Undergraduate textbooks and lectures

In summary, the conversation discusses the struggles of a first year undergraduate in understanding textbooks recommended for wider reading in their engineering science courses. The individual questions if all undergrad textbooks are purposely difficult to scare students from pursuing their degrees and suggests that they may be a more visual learner. It is suggested that a more active approach, such as solving problems and discussing with others, is necessary for understanding the material. The conversation concludes with the importance of finding the right attitude and finding fellow students to study with.
  • #1
sulhar
2
0
Hi, so I'm a first year undergraduate in engineering science. I guess my main question is, are all undergrad textbooks purposely convoluted to scare us from our degrees? Let me explain.
I enjoy my lectures, I feel like the notes are very useful, but whenever my tutors or lecturers refer us to undergrad textbooks for wider reading of problems I feel like I can not understand a word. Maybe I'm just a more visual learner (i.e. videos) but I feel like if they're being recommended they must be for my level. Have I not found the right books?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
hello sulhar, :welcome: !

sulhar said:
main question is, are all undergrad textbooks purposely convoluted to scare us from our degrees
On the contrary

sulhar said:
Have I not found the right books?
To me it seems you haven't found the right attitude. Bingeing on youtube videos is not the same thing as undertaking a serious study of a particular subject.

Did you have the same problems with math earlier on ?
 
  • Like
Likes sulhar
  • #3
BvU said:
hello sulhar, :welcome: !

On the contrary

To me it seems you haven't found the right attitude. Bingeing on youtube videos is not the same thing as undertaking a serious study of a particular subject.

Did you have the same problems with math earlier on ?
Hi,
You're probably right. I'm just used to taking a more intuitive approach before jumping into the numbers (to be fair I've always managed to understand the actual computations better after having done this first). From the books I've tried to consult I just can't seem to digest the information the author is trying to put across because I get caught up in the complicated symbols and the maths becomes less intuitive to me.

I guess I'm asking that if I'm finding a textbook difficult to digest, does this mean I need to find something maybe slightly different (as in an author who takes a slightly different approach) or should I be able to figure it out?
 
  • #4
At one point you have to sit down and figure it out. You haven't understood a topic, when you are not able to understand the math and finally being able to apply it to problems. The right approach is, indeed, to first try to understand a phenomenon intuitively but then to learn the adequate language of the natural and engineering sciences, which is math. It's particularly important to get as soon as possible used to an active approach, i.e., to solve problems yourself, discuss difficulties with other students, ask your tutor/professor when you can't get a problem solved after considerable effort, etc. Just sitting in the lecture or (even worse) watching a Youtube movie often one gets the wrong impression to have "understood everything" (particularly when the lecturer is good!). You can only find out, whether you have understood something by doing problems and/or trying to explain it to other people. It's thus so important to find some fellow students with whom you can study the problems together (but also be sure to be able to solve the problems for yourself).
 
  • Like
Likes sulhar and BvU

Related to Undergraduate textbooks and lectures

1. What are undergraduate textbooks and lectures?

Undergraduate textbooks and lectures are educational materials and presentations designed for students at the undergraduate level, typically in college or university. These materials cover a broad range of subjects and are used to supplement classroom learning.

2. How are undergraduate textbooks and lectures different from other educational materials?

Undergraduate textbooks and lectures are specifically tailored for students at the undergraduate level, whereas other educational materials may be designed for different levels or purposes. These materials often provide a comprehensive overview of a subject and are written in a more accessible language for students.

3. Are undergraduate textbooks and lectures necessary for academic success?

While the use of textbooks and lectures may vary depending on the course and instructor, they are generally considered essential for academic success. These materials provide important information and explanations that may not be covered in class, and can help students better understand and retain the material.

4. Can I use old editions of textbooks for my undergraduate courses?

It is generally recommended to use the most recent edition of a textbook for an undergraduate course, as the information and examples may be updated and improved. However, if an older edition is still relevant and available, it may be acceptable to use it with the instructor's approval.

5. Are there any alternative resources to undergraduate textbooks and lectures?

Yes, there are many alternative resources available for students, such as online articles, videos, and interactive learning platforms. However, textbooks and lectures are still considered the main sources of information and should not be completely replaced by these alternative resources.

Similar threads

  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
17
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
2
Views
899
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
18
Views
2K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
9
Views
571
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
2
Views
365
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
12
Views
2K
Back
Top