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Strong student

  1. Jul 26, 2008 #1
    When books say things like, this book intended for the strong student, or for a sharp class, who exactly are they addressing?

    Are they addressing naturally gifted students who presumably can handle difficult material? Or are they appealing to students who are mature and take their subjects seriously? Or maybe ones with stronger backgrounds?

    Conversley, would a weak student be one who is lazy or ignorant or one who is simply not endowed mental agility?

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2008 #2
    I would say a strong student is one who can learn from the book at hand without outside help. Many students seem to have trouble learning on their own and rely solely on the lecturer to convey the majority of the topic.
  4. Jul 26, 2008 #3
    Really? Many people need lectures?

    ... I'm the complete opposite. I find lectures only skimp material and are thus useless. Now if the trouble stems from laziness, I can see why being a lecture hall enforces learning.
  5. Jul 26, 2008 #4
    Many Universities -- especially lower tier ones I think -- tend to test ONLY on what they teach you in class, ONLY on their notes, and ONLY on their specific problems.

    I've had caclulus teachers who likely never even read the book we used, and devised their own problems, totally unlike what's in the book, thus, studying the book and their notes was necessary.
  6. Jul 26, 2008 #5


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    If you find lectures useless then you are, most likely, not using them correctly, or do not have the right sort of attitude. You can read a textbook anytime, but a lecture is a chance for someone who could very well have written the said textbook to present to work to you, and give you the opportunity to ask questions on the material. This is way better than a textbook since they can literally answer any question you may have.
  7. Jul 26, 2008 #6
    In an hour I could learn much more than try to follow my teacher, however qualified he may be, try to present a week's material in two classes. Anyways, I don't want this thread to go off topic so I don't think its important if you share my opinion of lectures.

    A lot of textbooks, notably math books, write for "strong students". How am I supposed to infer that? Or is it a trick to sell copies? :redface:
  8. Jul 26, 2008 #7
    Which textbook is it an what is the exact wording?

    Many textbooks have introductions on how to be a good student, how to organize your time, tips on outlining goals and how to accomplish them, and so on.

    A strong student would be a student who is willing to work out in his mind exactly what the textbook is saying when he gets confused. He would have good study habits and would make good use of time. He would ask questions when he has found he can't work something out after doing the best on his own.

    This is probably what they mean.
  9. Jul 27, 2008 #8


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    But material covered in classes is not supposed to be lifted straight from a text book-- the textbooks are there for supplementary study on one's own and to complement the lectures.
    Presumably they mean a student who is knowledgeable in the prerequisites required, and one that is motivated and capable on studying on their own. Of course, part of it could be to try and sell more copies.

    I'm moving this to A&CG, for the record.
  10. Jul 27, 2008 #9


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    Clearly you are all missing the point. A strong student naturally refers to one who can bench press his or her body weight... duh.


    I've never actually seen something aimed at the "strong" student before. Normally, textbooks should state the target audience by level of study, i.e. graduate level, senior undergraduates, high school, etc. Although I suppose you could have a graduate level text for example that could also be of interest to "strong" undergraduates.
  11. Jul 27, 2008 #10


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    Well you must surely be fortunate to have lecturers whose course syllabus largely mirror the style and pace found in textbooks. What I can say is that from personal experience that only works if the lecturer has based his syllabus almost entirely on a single textbook. That isn't too common for my courses.
  12. Jul 27, 2008 #11
    A lot of "intermediate" type physics texts have in the preface that they are intended for "beginning graduate students or advanced undergraduates."

    I'm pretty sure all they mean by "strong student" is "has completed the core courses for a mathematics degree."
  13. Jul 27, 2008 #12
    I'll be sure to remember that next time I have a class that posts the lecture nearly word-for-word beforehand. Or one where the lecture, the exam content, and the advertised course topic have almost nothing to do with each other. The usefulness, quality of, and expectations by the instructor for lecture vary widely.

    Lecture is a bad workaround to deal with the fact that you have one teacher for large N students. Also that you're usually trying to cram several subjects into a student at any given time, and inside a specific time interval. The college structure is horribly non-ideal for learning, but it is 1) traditional at this point, 2) capable of dealing with large numbers of students, i.e. treating students as a commodity to be produced. It is what it is, and actual mastery will usually come later when you have massive amounts of time to devote to the subject as well as a really patient mentor to answer all the unanswered questions and bad assumptions about prior knowledge that make working your way through advanced textbooks a dicey proposition. If you're lucky, this later time is called grad school...although sometimes it's even later than that.
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