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Other Do books exist just for review study material?

  1. Jun 26, 2015 #1
    That's the question. When I ask that I'm talking about science books, most importantly, Mathematics and Physics. My aim is to avoid taking notes, I think it would be a waste of time if there are summarized books out there.

    For example, there could be summarized books written for refreshing own's knowledge about Physics, but I have seek (not much) and didn't find what I was looking for.

    Thank you very much :) .
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Schaum's Outlines often summarizes Math and Science topics.

    My favorite is the Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables:


    With respect to not taking notes, that in my opinion is a bad idea. You need to develop the skills to take notes while you are listening to your teacher. Later on in life, you may need this skill as you document what you do on a day to day basis for monthly reports to your boss or when collecting data from experiments or when doing some analytical project.

    Note taking can be a meditational practice where you train yourself to remember what was said earlier in class as you fill in the details that were missed. Note summarization is also a skill needed to succinctly describe something during a teaching moment.
  4. Jun 26, 2015 #3
    That book seems to be very useful, thanks :D .

    Do you think that taking notes from the teacher's speech is the unique way to develop that skill? The examples you've given doesn't match with hearing someone and writting down what he says. I think that taking notes in laboratory or documenting my daily work is not a problem for me.
  5. Jun 26, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Consider the case where you get to attend a very important science conference and the topic is really interesting. You need to develop the dual skill of listening, watching and taking notes at the same time with enough detail to be able to fill in the missing partsof your notes later on.

    When I was in highschool, I was a terrible note taker, I would listen and remember. The problem was I couldn't always remember enough to reconstruct things. As I got more serious about learning, I'd look in the book and was able to fill in the missing details. This worked well with math and science classes but not so well with history and literature where so much of the discussion came from outside sources not always described in the book.

    I had an American History teacher who was quite adept at providing backing material to support a theme in the book. Many times, he'd give us a sheet of obscure events to look up. Short term wise it was a real pain but long term we began to see the method to his madness and got a deeper understanding of the state of the nation at the time of the event. Basically, he made history come to life.
  6. Jun 26, 2015 #5


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    Education Advisor

    The previously mentioned Schaum's Outlines work very well for a quick summary of the material to use as a reference. However, taking notes is a crucial skill in a scientific field. This doesn't mean that one needs to copy down everything that goes up on the board or every word of the lecture, however, taking notes on key points, formulas, diagrams, etc. is very important. Even with a great memory, most people can't remember ALL of the details of a lecture. Having a rough outline of the key points that one can fill in with the details later is very beneficial, and will continue to be very beneficial throughout an entire career.
  7. Jun 26, 2015 #6


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    Gold Member

    One of the best way of testing , and/or filling in your knowledge of notes, or any material is by asking and trying to answer the following:

    1)What are we trying to do; what is this concept for/about?

    2)How are we trying to do it, i.e., what means are we using to accomplish our goal?

    3)Does it work?

    4) Find examples.

    This comes from the book: "Knowledge as design" , by D.Perkins. Perkins argues that knowledge is designed to serve a specific purpose, the purpose being to gain a better understanding of certain processes.

    e.g., psychology is designed with the purpose of understanding (human behavior-observable, or the human mind). How does psychology attempt to
    accomplish this? Does the methodology, i.e., the answer to 2 accomplish what it sets to accomplish? What examples are there of this?

    A simpler example: A knife .
    1)Purpose: A knife is designed to be able to cut through objects
    2) How does the design attempt to accomplish this: the sharp edge of the knife allows to exert a large amount of pressure (maybe someone can correct details)
    3)Does the explanation in 2 work, i.e., does a large force exerted in a small surface (i.e., high pressure) effectively cut through objects?
    4) Examples.

    Basically, if you understand it well-enough, you should be able to explain to a smart-enough outsider so that s/he has a good general understanding of the concept, even though they may not be able to grasp all the technicalities associated with the concept.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
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