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Studying Self-Studying Chemistry/Physics [Asking for advice]

  1. Mar 19, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone,

    Ok so I have a small question on the concept of self-teaching. When I just started university this year I was mostly interested in Biology, a bit in chemistry and hardly anything in Physics. Over the year though I have noticed that my interest in certain fields of Chemistry and Physics was increasing, Mostly Chemistry though.

    Also over the year I noticed that my Chemistry knowledge seems to be lacking, even though I read everything and understand it to a certain degree and can do most of the problem sets I still don't do well on tests or show that I know the information. I believe the problem may be that I am lacking in the ability to generalize the information that I obtain, as in being able to apply it to different yet similar scenarios or problems.

    My answer to this was to re-teach myself Chemistry and Physics over this summer, starting from now as well, although won't have a lot of time as I need to prepare for finals as well. My current intro. Chemistry course uses the textbook: "Chemical Principles" by Steven S. Zumdahl. I was thinking of redoing the whole book again and then moving on to other textbooks at the same level and later on advancing into tougher books and materials.

    Now I was wondering if you all good give me some books that you all think are good texts to learn from and increase my knowledge and abilities in Chemistry, and Physics if possible. Also if you guys have any tips as to how to better increase my understanding, so that I can apply the knowledge to all scenarios that would be wonderful. Finally, do you all recommend taking notes from textbooks or just try and understand?

    Thanks again for the help, and I hope this thread can help others too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2008 #2
    You can try to re-read the sections you didn't understand, but I reccommend skimping through the bold terms since thats all you really need. Work on harder problems, and put in serious effort instead of just using solutions manual the second your stuck. Teachers usually pick the hardest problems.
  4. Mar 20, 2008 #3
    I tend to do try a hard problem about 10 or so different ways, sometimes even more because I can sometimes go on days before I get an answer. This is fine, but I will only use the solutions manual if I really need it, or just to see that the method I used is similar.

    I think though that in order to become better, and able to apply my knowledge in multiple situations, I should try doing different textbooks. Since I have heard that different authors will generally place different forms of questions in their textbooks.
  5. Mar 28, 2008 #4
    I wanted to just ask again but maybe a bit more into what I would like to do. Currently I am planning on studying Biotechnology which really covers a bit Chemistry and Physics bt mostly Molecular Biology.

    Besides Biotechnology and genetic engineering, I have noticed that Quantum mechanics, nanotechnology, biophysics and some other similar fields also interest me. Although I don't intend to study them as in a major or anything I wanted to pursue in gaining more knowledge about them since I really find the topics interesting.

    So I was wondering if the members could recommend some good books to start off with, and maybe just guide me a bit to the right path. What should I improve upon currently in my knowledge before I start self-studying these topics? I have taken fist year General Chemistry and will take Introductory Physics over the summer. I have also taken University Calculus but am thinking of improving a bit more on that subject as physics and chemistry and even BioPhysics take a lot from calculus.

    So any ideas where to start, what books to read would be very helpful. Thanks again.
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