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Applying for a scholarship, I'd appreciate some help

  1. Feb 24, 2016 #1
    Hello, my name is Ale.
    First of all I'm really sorry to be a bother to you.
    I am applying for the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship this year, It's a full-paid scholarship that allows you to do your undergrad in Japan. I'm applying for this because I'm from Paraguay, and I want to become an engineer. But the thing is the education level isn't that great in Paraguay, and I don't really have the money to study in USA or EU. I have some background in Math, Physics and Chemistry olympics. But those really aren't at the same level as this test, or so I think.

    If you'd lend me a hand on this I'd be really thankful.
    These are the syllabi;
    http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/eju/examinee/syllabus/mathematics.html
    http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/eju/examinee/syllabus/science_phy.html
    http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/eju/examinee/syllabus/science_chem.html

    I am currently studying mathematics from khan academy, since I want to re-learn everything because I'm kind of rusty right now.
    http://puu.sh/njyDi/e8fdb19c98.png [Broken] This is how far I've gotten up until today.

    I was told that I should not start on the sears zemansky (I'm going to study physics from there) until I have a basic knowledge of Calculus, which I do not, only basic school level. So I'm holding that off until I have that knowledge (or should I not? Can I go through the sears zemansky without that?)

    And I have NO idea where I should start or where I should study Chemistry from.

    I would really love to get this scholarship so I can get a better level of education, I would be very grateful if you'd lend me some help. Maybe some advice in how to approach this.

    Thanks, I look forward to your responses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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  3. Feb 24, 2016 #2

    blue_leaf77

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    In undergrad physics, the only parts in which moderate level of calculus is necessary are when dealing with Lagrangian and Hamiltonian equation as well as when finding electric field and magnetic field due to continuous charge and current distribution. I believe these subjects are not taught in hihgschool level, at least in my homecountry.
    Quoting the statement in the link:
    You should concentrate on what have been taught in your highschool. Learning basic calculus will still be of great help though. For this, I suggest that you start by learning differential and integral calculus. These are typically taught in undergrad physics, which means the required level of math is that of highschool level. It shouldn't be too difficult if you had put maximum effort and attention during your highschool math classes.

    It might also be helpful to have copies of past tests.
     
  4. Feb 24, 2016 #3

    ZapperZ

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    Wait, what?!

    I had just finished teaching my intro physics students how to find the center of mass of a solid object, and we used calculus! Furthermore, without calculus, the typical kinematical equations that students use in basic, intro physics classes will appear as if they come out of nowhere and are different equations, when in reality, they all came out of one place!

    So no, you don't have to wait for subjects in E&M or Hamiltonian/Lagrangian to be dealing with "moderate level of calculus". You deal with it right from the start!

    Zz.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2016 #4

    blue_leaf77

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    Well I know that most part of mathematical methods in physics belong to calculus. The reason I stressed on the area of applicability of intermediate to advanced level of calculus was because I believe the OP has already been introduced to calculus during his highschool time, albeit he might not realize he was studying part of calculus. By graduating from high school, typically students should know how to perform easy integrals and differentiation. Given his prelim knowledge in calculus, the OP can start by reviewing his old math notes and expand it on his own. However, I just doubt that there will tasks where the applicant is required to be equipped with abilities to solve very intricate calculus problem such as those arising in advanced classical mechanics or electrodynamics. Most applicants he/she will be competing with are highschoolers anyway.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2016 #5

    ZapperZ

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    I have no idea what you said here.

    The OP said that he/she does not have knowledge of calculus. You somehow assume that just because he/she graduated from high school, that he/she has sufficient knowledge of doing integration and differentiation. How did you get that from this: "I was told that I should not start on the sears zemansky (I'm going to study physics from there) until I have a basic knowledge of Calculus, which I do not, only basic school level. So I'm holding that off until I have that knowledge (or should I not? Can I go through the sears zemansky without that?)"? Do you have intimate knowledge of the high-school curriculum in Paraguay?

