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Other How to catch up in physics again after years of being out?

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I just got a taught Master offer in Physics (part-time mode for 2 years) and I don't know what to do....

First of all, I have a BSc in Applied Physics which I graduated in 2011. I study Physics because it is interesting. I felt happy when I got to understand something new (about the universe).

After graduation, I didn't pursue further studyin Physics. Instead, I studied Accounting becuase in my place (Hong Kong) it is more preferable to get a perofessiona qualification (e.g. lawyer, doctor, accountant etc) to substain your living and have a better career prospect.

I have just gotten my CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license and have been working in the acounting field (on and off) for around 4 years. Honestly, I am not doing very good about my jobs I don't like my job at all (all those clerical works, office politics and girls gossip...). Realistically I will not give up my job (at least not now).

This year, I applied some local taugh master programmes including the MSc in Physics which I didn't think I will get admitted (please don't ask why I still applied it, I was drunk at that time..lol). They usually invite candidates to take a entrance exam and attend interview, instead I have by passed all those and have been offered directly even without a single referee.

I was surprised and its the only taught master offer I have gotten. I think will accept the offer (physics still my interest) though I am not sure I can graduate. I have been leaving the field for so long (almost 7 years), I have forgotten all the maths and most ofo the physics concepts. I don't know how much juice I do I have left.

Nonethless, I still have 6 months before the semester begin. What should I do to catch up the math and physics? Please give me some advices or share of your opinion. It would be gradful if you could give me guidanceor some name of textbooks for my revision and preparation of my coming journey.

Thank you so much.
 
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Please give me some advices or share of your opinion. It would be gradful if you could give me guidanceor some name of textbooks for my revision and preparation of my coming journey.
the first part- taking physics after a gap of 7 years....this can be assessed by you and your stationed environment in life and one can not advise without full details... other part

if you want to refresh the graduate studies...the popular course material in your place of residence will be good as you can discuss with teachers also.
international materials are more or less standard text..

like Berkeley physics course books a series ;or
MIT lectures online...on various topics relevant to your course.;
the Feynman lectures in physics a set of three volumes;
or College Physics- by Sears and Zemansky for basic grounding;
you can ask dumb questions on various sites like the present one..or socratica, physics stack exchange.

i have been a teacher for 42 years but still enjoy answering questions on various sites just to keep our mind working.

regarding CPA thing .i have one of my students working in frontier area in physics having publ. in phys rev. letters recently joined a life

insurance company as data analyser...what i find the financial constraints and the market is forcing a good one in physics to go to strange areas. happy that you are coming back to your area of interest.
 
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Thanks for your opinion!
 
I would recommend that you get a list of the courses that you are expected to take in six months.

Buy the textbooks, if they are not too specialized, and at least skim them over.

Talk to the professors and current students and get a copy of this year's notes. Most schools have this stuff on the Internet these days.

Then find some courses that cover similar topics online, such as Coursera, edX, etc. and take them - you can 'audit' most courses for free. If the courses are archived, then at least watch the videos and try to work a few sample problems from each chapter in the textbooks for the courses you will take in the fall.

It's much easier to focus on a specific task - i.e., "I'll take this Coursera course on senior-level undergraduate quantum mechanics as a refresher and finish in ten weeks" - than it is to try to somehow learn "physics" as a subject. There's too much to learn, you need to focus on just a few relevant areas and get those dusty neurons in your brain to start firing again.

If you can take and "pass" a senior-level class that you have audited online during the spring and summer, then when you start the fall semester as a grad student you should be in about the same intellectual shape as somebody who just graduated from college.

If you have already read the textbooks and done a few problems per chapter, you'll be ahead of the game.

BTW, I've taken some courses online after being out of college for a few *decades*, and the online resources make it a hell of a lot easier to find material to read to fill in the gaps when the textbooks and notes are inadequate. A good search engine is your friend, and there are lots of online calculators and such that are also very helpful.

Using things like this link for quantum mechanics, for example, are an immense aid to handling the math, even as just a 'sanity check' for your own handwritten solutions.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=matrixexp({{0,i},{-i,0}})

You may find that having a list of relevant bookmarks in your browser for certain types of problems, and having the right tools for the job in your 'virtual toolbox', and knowing which tool to use, will be one of the most valuable things you can do in the spring and summer to help you in the fall.
 

Choppy

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I know you didn't ask for these, but a couple comments on your preamble...

Honestly, I am not doing very good about my jobs I don't like my job at all (all those clerical works, office politics and girls gossip...).
If your goal is to make this better, studying physics is not really going to accomplish that. For one most people with master's degrees in physics don't end up working in academia. And secondly, even within academia, you still have to deal with administrative work, office politics and gossip.

This year, I applied some local taugh master programmes including the MSc in Physics which I didn't think I will get admitted (please don't ask why I still applied it, I was drunk at that time..lol).
This strikes me as a flag. Do you really think it's a good idea to make a major life decision like this based on what you did when you were drunk?

They usually invite candidates to take a entrance exam and attend interview, instead I have by passed all those and have been offered directly even without a single referee.
Another flag here. Have you thought about why a program that normally has an admission process that includes an interview and an entrance exam would grant admission to someone without them who's been out of the field for seven years? Something's not adding up.

All of that said, if you do end up entering the master's degree, you might want to start with reviewing the material that's covered on the entrance exam. That's what will be familiar to your colleagues starting the program, and it might also help to identify specific areas you need to polish up on. Beyond, that, I agree with the advice above - look over the course syllabus and start now. Any topics that you're struggling with as you work your way through the reading should be top priority for review.

And have a systematic approach to preparation as well. Make it a goal to put in say two hours every night of study or review. Develop a plan of review with specific goals and work your way through them. A general goal such as "review calculus" is not going to get you very far because it's not specific or measureable.
 

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