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Question about Summer School

  1. Feb 7, 2015 #1
    Hey all,
    I'm currently an undergrad physics major at UCSD. I'm thinking about taking a few classes over the summer so that my course-load for next year will not be too unbearable (my schedule is already packed).

    The courses I plan on taking over the summer are:
    (1) PDEs
    (2) Complex Analaysis
    (3) ~ Maybe a philosophy course

    I am trying to taking these classes to get my philosophy / math minor sooner so I can focus on physics.

    My question is, how is the pacing of summer school, for those of you who have experienced it? A class during a normal quarter is 10 weeks + finals, whereas a class over summer quarter is 4 or 5 weeks + finals. Would the material be too condensed? I have read the summer syllabus for the math classes and the syllabus for normal quarters; they cover the same amount of material but in a lot less time. I want to have a good understanding of mathematics to prepare me for upper-div physics courses. Will taking these courses over the summer sacrifice some retention of the material covered?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2015 #2


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    I haven't yet taken either of those math classes, but from what I've heard about them I would not want to take even one of them over the summer. Let alone both of them. PDEs has a reputation of being a very difficult class, and complex analysis does as well.
  4. Feb 8, 2015 #3
    Maybe I'll stick to philosophy over the summer. I need at least 8 credits to apply for Financial Aid :P
  5. Feb 8, 2015 #4
    Ussually people take math course they have self studied for credit during short semesters. If you have any other general education requirements, complete those instead.
  6. Feb 8, 2015 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Summer school is tough. The pace is faster, and the same study habits that worked for the semester won't necessarily work in the summer. Just like you are getting twice as many lectures per unit time, you will have twice as much homework. Devote the same time to homework, and you get in a big mess in a hurry.
  7. Feb 8, 2015 #6
    Alright thanks for the advice everyone
  8. Feb 8, 2015 #7
    Taking all 3 of those (if they happen at the same time) sounds rough during the summer. I would advise doing only one of the first two in addition to your philosophy class.
  9. Feb 8, 2015 #8


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    I think in terms of increasing retention and also preventing burnout, it makes the most sense to take just one of the mathematics courses.

    The material will be condensed but if that's all you're focusing on then you'll have plenty of time to keep up. Also, since you'll be spending a significant amount of time focusing on only that material over a period of 1.5 months, I'd say there's a high probability of retention. You'd be surprised how much you retain if your mind isn't going back and forth between 4 or 5 different subjects.

    I'd also recommend math over philosophy for a couple reasons:

    1) It's more related to physics than philosophy is. This means it will give you some added preparation for your main courses next year.
    2) It might be nice to have a philosophy course during the fall/winter to take a break from all the math and physics.

    If you're taking a rigorous complex analysis course then I would suggest that over PDEs. The less stress you have while trying to digest that material, the better. If it's just a computational class then I'd say take PDEs over the summer because the PDE class will be more complicated.
  10. Feb 8, 2015 #9
    Great. I figure I'll go with 1 Phil and 1 math. I'll have to double check to see if complex analysis is rigorous or computational
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