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Preparation for uni?

  1. Jun 2, 2005 #1
    Hi all!

    I've just found this board and am reading through some topics here, some very interesting discussions going on here.

    I finished school two months ago and I am going to start studying Physics at University level in October. As I've currently got some spare time on my hands (not all day, I am trying to earn some money too to pay for all this studying, but most of the day :wink: ) I was wondering if any of you could tell me what would be worth revising or what I might learn in advance to make the first year a bit easier for myself, it would be nice to have a reduced workload at uni. But really I'd just like to keep up with things as by the time I start uni I might have forgotten everything I know now if I don't make my brain work a bit in the meantime. So I don't care if it's a topic that is covered during my uni course or not, I'm generally interested in Physics and want to know things (only interested in Maths if it helps me with Physics, I'm not too keen on Pure Maths just for Maths' sake, if you know what I mean). I've started teaching myself C++, but I'm not sure what else might come in useful. Any ideas and/or suggestions? :)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2005 #2


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    Do you know what class you're gonna take?

    Regardless, here's a suggestion: learn to use a math program such as Mapple, if you don't already. It's not necessary but it REALLY helps to check your answers.
  4. Jun 3, 2005 #3
    I'm going to be taking the 4 year MSci Physics course at Imperial College London if that's any help.

    Thanks for the advice quasar! I've not heard of that programme before, I'll quickly do some google research on it, hehehe. Sounds like it could be really useful :)
  5. Jun 3, 2005 #4
    You can find info on the stuff you'll be studying here.
  6. Jun 3, 2005 #5
    I already have that list, but thanks anyway for reminding me about it :smile: .
    I'm still not sure what to learn though exactly.
    Relativity, Structure of Matter and Quantum physics are the three areas on that list I know least about, but they also sound like they may be too complicated for me to try and teach myself anything about them... :confused:
  7. Jun 6, 2005 #6


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    Relativity is fascinating and relatively easy to learn. It would be a good subject to learn during the summer in my opinion.
  8. Jun 7, 2005 #7
    You might want to get your hands on MatLab too. It might come in useful depending on what you want to do.
  9. Jun 7, 2005 #8
    I'm in my final year of my Mphys degree and what I think will be beneficial for people beginning university are:

    1) Make sure you're prepared for the mathematical contents ofthe course. Usually in the first 2 years they teach you the fundamental mathematics you need to know. As you'll find, you will have to learn some of the more advanced topics on your own depending on what modules you take towards the end of your degree. To be a step ahead of the rest, which is always a good thing, check out the department's webpages. If they have their own math modules for physics students note what is on the syllabus and try to learn the material. It's always good to have a Maths text book, I recommend "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Enginnering". It's very good as it covers a LOT of material which will probably last you throughout your degree.

    2) Learn a programming language :) .. If you haven't learned one before start off with Fortran 77, and depending on your ability learn C/C++.. Usually Fortran is sufficient

    3) Look at the classes in the first semester, check out the content on the university web pages. If you're really enthusiastic you could start learning the material. A lot of 1st year material can be found on web sites such as http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

    I think the most important thing is to understand the mathematics before you begin.. it saves a LOT of time if you can go into the classes and understand the physics instead of being confused by the mathematical language.

    Good luck!
  10. Jun 7, 2005 #9
    As Quasar said, you can easily learn Relativity, it will get you thinking a bit but it's really interesting, it will get you into the mood to go to university! and mathematically special relativity is easy.. (Don't even bother with general relativity! :eek: )
  11. Jun 7, 2005 #10
    cool! thanks! :-) I'll check out relativity. I've already done a bit on special relativity, but not much, only like a few examples for 'non-mathematicians' using boat and train examples ;-). hehehe, obviously that won't do. :-p
    Maths... cringe... hehehe, I've never had a problem with maths in physics before, but i guess the more you learn the more complicated the maths will get...
    thanks for the advice :-D
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