1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency?

  1. Nov 11, 2012 #1
    How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency???

    I am beginning calc and and linear algebra simultaneously and things are progressing nicely, although, I realize I do math about 3 hours per day and I have a few gaps in my math foundation. I am working towards the end of a math undergrad degree and curious, what is a common amount to study math per day? my goal is get solidly to the end of differential equations from where I am now. Conceivably what would be reasonable amount of time to reach this end (varying I'm assuming with hours studied per day).

    Do I need to increase my study time to 6 hours per day? What are the common/average amounts most people study/day.

    I find that I am so eager/impatient I must admit, however, math is not something you zoom through, in that it is quite immense amount of work no matter what.

    Does anyone have any experience about this? I'd appreciate any comments pertaining to this!

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2012 #2

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency

    My answer is not going to be helpful to you. But you need to study as much as you need to know the material. Some people need to study a lot, others just read the text and understand everything. If you don't know the material after 3 hours of studying, then you need to study more.

    Also, in general: the more you study, the better you will know things (depends on how you study of course).
     
  4. Nov 11, 2012 #3
    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency

    This is going to be dependent on your current and past professors, you can easily study really a lot or very little depending on how well you know the material. If a past professor skipped sections (it happens) you will likely have to work harder in the future. During differential equations studying 3 hours a day for myself was not uncommon.

    Some of the more complicated topics in mathematics in general I could easily study 6 hours a day.

    One of the best things to do if your struggling is to go in during office hours and ask your professor questions about what you are confused with. If this was unavailable I suspect no amount of studying with my current book could bridge the gap needed to pass well.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2012 #4
    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency

    so if I study 6 hours per day should I get to the end of diff equations in a 1-2 years. Does that sound about right or does it generally take a bit longer at that rate.

    I am about middle-range in terms of aptitude/understanding ability.

    I would love some time projections from people have progressed from calc to diff. equations.
     
  6. Nov 11, 2012 #5
    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency

    If you mean just the mechanics of solving DE's, then 1-2 hours a day for 1-2 months should be enough for each typical college introductory math course. This does vary to how you study and background. My method was about 5-10 minutes of observing an example and the rest being entirely practice from the exercises in the text. However, some extra time should be dedicated to understanding why some techniques are valid.
     
  7. Nov 12, 2012 #6
    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency

    I don't know about hours spent, but it took two years from starting calculus to finishing diff eq. However, it took a lot longer to have what I consider to be a satisfactory understanding of differential equations. Probably somewhere in grad school, like a year ago when I took the graduate level course. The reality is that many undergraduate differential equations courses, like those based on Boyce and DiPrima are very taught in a very shallow way. It was a big disappointment when I took differential equations the first time, and only after years of reading other things, like physics, real analysis, and other things did I get anything like the understanding that I, with my mathematical spidey-sense, intuitively sensed was missing when I first studied it.
     
  8. Nov 12, 2012 #7
    Re: How long to get to the end of differential equations or graduate level competency


    Thanks, great info!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook