Which books should I read before starting university?

In summary: Summary: In summary, the conversation is discussing which textbook to read for university physics classes. The person asking the question is looking for advice on whether to start with Stewart's Calculus or University Physics. They also mention gaps in their knowledge of physics and math, specifically in motion of particles, thermodynamics, electronic devices, trigonometry, conic sections, and 3D geometry. The responder suggests reading Thomas Calculus with Analytic Geometry 3rd edition for a thorough understanding of the material. They also mention that topics like thermodynamics and motion of particles may be covered in a second physics course, and conics may be reviewed in a calculus course. They also offer advice on how to approach learning trigonometric identities.
  • #1
351
42
[I know that I've already posted the question, but I'm just looking for more answers.]

I just graduated from high school and will begin university physics classes in 2 months. Even though I got decent grades in high school and understood most of the things, I feel as though there are still some gaps in my knowledge.

I have Calculus by Stewart and University Physics. Which one should I start reading now? I've read somewhere that the latter one is used in some universities for the first 2 years so it seems that the book covers a lot of advanced topics. But I don't know a lot about Calculus 7E. The advice given to me on the previous thread was to read the Math book for it will give me the necessary background & I won't have to spend a lot of time taking the Math classes and would understand all the Physics for its from the beginning in the university and I've already studies in high school. Does this make sense?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Depends on your current knowledge. Depends on the "gaps" you have.
 
  • #3
micromass said:
Depends on your current knowledge. Depends on the "gaps" you have.
My current knowledge of Physics: http://www.ncert.nic.in/rightside/links/pdf/syllabus/syllabus/desm_s_physics.pdf (from page 3 till the last page).

My gaps here: I didn't study 'motion of particles', 'thermodynamics' and 'Electronic Divices' all that properly. Now, while I did study most of the other stuff very sincerely, I didn't solve all the questions given at the back.

My current knowledge of Math: http://www.ncert.nic.in/rightside/links/pdf/syllabus/syllabus/desm_s_mathematics.pdf (from page 2 till end)

My gaps here: Haven't memorized the values of all the trig functions on various angles (I always thought, "to hell with this, I can always derive them!"), don't remember the derivation of equations like sin(x + y), sinx + siny, integration formulas etc., don't remember proofs of most theorems because they are never asked in exams so our teachers never emphasized that we should learn them (I should've done them, but I wasn't that excited about Math earlier), I didn't study Sequences and Series all that properly (like, I know the concepts, but can't solve problems, so yeah, don't know), don't remember formulas from Conic Sections, didn't do 3D geometry all that properly and...I think that's pretty much it.
 
  • #4
Phys12 said:
My current knowledge of Physics: http://www.ncert.nic.in/rightside/links/pdf/syllabus/syllabus/desm_s_physics.pdf (from page 3 till the last page).

My gaps here: I didn't study 'motion of particles', 'thermodynamics' and 'Electronic Divices' all that properly. Now, while I did study most of the other stuff very sincerely, I didn't solve all the questions given at the back.

My current knowledge of Math: http://www.ncert.nic.in/rightside/links/pdf/syllabus/syllabus/desm_s_mathematics.pdf (from page 2 till end)

My gaps here: Haven't memorized the values of all the trig functions on various angles (I always thought, "to hell with this, I can always derive them!"), don't remember the derivation of equations like sin(x + y), sinx + siny, integration formulas etc., don't remember proofs of most theorems because they are never asked in exams so our teachers never emphasized that we should learn them (I should've done them, but I wasn't that excited about Math earlier), I didn't study Sequences and Series all that properly (like, I know the concepts, but can't solve problems, so yeah, don't know), don't remember formulas from Conic Sections, didn't do 3D geometry all that properly and...I think that's pretty much it.

For the trig part. I cannot even remember most of the useful identities. I know how to spot them, but I can't remember what they are. What I learned to do, was to always know how to derive them from scratch. The derivations are extremely easy, they become trivial and second nature.

Thermodynamics and motion of particles, are usually presented first by using the motion of particles to explain kinetic gas theory, which leads to a discussion of thermodynamics. This is often covered in the second physics course titled physics for scientist and engineers. I would not worry to much about it.

Electronic Devices are briefly mentioned in the second physics course mentioned above. However, you mostly deal with circuits.
Conics are covered again in a course titled Calculus 2. Would not hurt to review them on your own.

I never encountered 3rd geometry. Projective Geometry is what you are talking about? I learned the parts I needed from Calculus books and physics books. Ie, the solid angle.

I would read Stewart, but I would suggest you get Thomas Calculus With Analytic Geometry 3rd ed. Everything is derived. Conics are described very lucidly and there is a full chapter devoted to proving the trig identities. This is the chapter, that taught me the derivations. Very good book. It's worth having it in your library.

Sequence and series are shown twice. At the end or middle of Calculus 2 and in a Discrete Math Course.
 
  • #5
MidgetDwarf said:
For the trig part. I cannot even remember most of the useful identities. I know how to spot them, but I can't remember what they are. What I learned to do, was to always know how to derive them from scratch. The derivations are extremely easy, they become trivial and second nature.

Thermodynamics and motion of particles, are usually presented first by using the motion of particles to explain kinetic gas theory, which leads to a discussion of thermodynamics. This is often covered in the second physics course titled physics for scientist and engineers. I would not worry to much about it.

Electronic Devices are briefly mentioned in the second physics course mentioned above. However, you mostly deal with circuits.
Conics are covered again in a course titled Calculus 2. Would not hurt to review them on your own.

I never encountered 3rd geometry. Projective Geometry is what you are talking about? I learned the parts I needed from Calculus books and physics books. Ie, the solid angle.

I would read Stewart, but I would suggest you get Thomas Calculus With Analytic Geometry 3rd ed. Everything is derived. Conics are described very lucidly and there is a full chapter devoted to proving the trig identities. This is the chapter, that taught me the derivations. Very good book. It's worth having it in your library.

Sequence and series are shown twice. At the end or middle of Calculus 2 and in a Discrete Math Course.
Ok, thanks so much!

And yeah, I think that Projective Geometry and three-dimensional geometry are the same things.

So, from what I could gather, I should review parts of Calculus books where I face difficulty, correct? And leave University Physics for everything will be covered in college and I won't need that much of background in it?
 
  • #6
Yes, that is correct. I would't worry so much about projective geometry at this point. The most important thing in introductory calculus is the ability to use algebra and trigonometry. I would study Calculus if your basics are strong. Every now and then, re study areas of algebra that prevent you from going further in the calculus. My advice is to try to learn calculus. This will help you to learn college level physics.
 
  • #7
MidgetDwarf said:
Yes, that is correct. I would't worry so much about projective geometry at this point. The most important thing in introductory calculus is the ability to use algebra and trigonometry. I would study Calculus if your basics are strong. Every now and then, re study areas of algebra that prevent you from going further in the calculus. My advice is to try to learn calculus. This will help you to learn college level physics.
All right, thanks a ton! :)
 
  • #8
Phys12 said:
All right, thanks a ton! :)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HTNRJ2S/?tag=pfamazon01-20

here is the link to the third edition of Thomas. Note, sometimes people will send the 2nd part of Thomas. This is the Multivariable Calculus version. If this happens file a claim. You will get your money back and the correct book. This happened to me, while ordering multiple copies. The seller allowed me to keep the multivariable books for free and sent the volume 1.

This listing is for the complete book containing Volume 1 and 2.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Likes Phys12

1. What books should I read before starting university?

There is no definitive list of books to read before starting university, as it largely depends on your field of study and personal interests. However, it can be beneficial to read books that introduce you to critical thinking, time management, and study skills. Additionally, you may want to read books related to your intended major or career path.

2. Should I read only textbooks before starting university?

No, it is not necessary to only read textbooks before starting university. In fact, reading a variety of books, including fiction and non-fiction, can help broaden your knowledge and critical thinking skills. However, it can be helpful to also read textbooks in your field of study to prepare for your courses.

3. How many books should I read before starting university?

The number of books you should read before starting university is entirely up to you. You may want to set a goal to read a certain number of books before starting, but it is important to remember that quality is more important than quantity. Choose books that will be beneficial to your academic and personal growth.

4. Can I read books that are not related to my field of study?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to read books that are not directly related to your field of study before starting university. In fact, reading books from a variety of genres can help improve your critical thinking, communication, and creativity skills. It can also expose you to different perspectives and broaden your knowledge.

5. When should I start reading books before starting university?

It is never too early to start reading books before starting university. If possible, it is recommended to start reading a few months before starting your first semester. This will give you enough time to read at a comfortable pace and choose books that are relevant to your academic and personal goals.

Suggested for: Which books should I read before starting university?

Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
35
Views
917
Replies
4
Views
808
Replies
49
Views
3K
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
805
Back
Top