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Should I Work Out Every Problem in the Book? 
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#1
Dec1112, 11:57 AM

P: 25

Ok, this is a serious question. It seems like some experience will be lost if I don't do this, but like most selfstudy efforts, it's time consuming. Any suggestions?



#2
Dec1112, 12:03 PM

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#3
Dec1112, 12:07 PM

P: 25

And is there anything else with doing a lot of problems that I need to be doing in order to improve my understanding. It seems like doing problems is the only way to really physics. 


#4
Dec1112, 12:17 PM

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P: 641

Should I Work Out Every Problem in the Book?
Doing physics (or math for that matter) is really the only way to learn it. It's one thing to understand what the professor does during lectures; it all makes sense and looks easy when they work examples on the board. However, it's another thing to be able to put pencil to paper and work problems yourself. The more problems you work, the more you will begin to understand the concepts and how they relate to each other. 


#5
Dec1112, 12:25 PM

P: 25




#6
Dec1112, 12:33 PM

P: 452

It depends on the book. If the book has ~200 problems at the end of each chapter it is probably to much or most of the problems are trivial and repetitive. If you have 1030 problems at the end of the chapter it may be a good idea to try most of them.



#7
Dec1212, 12:48 AM

P: 783

Here is what I do in mathematics:
1) Read the text of the chapter. Try to solve the example solved problems within the text without seeing the solution. And then look at the full solution, and see if you were right (or wrong and see why). 2) Look at the problems at the end of the section. See which ones involve brute force and which ones involve thinking. Skip the ones which involve brute force, and then do the ones which involve thinking (these are often the true/false problems, as well as the "prooftype" problems. 3) By the end of this, the material should be thoroughly grasped, but there may still be problems you couldn't solve. Leave them for now, and take a break. 4) Attempt the critical thinking problems when you get back. 5) Repeat steps 34 until you are sure that every problem is within your reach. 6) Prove the theorems in the text. Sometimes this will be impossible because it requires advanced knowledge from advanced courses. Textbooks will usually mention this. Write the theorem down somewhere, so you can attempt the proof at some later point during your lifetime (by which time you might probably have gained the necessary knowledge). So yes, you should *KNOW* how to solve every problem, but you shouldn't necessarily solve them. Just at least make sure you can map the problem's solution properly in your head. If you can't, then solve it with paper. BiP 


#8
Dec1212, 07:33 AM

P: 28

I think it'd be better to genuinely understand the chapter in a few readings and realize what message its trying to conveythen go through the problems to try and get a mental revision of what you just learnt and see if they could be applied theredirectly or indirectly.And if you feel you can work it out using a different methodthen do that.Not necessary to do donkey work on each problem.Just jot down steps for challenging ones if you don't have time.
And I'm just a novice,but I think reading relevant journal articles after finishing off some chapters in physics and maths would be lovely. PS:I remember getting paranoid if I used to get one answer wrong. Thats really demotivating.Avoid that and just enjoy what you had just learnt! 


#9
Dec1212, 07:42 AM

P: 27

I have a related question to this one. Do you guys think it makes sense to solve problems to which no solutions are given?



#10
Dec1212, 08:57 AM

P: 28

There's always physicsforums.



#11
Dec1212, 10:37 AM

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#12
Dec1212, 11:14 AM

P: 25

So here's a checklist from what I've collected from everyone's suggestions.
1) Read a section in the chapter. 2) Then, do the example problems for that section without looking at the solutions. 3) After that, look at the solution and see where you agree, but more importantly, where you differ from the solution. 4) Understand why you went wrong, and make a note (mental or physical) about it 5) Look at the problem set and answer the ones relevant to that section. If the problems get too redundant, simply write down the outline of the solution. Skip the ones that you are unable to solve. 6) Check your solutions. 7) Review. 8) If critical thinking questions are present, answer them next 9) Review. 10) Figure out how to solve the problems you couldn't solve from different sources like PF, teachers, mentors, books, etc. 11) If within mathematical ability, work out every theorem, every proof, and make sure you have it down to the bone. If not, skip for now, but make a note of it and get back to it when mathematical ability is improved. 12) Repeat the steps for all the other sections until the entire chapter is done. 13) Review 14) Read up articles related to the chapter 15) Smile, because you now have a very firm understanding of the chapter you just covered. 


#13
Dec1212, 11:47 AM

P: 783

BiP 


#14
Dec1212, 12:59 PM

P: 25

haha awesome! thanks !



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