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Ways to teach yourself physics?

  1. Sep 14, 2011 #1
    I was wondering if anyone knew of good books/ online resources to learn physics without a formal course. Thanks a ton!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Sep 14, 2011 #3
    This will never fail you, it has worked perfect for me and I always recommend it to everyone.

    1) Familiarize with the material before the lecture. MUST take detailed notes!
    2) Look for any loop holes in your understanding during the lecture/online resource
    3) Go home and practice lots of problems !

    So far, lectures to me are almost pointless because I study the material thoroughly beforehand. You can easily self-study using 1 & 3.

    For number one:

    - Make sure your notes are organized
    - Learn the material thoroughly as you take down notes
    - Follow through concepts VERY SLOWLY
    - Follow the concepts with a pencil and paper in hand, this isn't biology.
    - Almost nothing should be memorized. You should aim for complete understanding of why equations or concepts are the way they are.

    For number three:

    - DON'T undermine the power of practicing problems! You can take notes for every chapter yet understand very little.
    - Do as many practice problems as possible. I would wager 1/3 - 1/2 the problems should suffice for a good understanding.
    - Use Cramster.com, its a great source! But don't cheat yourself out of it.

    That's about it, I broke everything down in a notes-type fashion. You should be doing the same for your chapters. ^.^
  5. Sep 14, 2011 #4
    I'd be less concerned about obtaining the necessary resources. I'd be more concerned with how are you going to put in 8 hours a day for several years without any outside motivation. That's what it takes to learn physics, and I'd say it takes an extremely rare borderline sick person to pull it off.
  6. Sep 14, 2011 #5
  7. Sep 14, 2011 #6
    I'm assuming you trying to learn introductory physics?
  8. Sep 14, 2011 #7
    I believe this is a very important point that can't be stressed enough. You can read the books and do problems and have a good idea what is going on. But chances are you will have (& should have) questions that arise when learning something new. Even if it seems like a small step and you are tempted to not worry about it, it is a good idea to try and figure it out. Not necessarily right away, but make a note to look at it later. It is in answering these sometimes simple questions that I find myself tying everything together and having that "ah ha!" moment of understanding.
  9. Sep 21, 2011 #8
    Buy Friedmans physics book start with chapter 1. it'll take you a year but you will become familiar with physics then.
  10. Sep 21, 2011 #9
    Just ask questions to yourselfs about the things that are happening around you in everyday life, then google them. Trust me google is a far more better source of informal knoledge than books.
  11. Sep 21, 2011 #10
    how can a person google about something he knows nothing about.

    the best book ive seen on physics is Young and Freedmans University Physics with Modern Physics.
  12. Sep 21, 2011 #11
    Just ask questions to yourselfs about the things this guy is saying. :rofl:

    Jokes aside, that would be better for some layman knowledge towards philosophy, biology, or something of the sort. I don't know about studying physics, its more mathematically inclined to just look things up randomly.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  13. Sep 22, 2011 #12

    Ah sound advice. This is very much what I want to do. One of the reasons is that there are in-class tests every week for two of my courses D:. Jezzz
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