    In my intro physics class, if you can't do differentiation and integration, you'll crash and burn. There is no need to wait for E&M or Hamiltonian/Lagrangian mechanics for that to happen.

    Zz.
     
  7. Feb 24, 2016 #6

    blue_leaf77

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    No, that's not what I implied. I assume that he know how to do simple differentiation and integration, which are part of calculus, but that the OP might not realize that calculus is actually all about differential and integral - in his high school he just got to touch the surface only. I just can't believe there are high school who do not teach their students differential and integral at all. I do encourage him/her to self-study the further stages in this subject with what he has gotten, this what I said in the last paragraph in post #2. So, in the end it comes down to whether or not the OP has been introduced to the concept of differentiation and integration. If not, then I am wrong with my assumption, if right he/she can then proceed on his own with what was taught by his/her teacher. Undergrad physics calculus can be tackled with highschool math as a prelim knowledge as far as I can remember.
     
  8. Feb 24, 2016 #7

    ZapperZ

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    This happens in the US very frequently. In fact, I'd guess that almost the majority of US high school students do not graduate with any calculus, especially if they do not plan on going into STEM subject areas.

    I've had students enrolled in my intro physics class that never had a calculus class, even when calculus was clearly listed as a prerequisite.

    Zz.
     
  9. Feb 24, 2016 #8

    jtbell

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    In the US, in many colleges and universities, calculus is a "co-requisite" for an introductory physics course that uses a textbook like Sears/Zemansky. That is, you must at least be studying the first semester of calculus (which covers basic differentiation and integration) at the same time as the first semester of physics. The first semester of the physics course does not actually use much calculus for problem-solving. You do need to know (at suitable points in the course) the basic concepts of differentiation and integration, in order to understand the derivation of important equations. Problem-solving usually needs only simple polynomial, trigonometric (sin, cos, tan) and exponential (ex) functions.
     
  10. Feb 24, 2016 #9

    blue_leaf77

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    Hmm, it differs then from my experience. During my high school, introduction to differentiation and integration were part of the third year syllabus. The scope was very limited though, we learned only the derivatives and integral of polynomial and trigonometric. We have not, however, dealt with differential equation and/or difficult integral.
     
  11. Feb 24, 2016 #10

    ZapperZ

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    That's not the issue. The issue here is that you should never transpose YOUR own experience with that of others, especially if they are in a different part of the world. It is why I asked if you have an intimate knowledge of the school system in Paraguay.

    All we can go by is what the person TELLS us, regardless of what we THINK or assume.

    Zz.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2016 #11

    micromass

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    Right. At the very least, you need to ASK the person "hey, do you know the concept of a derivative" instead of assuming he does.
     
  13. Feb 24, 2016 #12
    Indeed, as a response to you and the other person, The highschool syllabus in Paraguay only does derivatives of polynomial and trigonometric and limits (and I was in a "top private school" in my country!). I do know the concept of derivatives but I have absolutely no Idea when it comes to differenciation and integration, so I guess I'd have to tackle that before I start on my journey to the sears zemansky.

    Thank you very much for your responses, all of you. I appreciate that you're trying to help.

    I have time until June to achieve that level, do you think it's remotely possible? Can I get some help with a study plan or something?
    I have past exams papers too if you'd like to take a look.
    Here are some;
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/al7gqc49yy2itom/S1 MATH B 2013.PDF?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zm0c205rny9da0s/S1 Phy 2013.PDF?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4dgl8vuea1utpgz/S1 Chem 2013.PDF?dl=0

    Thankyou for your kindness.
     
  14. Feb 24, 2016 #13

    blue_leaf77

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    Judging from this single example, the physics exam does not seem to require advanced level of calculus. Arithmetic along with some good memory on some physics formula and creativity will apparently smoothen your way. However, I must acknowledge that the questions are quite insightful. Despite this, learning some techniques in integral and differential calculus will not hurt., since you know only one variant of the problem set. You have slightly more than three months, having this short prep time I suggest that you allocate a balanced exposure between learning the fundamentals and practice. There are such books as Schaum's outline series which focuses on problem solving. How well did you do in your highschool math? If you did very well, believe me, undergrad calculus for physics students is not that scary. You will start with the definition of derivatives in terms of limit, and then the integrals.

