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Studying Understanding physics and problem solving

  1. Sep 4, 2016 #1

    I would like to have a good understanding of physics at my level (level of Halliday-resnick) and to be able to solve problems. It so happens that I read a chapter and solve the all the problems and exercises and I feel I am done, I know the stuff. But then up comes a problem and I get stuck, this usually happens because -

    a) I don't think of something or
    b) some of my conceptual understanding is wrong or foggy.

    How can I avoid this, after I have 'finished' the chapter?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2016 #2
    I know what you mean. To be honest usually one can solve a problem 'quickly' if he/she has encountered it before, or at least something similar. Otherwise, it would take considerably more time to be solved depending on the complexity of the problem. I don't have much to say except keep practicing new problems.

    All the best.
  4. Sep 4, 2016 #3


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    Generate your own variants on the given problems and solve those .

    It is in any case a good idea to habitually probe problems at a deeper level than that just needed to 'solve' them . Asking ' what would happen if I changed this ' is a powerful learning and problem solving tool in both engineering and the sciences .
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  5. Sep 4, 2016 #4
    I second this.
  6. Sep 4, 2016 #5


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    Taken even in a limited context, I don't think that this is strange or not normal. a) and b) you give as causes, are things that can and do happen all the time, for a multitude of reasons. In a more general fashion, you'll always find some problem that you can't tackle in one sitting, even if you have studied a lot of the relevant material and solved a lot of exercises / problems. It simply is the case that any kind of skill set is built gradually, through time, with patience. In fact you must seek to find difficult problems that you can't tackle at first and give them the time they deserve.
  7. Sep 4, 2016 #6
    Thank you for your responses.

    I'll certainly tweak the problems and try to solve them. Will Halliday--Resnick be enough or is there some other book I should also look at?

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