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Feeling like I forget everything I learn

  1. Oct 29, 2014 #1

    I'm a 3rd(last) year physics student.

    I have the feeling that I am forgetting everything that I learn very rapidly. For example, in my 1st year
    I had things like classical mechanics, optics and classical electrodynamics. At the time I understood these subjects pretty well, and aced them(I even have a 4.0 GPA). But when I look at classical electrodynamics(or whatever) problems that the 1st year students get right now , I cannot solve them anymore. I just feel stupid all the time (see my name).

    This is making me think about taking a break after I graduate, to re-learn or at least re-read the material before I start a Master.

    Is this normal? do you guys have this too?

    (sorry if my English is bad, It's not my 1st language)
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, this is normal. The effect never goes away. Basically what you don't practice you forget but once you start practicing some of it comes back or it tickles your brain to say wait I think I forgot to do something here.

    In my case, I remember my HS math upto trig pretty well, Calculus, Linear Algebra and DE are a lot fuzzier where I can read and understand what I see but couldn't reproduce it to save myself. I've been trying to recover my Vector Calculus and Tensor Analysis and learn Differential Forms for the first time after more than a few decades from school. My studies are sporadic but online teaching videos help like Khans Academy or MathIsPower4U.

    A word of caution should you decide not to go to grad school then remember you have upto five years before you start to seriously forget what you learned. The forgetting is last course first order. This is only a rule of thumb so consider it as needed.
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