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Mechanics Physics

  1. Jun 13, 2004 #1
    I am going to start my first-year college Physics that is Mechanics . How should I study for high grade ? :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2004 #2
    Buy the accompanying Schaum's Outline (McGraw-Hill) and pore through the examples, one by one.

    I recommend Mechanics by Symon for reading. The problem sets are, in my opinion, much harder than Marion's, but the book reads better. The Mechanics Problem Solver by REA has many of the problem sets worked out in detail. (Lot of typos, however)

    Also, World Scientific puts out a Qualifier Exam preparation book. Most of the problems are a little advanced, but the easier ones would be good examples to study. I passed my qualifiers largely on the strength of the World Scientific books.
  4. Jun 13, 2004 #3


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    I would do as many problems as I can in your course's textbook, and I would do them algebraically first (even if they provided numbers for me to "plug-in"). Draw clear pictures and pay attention to geometry and trigonometry.

    Play with your algebraic results... how does increasing or decreasing each variable affect the answer? The goal is to find the relationships between the variables and interpret them physically... not to just get the numerical answer in the back of the book.

    Some things to distinguish:
    - a law of physics, a definition, and a result obtained in a special case
    - if you have trouble, ask yourself "Am I stuck on the Physics? or on the Mathematics?"

    For a high-grade in a first-year calculus-based college physics, I would recommend reading "Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner and Kolenkow.
    However, reading is not enough. You have to do lots of problems.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2004
  5. Jun 13, 2004 #4
    My bad. Symon's textbook is aimed at the intermediate level, not the beginning level. When you said Mechanics, I assumed (wrongly) that you meant the upper division class.

    The book to have is the Schaum's Outline titled "University Physics." The algebra-based book titled "College Physics" would also be a good start. If you want a supplementary textbook, I recommend Tipler. His book sucks less than the others.
  6. Jun 13, 2004 #5

    You've gotten some very good advice here.

    I would just add this. Take lots of math and keep your knowledge and skills in math way ahead of wherever you are in physics. If that means waiting a semester to start taking physics courses until you've had more math, do it. Not everyone will agree with that, but I took my first E&M course the same semester I was taking multivariable calculus, and it didn't work very well for me.
  7. Jun 26, 2004 #6
    Yeah...everyone above has given some pretty good advice...I just want to emphasize that it is VERY important to do practice problems...the more problems to do...the better situation you'll be in.
  8. Jun 26, 2004 #7


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    I know you asked for mechanics books, but soon enough you'll need books on electrodynamics, and then you should seriously consider getting Jackson - Electrodynamics.
  9. Jun 26, 2004 #8
    i got to say the best book for starting is Tipler's Physics for Scientists and Engineers
  10. Jun 29, 2004 #9
    My two cents: always do a dimensional analysis of your answer.
    Good starter books: Sears : Mechanics, Wave Motion and Heat
    Halliday and Resnick: Physics
    But mostly just study your course text.
    Look here for good deals on used books : http://used.addall.com/

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  11. Jun 30, 2004 #10
    Make sure you understand the concepts rather than just rope learning.
  12. Jul 8, 2004 #11
    While you folks are giving advice on texts, what do you all think about "Classical Dynamics" by Marion and Thornton? At the time I took the course I thought the text difficult, but I would like some opinions if anyone has one to offer.

    I also agree with jdavel...take the math first. When I took the mechanics course listed above I really wish I had some more calculus under my belt. I think I spent more time learning math than I did physics while taking the course. Besides, mathematics is the language of physics, is it not?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2004
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