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What should i learn before college?

  1. Jun 29, 2013 #1
    Hi high school is finally over and now it is time to get ready for college but how?:confused: i have been searching the internet for a week now to find the answer for that but i haven't found it so if you can help me it would be very appreciated .
    Im interested in physics and want to become a physicist so what should i learn? any tip or advice is welcome but please make it detailed for example say (read this particular book or learn that subject ) thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2013 #2


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    Academics wise:

    Brush up on all your previous math courses. Love the algebra, and learn it well. Most problems in upper level maths come from fundamental issues in the previous coursework. If you've had calculus already, take some time to look at the "applied" problems that had to do with physical concepts. If you're truly daring, look over some proofs.

    As unappealing as it may be, brush up on your English as well. Being able to communicate succinctly will be a benefit.

    Start keeping up with physics news. Pay special attention to discoveries that seem extra appealing to you. At some point in your undergraduate studies, you'll want to do some research, so it helps to have an idea starting out of the gate.

    Study wise:

    Practice good study habits. Learn to take notes of the reading BEFORE lecture and fill in the blanks during lecture. Don't skip the readings as most generally do in HS. Instead, use lecture to be an active participant. Get over any fear of asking questions.

    Reading wise:

    Read Feynman's Lectures on physics (or watch, or listen). They give a pretty good overview of the intro sequence, and will be of great help. It's nice to have a general idea of what you're getting into.

  4. Jun 29, 2013 #3
    thanks great tips especially the one about communication yes i suck in it even when i speak my native language it is sometimes hard to understand me and that is probably because im an introverted person.
    do you think Feynman's lectures are appropriate because some people say that they are bad for a beginner?
  5. Jun 29, 2013 #4


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    How much physics and math have you already studied in high school?
  6. Jun 29, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    How to do laundry.
    How to iron a shirt.
    How to write a check.
    How to drive a stick-shift.
    How to cook a meal.

    Just to mention a few.
  7. Jun 29, 2013 #6


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    Vanadium's advice is stellar. If you cannot feed yourself, manage your finances, and keep your house clean enough you can see the floor and no bugs are living in your sink-- better start now. College is not only a time to learn about the subject you love most, but also a time to figure out just what life is all about. Unfortunately, it's a lot of busy work. Feeding yourself, clothing yourself, cleaning, driving ;)

    The Feynman's Lectures are by no means a physics text. In fact, there is a striking absence of problems to solve. Instead, Feynman offers a frame of reference for how to actually look at things. There will be no true technical level of detail to be achieved from the texts, and that's exactly why I mentioned it.

    He does look at things a bit differently, which may be helpful or irritating depending on your viewpoint on things. If there's anything to take away from the lectures, it's that physics-- nature... it's beautiful. And that we, regardless of specific field in science, have a duty to never stop asking why. And to never be afraid of not knowing. Ah, and there's quite a good bit of physics in there too.

    On introversion: Don't let the drain of people get to you. There's a big difference between shy and introversion, which you'll soon learn. I'm an introvert and though I'm neither shy nor excited around people, it took a bit out of me. Don't let it become an excuse for behaviors; make time for yourself so you never become irritable or frustrated.

    English is a tough language. I don't care what anyone else says on the matter, and my statement is that of absolute bias. You can increase you active vocabulary by picking up a SAT vocab book and doing flash cards or something similar. Words begin to stick in your mind only if you use them in daily language. As far as grammar and writing ability, those just come with time and practice. Your college will likely force a few English credits upon you. Don't be too intimidated, there's often writing workshops/help centers on campus to help you out.

  8. Jun 29, 2013 #7
    In math i studied (algebra, geometry, trigonometry , logarithm , graphs and linear models ,limits, derivatives and their applications ,integrals and their applications , and a bit of conic sections ,also a bit of complex numbers too but i forgot them)
    in physics ( classical mechanics , Electromagnetism ,vibrations and waves , interference and diffraction , atomic physics ,modern electronics, also back in 10th grade i studied thermodynamics , optics , and fluid mechanics but i don't remember them well now).
  9. Jun 29, 2013 #8


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    If you've had that much math, why not give some more advanced analysis or linear a crack? I mean, if you're bored. You've already got a solid foundation for undergraduate physics. Additionally, reading the Feynman Lecture's at your level of knowledge will be perfect. You've already gotten a taste of it all, and seeing a different perspective will likely be refreshing.

    Additionally, reading AND getting some physics knocks out two things at once.
  10. Jun 29, 2013 #9
    well i can cook some meals, iron a shirt but i don't know how to drive at all i always disliked driving car or even riding a bike but i guess you are right im going to try to learn that but i won't worry about checks in my country we don't have banks and that kind of stuff the only banks that exist are only there for the government to pay wages to it's employees and when they take their wages the banks become empty (by the way we also don't have a postal system).
  11. Jun 29, 2013 #10
    well i have studied them but i can't say that i have mastered them also there is one problem which is the way i studied them weren't very good you see in my country we don't actually "learn" rather we are more taught to memorize things we become like slow calculators we can give you the derivative of a function but we don't even know what we did .also im ready to start working hard .
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
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