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How much could I teach (myself) in 1 year?

  1. Jan 3, 2016 #1
    I'm gonna skip to the chase and give you the basics of my situation.

    I'm very weak at physics as i didn't take any high school classes (wasn't interested at the time) and also didn't finish high school due to personal reasons.

    I'm fairly good at algebra, some calculus but could use a lot more learning in the math department and willing to work my behind off to do so.

    I did go back to get my NCEA Level 2 & 3 (Equivalent to GED) but at that time I wasn't sure what I wanted to pursue study-wise, so didn't focus so much on Math/Science.

    My plan is to self-study as much math as possible (calculus, linear algebra, differential equations etc...) within a year. That means I may have to start from basics to really get a strong grip.

    After that I will learn physics from scratch then hopefully move to more advanced levels of physics.

    I have a night-shift job so have hours to study (10 + hours) throughout the day, access to books & good online sources.

    After I hopefully have a good understand I wish to enter University (University Of Auckland OR Massey University).

    Now, I know you can't actually give me an exact number but is it possible do you think to learn a greta amount of math + physics within a year MYSELF? I mean considering I will have 10+ hours per day 6 days a week to learn?


    I want to do Astrophysics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2016 #2
    It really really depends on you. That is: how good you are in math, and how deep you want to do things.

    How good you are at math is something you probably don't know right now. But if you struggle then you will struggle. In undergrad I was always very good at math. But it happened a lot of times that I struggled for days/weeks/months with a specific concept. And then it happened a lot that I could get through 50 pages of difficult math in a week. It depends on so much factors. You can't really control this.

    Then there is the depth you want to do things. More depth is more understanding, but also takes more time. Will you do a lot of problems of each concept? Will you do harder/more theoretical problems for each concept? Will you focus a lot on proofs or just techniques? Stuff like that.

    And what is your background. You might want to gain some depth in stuff like trigonometry and algebra first, even though you say you understand it well.

    My advice to you is: you're asking the wrong question. The problem is not "how much material could I do in a year", but "how do I study the material the best way possible". Understanding something like calculus takes time. Don't start by handicapping yourself by setting a fixed time to finish this. Just start calculus/algebra/trig/whatever at your own pace and see that you study it well. It doesn't matter at all how long it takes, as long as you understand it well at the end.
  4. Jan 3, 2016 #3
    Honestly with the time you'll have to do this in a year, the only thing stopping you is you. Make sure to employ strong study habits so that you don't slack off and not fully take advantage of your time to get to the highest level in math you possibly can within this time.
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