Undergraduate textbooks and lectures

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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?
 

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  • #2
BvU
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hello sulhar, :welcome: !

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

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 ?
 
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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?
 
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vanhees71
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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).
 
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