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Am I too dull/unintelligent to continue in Electrical Eng

  1. Apr 23, 2015 #1
    It took me 15 minutes to read one page of my introduction to circuits book.

    It took me 8 hours to read 30 pages and I remember only about 10% of what I read. (meaning I can't really summarize to someone else what I learned after reading). It takes me at least 3 readings to grasp 50% of the concepts.

    Should I give up on engineering? I feel so slow compared to other students.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2015 #2
    No you're not.

    To clarify: learning material isn't about time spent studying. The important thing is that you're studying correctly. It's also important that you ask your professors for help when you need clarification.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2015
  4. Apr 23, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    You posted this in the wrong forum, I moved it for you.
  5. Apr 23, 2015 #4


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    Nothing wrong with slow if you have the right answer in the end. Slow means you're thinking about the information instead of using existing brain patterns to find the solution. Repetition builds mental patterns, more patterns provide quicker paths for information storage and retrieval for new information. So it will be almost automatic (until you hit some completely new concept that requires time to integrate).
  6. Apr 23, 2015 #5
    Adding on to what the others have said, not only is that to be expected and maybe even advantageous, you are not really thinking slowly (unless you're drowsy or something). Subconsciously you'll be finding tons of connections, even if you have to digest it, and going slowly will only help with that. There is a definite learning curve to this kind of thinking, and nobody is perfectly attuned to it to start out. Echoing what nsaspook said, repetition will strengthen these subconscious connections so you'll be able to use and recall them when you get a good enough handle on things to start making sense of it all.

    Typing this I realize that this is very similar to being introduced to "complex" math like algebra and proof geometry when you only have knowledge of basic math operations (assuming you didn't really get much out of pre algebra, which I assume most people probably don't), you seem to yourself to be very slow and stupid, but if you throw yourself into it instead of worrying about whether or not you can do it, you'll get oriented eventually. It just takes time, which in college you'll have plenty of.

    Best of luck with your studies
  7. Apr 23, 2015 #6


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    With a subject like electronics there is also a lot to be said for hands on experience, or even the process of building simulated circuits. Some learners need to have a complete grasp of the theory before they start on any project. Others really just need an introduction to basic concepts and then a reference to come back to when they encounter practical problems.

    We can't tell you if you're too slow to be successful in electrical engineering, particularly based on a couple of statements about the speed of your reading.

    But you can do a self-assessment. In doing so, some of the major flags include a massive loss of interest in the entire field, or a persistent pull (longer than a few weeks) towards another area, or consistently falling well below the median result in your classes on exams and assignments. Take a little longer to get through the material is generally not a major flag that you're on the wrong path.
  8. Apr 24, 2015 #7
    That is slow IMO, but you might be making some bad assumptions on how best to learn engineering, reading and remembering every single word your textbook says and trying to be able to regurgitate it to someone (which also doesn't mean you can do problems) is an unnecessary time sink. I like bare bones approach to learning the material than textbooks generally give (and I've found lots of engineering texts are unnecessarily wordy), so I've often supplemented with the schaum's outline series of books which also give lots of solved problems you can use for practice. They're a great supplement to fill in gaps or confusing detail in a textbook:


    I find looking for outside sources that meld with how I like learning materials make it much clearer when I'd go back to a textbook that took me a long time to read because it wasn't clear.

    Another thing is learning how to put the material into your own words, which means you really understand it, a good explanation is presented here by Scott Young:

    Also the speed with which you learn things can improve, I found I learned lower division subjects much slower than upper division ones mostly because I hadn't yet build my foundation at the time, but when it was built the speed with which you can learn things that build off of that basic knowledge comes much quicker. Good luck.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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