Preparation for Upper Division Physics (general advice in doing well)

In summary: Grad school in geophysics is definitely tougher than grad school in ordinary physics. You will need to have a stronger research record and have a better understanding of earth science concepts.
  • #1
phazon100
5
0
and grad school as well.

Hi, I'm a physics major at UCSD (3rd best UC school; behind UCLA and UC Berkeley) , and I'm looking for general advice in doing well in my upper division courses, since I'm fairly nervous. I know I will be in smaller classes filled with the next Einsteins and Feynmans. ( I performed respectably this quarter, with an A in my only physics class). I basically have three months to prepare. I will be taking classical mechanics, Electromagnetism, Comp. Physics ( involves mathmatica), and an Earth science elective this fall (since I want to go to grad school and earn a M.S in geophysics).

The required text for my classical mechanics course is Taylor; for E &M, Griffiths . I'm going to do some self-studying during my free time this summer, so I can have some extra time to master the concepts. A few of my friends who've been successful in their physics courses did some self-studying. I figure this is the best approach, since it takes time for me to understand and digest the physics material, considering that my university operates on the quarter system.

http://www.ucsd.edu/catalog/courses/PHYS.html

Unfortunately, I only have this summer and next to get some research under my belt if I wish to apply to grad school starting next year. My physics advisor told me to speak with the Earth science department .

Anyways, I'm open to any general advice (keeping my math sharp, for example), as I mentioned. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Both classes should be pretty heavy on math. Differential equations for mechanics, and vector calculus for E&M. In fact, the first chapter of Griffiths E&M is just math review. Have you taken a math methods course? If not, I would start with reviewing those things. Fortunately, I think both of those books are pretty decent, so you might just start reading and trying problems and see how you feel. Study methods for different people will vary, so figure out what works best for you.
 
  • #3
I've taken courses in differential equations, linear algebra and cal I-III (including vector calculus). Yeah, I will do some review as well.

Thanks.

And do you guys know anything about computational physics. That class seems to worry me a bit (mainly because I'm not familiar with the class in general ).

I will do some problems from the texts as well.

One last thing: is anyone familiar with the grad school admissions for geophysics programs as opposed to ordinary physics programs. It appears to me that geophysics is found in Earth science/geology departments.
 

Related to Preparation for Upper Division Physics (general advice in doing well)

1. How should I prepare for upper division physics courses?

In order to do well in upper division physics courses, it is important to have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of physics. This includes understanding concepts such as vectors, calculus, and mechanics. It is also helpful to review material from previous physics courses, as many upper division courses build upon this knowledge.

2. What study strategies should I use for upper division physics courses?

Some effective study strategies for upper division physics courses include practicing problem-solving regularly, seeking help from professors or teaching assistants when needed, and forming study groups with classmates. It is also important to stay organized and manage your time effectively.

3. How can I improve my problem-solving skills in upper division physics courses?

One way to improve problem-solving skills in upper division physics courses is to practice solving a variety of problems. This will help you become familiar with different types of problems and develop strategies for approaching them. It is also helpful to understand the underlying concepts behind the problems and to break them down into smaller, manageable steps.

4. What resources are available for students preparing for upper division physics courses?

There are many resources available for students preparing for upper division physics courses. These may include textbooks, online resources, study guides, and practice problems. Your university may also offer tutoring services or study groups specifically for upper division physics courses.

5. How can I balance studying for upper division physics courses with other coursework and commitments?

Balancing coursework and commitments can be challenging, but it is important to prioritize your time and manage your workload effectively. This may involve creating a study schedule, breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, and seeking help when needed. It is also important to take breaks and make time for self-care to avoid burnout.

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