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

  1. Jun 18, 2014 #1
    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.


    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2014 #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.
  4. Jun 18, 2014 #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.


    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.
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