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How to study an advanced physics textbook effectively?

  • #1
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20

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello PF,

This by no means the first time I inquire about the topic. I have read a lot on how to study from textbooks and I have practiced all methods and read extensively. Yet, I have never felt that I truly accomplished my purpose and mastered the given material.

The thing is that while reading most textbooks, I always have problems regarding stamina. I can never last and read enough to feel that I did anything. And it's not that the activity is exhausting, rather its demotivating. For example, lately, I was starting out with a new book and I had some basic idea of the topics covered. However the book was too big and it felt like a big bulk, yet I managed to put myself to work and start reading. Even though there was nothing hard in the material I was reading in the first chapter, it felt useless and I stopped, then I skipped to the second and started reading and the same happened. I never feel that I am actually learning anything from these reads.

The weird thing is that when I am taking a class, the supplementary book is always easier to get through even though the level may be the same. It seems lighter and clearer making it less of a grind.

The above problem has led me to switch between a large number of books in the last month without actually starting any of them.

I hope that someone can relate and hopefully figured out a way to get through the issue. Maybe I just need motivation or I need a course about the material before reading, but then what is the point.

What is your opinion?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
tnich
Homework Helper
1,048
336
Hello PF,

This by no means the first time I inquire about the topic. I have read a lot on how to study from textbooks and I have practiced all methods and read extensively. Yet, I have never felt that I truly accomplished my purpose and mastered the given material.

The thing is that while reading most textbooks, I always have problems regarding stamina. I can never last and read enough to feel that I did anything. And it's not that the activity is exhausting, rather its demotivating. For example, lately, I was starting out with a new book and I had some basic idea of the topics covered. However the book was too big and it felt like a big bulk, yet I managed to put myself to work and start reading. Even though there was nothing hard in the material I was reading in the first chapter, it felt useless and I stopped, then I skipped to the second and started reading and the same happened. I never feel that I am actually learning anything from these reads.

The weird thing is that when I am taking a class, the supplementary book is always easier to get through even though the level may be the same. It seems lighter and clearer making it less of a grind.

The above problem has led me to switch between a large number of books in the last month without actually starting any of them.

I hope that someone can relate and hopefully figured out a way to get through the issue. Maybe I just need motivation or I need a course about the material before reading, but then what is the point.

What is your opinion?
I have had the most success learning material from a textbook when I set myself the goal of solving some specific problem in the area covered by the book. it gets me to think about the material in the context of that problem, and to measure my progress in terms of how close I am getting to solving it.
 

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