Study guidelines for physics

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  • #1
Voq
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Hi. I have been out of school for some time but now i am back. The problem is I feel rusty with math and study time and need your opinions and possibly guides with work organization and process of understanding the thing you study :D. The thing is I have certain course to study and don't know where to start. Is good start watching the entire course of ~15h from MIT professor? Also i have 2 books. You can also answer in a more general way of study too. Physics is wide and you need a lot of work to be a good physicist.
 

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  • #2
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The way I personally study physics is by following these steps:
1) Read the subject from multiple sources.
2) Mark the things I don't understand, Try to reason an argument for them.
3) Question every statement or formula, See if I have enough math knowledge to derive or if it is experimentally derived.
4) Be able to explain the subject by just using simple words, If I stumble on something or try to "Push it under the rug" then it means I am missing something.
5) Revise.

I don't know your level but I didn't like MIT videos because they often talk about the subject much deeper than what I want or they glance over quickly what I need. I usually like to explain stuff from the book by myself rather than someone explaining it to me except if I ran out of options.
 
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  • #3
ZapperZ
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Hi. I have been out of school for some time but now i am back. The problem is I feel rusty with math and study time and need your opinions and possibly guides with work organization and process of understanding the thing you study :D. The thing is I have certain course to study and don't know where to start. Is good start watching the entire course of ~15h from MIT professor? Also i have 2 books. You can also answer in a more general way of study too. Physics is wide and you need a lot of work to be a good physicist.
What exactly does it mean that you don't know where to start?

I can state the obvious: open the textbooks and start learning from them.

But you did not describe why you either did not do this, or if you did, why you are unable to learn from them. If you can't learn from them, why would watching 15+ hours of video from an MIT professor makes any difference?

Zz.
 
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  • #4
Voq
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Thank you for your replies.

What exactly does it mean that you don't know where to start?

I can state the obvious: open the textbooks and start learning from them.
Stating the obvious is actually really helpful.
About watching MIT classes i was thinking about getting general knowledge about topic and what it consists of. After that going more in depth.
 
  • #5
There is one thing that is missing from the discussion which is to solve problems. In general, most of the learning in physics involves doing calculations yourself. Just reading and understanding the material from a book is not even close to enough, you should be able to struggle through a difficult problem and triumph. This is especially important when you are rusty and out of school because there's no problem set/exams to motivate you.

To give some perspective, if I spend 20 hrs mastering a new topic, I spend about 15 of those hours struggling with various problems. Finding a book that has solutions to selected problems is especially helpful so you can get warmed up at the beginning and gain some confidence.
 
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ZapperZ
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There is one thing that is missing from the discussion which is to solve problems.
I have said this same thing elsewhere, but I didn't think we got to this point yet with trying to narrow down the initial premise that was brought up.

Zz.
 
  • #7
Stephen Tashi
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The thing is I have certain course to study and don't know where to start. Is good start watching the entire course of ~15h from MIT professor? .
I don't understand your situation yet. Are you saying that you must or (simply want to) take a particular physics course? Is the particular course presented in particular videos? What course is it?
 
  • #8
Scrumhalf
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Before you jump back into physics, spend a couple of months coming back up to speed on single variable and multivariable calculus. There's nothing worse than getting back into physics and wondering how exactly you integrated by parts, or computed a line or surface integral. And you'll need all of those things at your fingertips to make progress in anything beyond high school physics.
 

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