Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Textbooks or lecture notes?

  1. i read and summarise my textbook.

    8 vote(s)
  2. i read again the lecture notes.

    3 vote(s)
  3. combination of 2 and 1.

    13 vote(s)
  4. other.

    5 vote(s)
  1. May 11, 2006 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    how do you learn? through reading and summarizing from your textbook or by overlooking again at the lecture notes?

    i use the former, and from the lecture notes i see what i should emphasize more on my reading the textbook.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I voted other.

    I do a combination of lecture notes and official textbook and other textbooks or lecture notes... with more emphasis on what I trust more and what I want to know. Often, I refer to a more advanced text as a supplement to my official text... e.g. refer to Jackson when studying from Purcell. Although the more advanced text is more difficult and may not be digestable at the time, it provides a roadmap as to what is important later on in my studies.

    In addition to reading, it's helpful to write out detailed derivations and, of course, do problems.
  4. May 11, 2006 #3
    I read through my textbook(s) and try to understand the material and, perhaps, read through a couple of example problems and attempt some myself.
    So I voted "other."
  5. May 11, 2006 #4
    I read the textbook when the prof hints that it would be uselful to read, or if there is something in the lecture notes that I don't quite understand. But usually I find that the textbook usually goes into either more depth than the prof or not enough, or that the prof focuses on different areas than the textbook. I always use the problems in the textbook and do them all, but as far as reading it I've never yet found it necessary except for english of course, and suprisingly enough math at times.
  6. May 11, 2006 #5
    Depends, almost always I read through the text at least once. 2 of the 3 math professors I had this semester were not very good lecturers so there I focused on the text, sometimes reading sections twice. The other was a good lecturer so I looked at the notes here and there, and read the book for additional clarity.
  7. May 11, 2006 #6
    I read the text before attending lecture. This gives you a baseline to what to expect from the lecture and allows you to get question answered that you had while reading the text. Then after the lecture I work through all the equations in the text making sure I can derive the exact result they get. Then I try and read through the text to get another overall, grand scheme of things picture of what is going on. It is a lot of work.
  8. May 11, 2006 #7
    I generally don't look at my lectures notes after I take them down. I take a lot of them, but not for the sake of later revision. I find that I have a hard time understanding anything even slightly complicated when it is stated verbally, especially if it involves any sort of mathematical statement. Writing it down just makes things "click" for me. The act of writing the notes also seems to help solidify my memory of the lecture, and keeps me from spacing out without noticing.

    After that, I read the text, paying attention to the points the instructor stressed in the lecture.
  9. May 11, 2006 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    i try to work things out for myself. last xmas it helepd me a lot to sit down for a few days and write a 15 page textbook on linear algebra covering all the main points through jordan forms. when I can put something down in a few words that covers a lot of gropund i feel i have organized it well in my brain, and may be able to remember it and use it.

    I often learn by writing notes on a topic and trying to teach it. I may consult many books, and it is exciting to find one that really has some insight, like goursat, or arnol'd, or jacobson, or courant, or apostol, or hurewicz, or bott/tu, or milnor, or cartan.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook