt besides physics itself.
First of all, I found that I was not above making exactly the same mistakes I had been telling people not to make for years. At first, I forgot to convert units, use equations properly or express numbers in the form that the question suggested.
It is easy to correct someone's mistake when they have already made it, which is exactly what I was doing when I was teaching. However, preventing myself from making such a mistake was more difficult.
I also came across other things I hear students complaining about all the time - Some things would just not go in, unless I did Shed Loads of Practise (in my case, it was quantum physics), there was a topic I really didn't like and I had to power through it (in this case it was fields - I didn't have anything against the subject itself, it just went on and on and on and on...) and I kept on thinking I understood things until the exam mark scheme told me that I had done terribly. I had to practise, practise, practise until I had understood the exacting language of physics. Or the exam board. Someone was making it exacting.
This is one of the reasons why I found taking physics A level really useful. It was a reminder to me of what the students go through when they are faced with a new topic and how to overcome them. I had realised that I had forgotten many things about learning for exams that I needed reminding and now I can apply that to my tutoring.