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The summer between high school and college

  1. May 31, 2010 #1
    I'm about to graduate, but school is basically over for the summer for me. :)

    I am going to attend a university to study chemical engineering in the fall, and I want to get a head start on some of my classes. I have 3 textbooks to use...Spivak's Calculus, a Physics for scientists and engineers, and a general chemistry book. I took AP chem with a great teacher, AP calc ab with a horrible teacher, and I haven't taken any physics classes (but I have read many popular books, i.e. Elegant Universe).

    I would appreciate it if someone could give me a schedule of how they would study if they were me. I have a lot of free time...I may have a job, but it would only be about 20 hr/wk if I do get it. If I don't get that job, I'm not applying for any others..
    Would it be best to do all 3 subjects every day, or should I switch it up? I really want to keep a schedule with this, and adhere to it all summer.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2010 #2
    Can you send me a copy of those books? I will send you Calculus I, II, and III books. I even got AP Physics C from Cliffs
  4. May 31, 2010 #3
    Probably would be best to focus on a little physics from what I can tell even though you're a chemE. I've never read Elegant Universe or other "popular" physics books, but I imagine its not very similar to what you'll be doing your first year of university. Brush up on Newtons Laws, kinematics, and motion Know the basic equations well. Know how to use calc to solve motion porblems and other problems like moment of inertia (that really tripped me up). Those will most likely be the first things you encounter in physics. For calc, just make sure you know all of your trig really well, when and how to use trig identities, and it wouldn't hurt to know all you can about derivatives and integrals depending on where you're starting.

    As far as a schedule, when I study, I try not to focus on one thing for an entire day. The best advice I can give you is to just get in a routine that you're comfortable with. Maybe on specific days, plan to wake up, have breakfast, and study, this, this, and that each for an hour or so.

    As a final note, make sure to plan some free time and at least a couple days off for yourself into your schedule. Plan some times when you work on a hobby or go for a run or someting like that every week. Exercise is good for the brain too :) It'd be a shame to get burnt out from studying before you even start school. You'll have plenty of time and reason to study once you get into school. Sorry, that was kinda preachy, but its true.
  5. May 31, 2010 #4
    Moments of inertia? Do you mean torque?

    I am pretty sure we changed that old term to torque or is it something else?
  6. May 31, 2010 #5
    Thanks a lot, ehilge. I plan on running 4-5 days/week too...got a half marathon coming up in August!

    I have never really studied much for school or on my own, so I'm excited to see how well I can stick to it and what I can accomplish.

    So far I've come up with this schedule (not that anyone cares, but it's mainly for me to have documentation somewhere for accountability):

    MWF 7-9 a.m. run, shower, eat, etc.
    10-11 Physics
    3-3:45 p.m. Calc
    4:15-4:45 Chem

    TTh 9-10:30 Physics
    3-3:45 Chem
    4:15-4:45 Calc

    I think that if I stick to something like that, I wouldn't get burned out and it will give me an easier start to the school year. I'm still not sure if I'll take the AP credits if I get them...they would place me into calc II and org. chem. I probably won't take them...

    I left plenty space for "fun time." :D

    Oh, and bignum, I got the books for really cheap. Spivak was the most expensive, but the physics one was free for volunteering and the chem one was a discard So, $45+0+0 is how much I spent for my summer entertainment. :)
  7. May 31, 2010 #6
    Torque is the angular version of force, moment of inertia is the angular version of mass. What you got is:
    Torque equals angular acceleration times moment of inertia.

    What you are talking about is just plain "moment".
  8. May 31, 2010 #7
    The last true summer vacation you'll ever have and you want to spend it studying 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for classes you haven't even taken yet? Why?
  9. May 31, 2010 #8
    You're a really hard worker. Knowing that it's the last free summer you'll ever have to savour until you go off to the BIGGER leagues and yet you still research and do work. That's really called motivation. I would advise you to spend your last summer to just screw around and hang with your friends. Have a great time. Those are things that you'll cherish more than anything. =) just my 0.02 cents.
  10. May 31, 2010 #9
    It's not 7 hours a day! Only 2 hours and 15 min on 3 days and 2 hrs 45 min on two days. Is that really that much? I probably am just sitting at the computer that much anyway, so if I swap the time and don't get on the computer but 15 min/day, I will still have plenty of time to enjoy myself. Right?
  11. May 31, 2010 #10
    My advice; you'll be a freshman and based off this thread, you'll be taking typical freshman/sophomore level engineering courses which means the material itself won't be the challenging part - the amount of time it takes up will. I don't see a point in studying basic calculus, chemistry of physics unless you feel you need to to fully understand it when you take it. Later down the road, this is a great idea and I do it before each semester, but for now, what's been said above is pretty spot on: enjoy your summer, it'll be one of the last you'll have like this.

    ...that said, if you truly want to work and you're bored etc., try working your brain rather than studying basic things. By this I mean working practice problems from the IMO, Putnam or something just to keep yourself sharp. You won't get burned out doing a few problems a week but it'll be more than enough to keep you occupied if you so choose.
  12. Jun 1, 2010 #11
    Why not take summer classes at a local college? You'd get actual credit. That's what I'm doing.
  13. Jun 1, 2010 #12
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Jun 1, 2010 #13
    I wish I could take a college class, but the community college closed registration in May. They don't even have anything past Calc I anyway..

    That book looks interesting, but I think I'm getting to the point of having too many books and am not able to concentrate on just one.
  15. Jun 1, 2010 #14
    Yes that is true. . . Then I would just focus on calculus. Calculus is easy to self study than physics imho.
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