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Studying My self study plans

  1. Dec 25, 2016 #1
    Hi, I am going to attend A level exams as a private student by january 2018 in the subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. I have planned to study 2 hours per subject in a day. By evening I would go to coaching classes in all subjects except biology, that would be 3 hours of training. I am returning to education after a gap, so I have to start from basics.

    I will be starting to study by Jan2017 and I have allocated duration to grasp the basic grounding as three months. So by April I will begin to study A level syllabus.

    So kindly suggest if this plan is okay to proceed.

    On the books part, I have gone through threads here and found lots of suggestions, but still I am confused a bit. Below are the list of books I have found.


    Shankar's fundamentals of physics,
    concepts of physics 1 and 2 hc verma
    University Physics with modern physics
    Fundamentals of physics by halliday and resnick.
    Newtonion Mechanics
    Understanding Physics
    Serwey Physics for Scientist and Engineers
    So You Want To Be A Physicist
    Six easy pieces...Richard Feynman.
    Understanding Physics...Asimov
    Physics of the superheroes...James Kakalios.


    Algebra by Gelfand, shen
    Geometry by Kiselev 1 and 2
    Geometry by lang, murrow
    Basic mathematics by Lang
    Precalculus: Mathematics for calculus (Stewart)
    What is mathematics - richard courant.
    Read Simmons and Lang's basic math concurrently, also start reading Moise
    Stage 4: Read Lang's calculus and Keisler calculus concurrently
    "A Mathematician's Apology" by G.H. Hardy
    Mathematics for non mathematicians
    How to solve it
    Mathematical Handbook Elementary Mathematics by M. Vygodsky
    Higher Mathematics for Beginners and its application to physics by Ya. B. Zeldovich
    Velleman's "how to prove it"


    Intro to chemistry. Book: Chemical Principles (Atkins) - Chemical Principles - The quest for insight
    Organic chemistry as a second language
    Chemistry the central science - good book..
    Introductory chemistry a foundation steven s zumadahl
    Introductory Chemistry Essentials - Tro
    Chemistry zumadahl susal zumadahl
    The periodic kingdom
    Matter and Interactions by Sherwood/Chabay.
    Linus Pauling: General Chemistry.
    The Joy of Chemistry
    Chemistry: A molecular approach - Nivaldo Tro


    Biology 9th Edition
    by https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byl...s&field-author=Peter+Raven&sort=relevancerank (Author), https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byl...ield-author=George+Johnson&sort=relevancerank (Author), https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byl...field-author=Kenneth+Mason&sort=relevancerank (Author), https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byl...ield-author=Jonathan+Losos&sort=relevancerank (Author), https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byl...&field-author=Susan+Singer&sort=relevancerank (Author)
    Starr, Taggart, Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life
    Audesirk, Biology: Life on Earth

    From these lists I have picked down the books for basics are listed below,

    Maths- basic mathematics by serge lang & What is mathematics - richard courant.

    Physics - H&r fundamentals & conceptual physics ( one of my friend gifted me 6th edition of H&R and I went through few pages in it. I find it hard to follow as I dont have firm basics).

    Chemistry- Intro to chemistry. Book: Chemical Principles (Atkins) - Chemical Principles - The quest for insight & The periodical kingdom.

    Biology - Cambpells' biology basics.

    I have narrowed down the books as both text books and as supplementary books. Please suggest whether I have picked right books from the list which are convenient to self study the basics. A few more suggestion on Biology books would be helpful. Indian author's books for all subjects is much preferred.

    What is the effective way to self study? I would have some help in the subjects, but still I dont know where to start or how to start?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2016 #2
    Why does that matter at all?
  4. Dec 25, 2016 #3
    I'm from India, so those books are available easily, cheap and It'll be comfortable to study in terms of vocabulary.
  5. Dec 26, 2016 #4
    Honestly, quality over quantity because you dont have time. I doubt you would even finish two of the books of any subjects. I speak from experience I have bought many books in a phase but you soon realise books dont read and work through themselves.:sorry: THINKING IS HARD WORK

    A level isn't about books, its about diong the past papers and knowing the concepts inside out, focus on few materials of high quality and DO LOTS OF PAST PAPERS, every single one.

    Also I know you want to do astrophysics, but you have an undergrad degree already. So why do a levels again? Im sure you can be admitted to university based on your undergrad. Lol I see you have what is mathematics from courant, hahahaha perhaps it was me who recommended that? Well that book is completely useless for a level but great for mathematics. :wink:
  6. Dec 26, 2016 #5
    Thanks for the reply.

    I would like to raise the questions first.
    Is it not possible to finish studying 4 subjects for A levels in a single year??

    If understanding concepts is the primary part , shouldn't I go through the books first and start working out with problems?

    And what are the few materials of high quality??

    I had mailed few universities and asked whether they would accept me without any foundation courses for the gap years. But they informed that I should've finished my education 3 years prior to the beginning of the course. That's the main reason I'm doing A levels again. Also I wanted to study science completely from the basics so that I would have a firm grounding on science. Even though I don't pursue an astrophysics or physics degree, at least I'll be scientifically literate enough to understand the concepts. There is an another advantage doing A levels that some European countries admit into their universities without entrance examination(I'm going to try for Germany). Its really tiresome and tedious work for me to do A levels but do I have any other choice?

    Thanks for referring me courant I'll read this as a supplementary to understand mathematics.

    I might sound dumb and my questions are silly, but this is the only place where I get the right answers.
  7. Dec 27, 2016 #6
    It will be a lot of hard work, but not recommended as they are meant to be taken over AT LEAST 1.3 years as they did it in my school, the norm is 2 years. Also yoMAu need to take further maths, as it will really help your math skills when you land at university. I would drop biology as its pretty useless for your stated goal and take: MATHS, FURTHER MATHS, Physics and chemistry.
    But you dont know what to study! Thats why i told you to follow the A level learner guide, that is the official syllabus. The rest is supplementary material which you can read from time to time.
    Yeah, for the most part Europe freely admits people who've done their bachelors into their technical courses. So clearly if you want to go purely for Germany, then no need to do a levels if you already have a bachelor degree.

    Not always!
    Then there will be no point of all this trouble.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  8. Dec 27, 2016 #7
    Why you want to do A- levels ? Isn't there universities in India ?

    That is true for other subjects other than mathematics, Only doing one book is not sufficient.
  9. Dec 27, 2016 #8
    Thank You.

    The reason I would like to take biology is to study the complete package of science. So if I don't get any opportunity to study astrophysics I can go to other engineering or bio sciences( this is what I meant even I don't pursue astrophysics/physics). I have kept this as plan b. Apart from these, I like to learn biology. But I will consider about further mathematics. Also it's exactly 1.3 years for me to attend the exams.. a levels are conducted by late February.

    Yeah I admit I am confused where to start. But if I were given right books and materials to start, to self study the basics I'll start right away from this week. So are you suggesting that A level syllabus itself is enough to start studying the basics??

    Say if I don't study A levels, how can I validate the knowledge I acquired is enough to start an undergrad? How can I be sure without attending any exams? And also what about the practical exams and where would I come to learn those things?? If I apply for scholarships, on what basis they would offer me, if I don't have evidence to support that I am good in academics. Even I am okay to pursue the degree without doing A levels, if there is a way for it without impacting on the scholarship opportunities.
  10. Dec 27, 2016 #9
    Universities here don't offer bachelor's in astrophysics and also it's not usual here to return back to university as an older student.
  11. Dec 27, 2016 #10
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  12. Dec 27, 2016 #11
    But in your other threads you were clear about wanting only astrophysics, but its good to have a plan B I guess.

    Yes. Thats what its there for, however, books like what is mathematics and how to prove it are great, but none of the material in them are actually tested in a levels explicitly. So, study everything you can get your hands on by all means, but study with a purpose.
    They already told you you would not get any decent sizeable scholarship, because most in the US, UK
    ,and EU are reserved for citizens, first time degree students, and then come the international students (some who will be getting all A*s in their a levels and full standardised test scores). So, already your chances are low, even if you get it, it will probably be low and not enough to support you fully.

    Someone in your other thread also mentioned you wouldn't get loans for studying in the US.
    , and if you do, the interest rate would be exorbitant.

    So my question to you is, do you think you can get all A* in all a levels.
    , and justify your worthiness for recieving scholarships? against equally talented or even better, younger students from all over the world? many who habe the same grade and other acticities. :)

    So, in all likelihood I would rate the scholarship option out for the most part, its not something you can count on, too many variables!

    My best advice is getting a Bsc in Physics in india then applying for a masters in astrophysics outside. This is a good plan and involves less pain.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  13. Dec 27, 2016 #12
    Im just saying I have friends who only used the standard a level book plus some material from the internet and they have got 93 etc. :) Of course, even from my experience I can say that one book is not sufficient, but having 11 books and spreading yourself thin trying to cover everyone like a madman serves no purpose too right?
  14. Dec 27, 2016 #13
  15. Dec 27, 2016 #14
    I don't like Khanacademy videos, I feel they are waste of time. Personally I was never able learn anything from them.
    I like the books recommended by @micromass in his blogs, you might find them useful.
  16. Dec 28, 2016 #15
    Thanks for the great advise. But still I wouldn't rule out the scholarship part because it is a very important factor while considering my study. Even I got less amount for a scholarship it will have a huge benefit for me due to currency conversion.(INR is lesser than pounds and euro). I'm not expecting a big scholarship but at least a decent one giving small sum of amount is enough for me to ease the constraint.

    And I would need an answer for the practical exams questions. So would I be able understand the concepts, excel in it, even I don't have practical exams experience?

    Studying here is totally impossible, as most of the universities have age restrictions for bachelor's, and unfriendly towards adult students. And most of the colleges push us out to gain marks in the examinations not knowledge; needless to say the regressive student life policies( the college which I studied prohibits opposite gender interaction, if violated a hefty amount of fine to be paid, and the parents will be informed). Whereas the most government colleges are totally contradictory to this, where you can get the degree just by filling the exam papers. Of course there are good colleges, but they are too much costly(apart from the fees you have to pay donation etc), and they are only accessible to the rich students or the competition is heavy. Apart from these, society pressure is high here for an adult student, everyone judges you and gives you free advice(an adult returning to university will make a headline news in the newspapers). I'm not complaining but the actual reality is this. That's the reason I chose to study outside of the country.
  17. Dec 28, 2016 #16
    Pick one subject.
  18. Dec 28, 2016 #17
    You don't need prior practical experience. You need to be fast in the labs and know the theory.
  19. Dec 29, 2016 #18
    Thank you very much.
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