    This forum also facilitates advice request for a study plan, it's in the same subforum. Some of our respected members have seen numerous research proposal/study plan from students planing to work under their instruction. It's just that, you have to follow the guidelines about "synthesizing" this essay for the particular scholarship program you are applying. Alternatively, you can also ask past applicants/entrants to this program, as far as I remember there is one online forum designed mainly for non-natives living in Japan. Try searching e.g. "Japanese English Forum". There is a specialized thread there which discusses everything about the scholarship you mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  15. Feb 24, 2016 #14
    Thanks for the advice, I will do my best to get this scholarship. Appreciate it.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2016 #15

    StatGuy2000

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    To the OP:

    I have a question for you. Why seek a scholarship in Japan specifically? I know you stated that you really cannot afford to study in the US or the EU countries, but what about studying in other Latin American countries like Argentina, Chile, Brazil, or Mexico? I've known students who have completed their undergraduate studies in these countries who have subsequently pursued graduate studies in Canada, and they were about as well prepared with graduate school (in math) as any other students I've met.
     
  17. Feb 25, 2016 #16

    jtbell

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    Differential calculus is derivatives, so if you know basic the basic concept of a derivative (especially the fact that it corresponds to the slope of a line that is tangent to the graph of a function at a given point), and how to calculate derivatives of simple functions, you have a good start.

    Typically, derivatives come up near the beginning of an intro physics course (position --> velocity --> acceleration), but integrals come up a bit later (work done by a variable force), so you have some time to prepare for those.
     
  18. Feb 25, 2016 #17
    First of all, because the scholarship is awesome. I mean, they pay EVERYTHING and even give you a monthly stipend. I am aiming to go to either Tokyo University, Osaka University, Kyoto University or the Tokyo Institute of Technology. These universities have a really really good level on engineering, besides I get to experience a whole new culture and I think I'd learn a lot from living in a country so far away. After that I'd possibly do grade-school in germany. Just yesterday I sat down and had a talk over some coffee with an engineer from Austria, he's 70 years old and a phd in engineering (I think he specialized in math or something) He founded a mechatronic university in Austria and worked with USA and Palestina's military. He guided me really well and informed me of all the oportunities I have and really helped me decide what I want to do.

    Oh, I see now. This is really helpful advice, I wasn't quite informed on this. Thanks a lot, I'll start tackling the sears right away then. I hope I make it in time, I mean I only got time until half of june. Well, wish me luck. I will most definitely work hard for this, thanks for the guidance.
     
  19. Feb 25, 2016 #18
    Op do you speak Japanese fluently? From what I understand Japanese are resistant towards adopting English.

    For chemistry I can recommend

    Chemistry for dummies
    chemistry: the central science

    One book I will definitely recommend for mathematics and physics is schaums outlines: mathematics with applications to science and technology.

    If I can say one thing, you can definitely get into a good graduate program in US/UK/Canada/EU after doing bachelors at your home country (which may be easier). Lots of students go to these countries after doing their bachelors at these countries, and as the person above pointed out they do well.

    Also note in countries where the language isnt english, the english programs tend not to be so good or rigorous as their local language counterparts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  20. Feb 25, 2016 #19
    I can read to a certain extent (which people tend to think is the hardest part about Japanese) And I practice my listening and speaking through skype with natives.
    But even if I didn't have a certain base, I would still be OK.
    The scholarship lasts 5 years, you spend one year out of those five at a language institute. You spend the ENTIRE year learning how to write, read and speak Japanese and are expected to come out fluent, THEN you take the entrance exams to the universities (it's pretty tedious to be honest, that's why I'm studying already so I have a head start)

    i'll be checking those books out! Thanks a lot I was looking for this, I'm sorry for asking to be spoonfed.
     
  21. Feb 25, 2016 #20
    Hmm I've updated the post. So you will be doing the program in Japanese? well that would be excellent. Good luck.
     
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