pizza2503
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Hi, I’m hoping to start a physics degree at Durham this October (if I get the grades 😅) and was wondering if there’s any preparation I should do beforehand over the summer?

I’m thinking of taking a few physics online courses, and reading some physics books (if anyone has any recommendations let me know!). However would it be beneficial for me to review A-level physics, maths and further maths so that I’m fully up to date for the course? I’m aware that for physics you have to have a solid grasp of maths so I’d like to be really confident by the time my course starts and not have forgotten everything.

If anyone has any advice of things I could do to prepare let me know, and if there are any topics that I should have a solid understanding of before starting my course
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HertsExRep
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(Original post by pizza2503)
Hi, I’m hoping to start a physics degree at Durham this October (if I get the grades 😅) and was wondering if there’s any preparation I should do beforehand over the summer?

I’m thinking of taking a few physics online courses, and reading some physics books (if anyone has any recommendations let me know!). However would it be beneficial for me to review A-level physics, maths and further maths so that I’m fully up to date for the course? I’m aware that for physics you have to have a solid grasp of maths so I’d like to be really confident by the time my course starts and not have forgotten everything.

If anyone has any advice of things I could do to prepare let me know, and if there are any topics that I should have a solid understanding of before starting my course
Heya! Make sure you take the time to enjoy your summer and not just study--I'm sure the first year at most unis are all about getting everyone up to speed and you'll have time to solidify everything! You won't want to burn out before you've started

If you do really want to do some physics things, I would suggest Serway's Physics For Scientists and Engineers--it's an amazing text with great questions to challenge and solidify your understanding. We used it in our first and second year of uni, and I know a lot of other unis do as well, so you might end up using it for your classes in first year. You can find .pdfs online if you can't find it elsewhere or don't want to pay for it! I used Kuldeep Singh's Engineering Mathematics Through Applications in my first year for his class (which again, I believe many unis use in first year too) and he's an amazing writer and has great exercises. The Kindle version is relatively cheap online too!

I'd also suggest reading for "fun" physics texts too--for example, those I listed here.
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pizza2503
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(Original post by Michelle Bieger)
Heya! Make sure you take the time to enjoy your summer and not just study--I'm sure the first year at most unis are all about getting everyone up to speed and you'll have time to solidify everything! You won't want to burn out before you've started

If you do really want to do some physics things, I would suggest Serway's Physics For Scientists and Engineers--it's an amazing text with great questions to challenge and solidify your understanding. We used it in our first and second year of uni, and I know a lot of other unis do as well, so you might end up using it for your classes in first year. You can find .pdfs online if you can't find it elsewhere or don't want to pay for it! I used Kuldeep Singh's Engineering Mathematics Through Applications in my first year for his class (which again, I believe many unis use in first year too) and he's an amazing writer and has great exercises. The Kindle version is relatively cheap online too!

I'd also suggest reading for "fun" physics texts too--for example, those I listed here.
Thank you for your suggestions, they’re really helpful

I’m planning on spending most of my summer not studying, but I love learning new things and there’s at least three months between now and starting my course so I don’t want to get too ‘rusty’ 😅 I was just thinking of doing a few hours of pre-study each week as something productive to do as I’m going to get bored pretty quickly with all the free time I have.

Also thanks for the physics texts suggestions, I’d never even considered reading biographies of famous physicists so I’m certainly going to look out for some of those
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HertsExRep
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(Original post by pizza2503)
Thank you for your suggestions, they’re really helpful

I’m planning on spending most of my summer not studying, but I love learning new things and there’s at least three months between now and starting my course so I don’t want to get too ‘rusty’ 😅 I was just thinking of doing a few hours of pre-study each week as something productive to do as I’m going to get bored pretty quickly with all the free time I have.

Also thanks for the physics texts suggestions, I’d never even considered reading biographies of famous physicists so I’m certainly going to look out for some of those
Ah I totally understand! I just always start off with a warning not to do too much, because I know some people really go all in on summer studying! If anything else, I would also recommend (if you can) to do more practical things over the summer. Looking back over my degree, I definitely think I could have done more practical, lab-type things to see the theory come to life (we had the opportunity to in my degree, don't get me wrong, I just didn't seize them enough). There's been a robot kit in my room for the past few years I want to finally get around to doing...something like that to get some of the more dry concepts like EM and optics more zest!

I really enjoyed reading those biographies! We hear a lot about their theories and we know a lot of popular modern physicists, but I like some of the more interesting, obscure history behind these mathematics and theories--like that William Herschel's sister Caroline actually was an astronomer in her own right, or that Tycho Brahe was....well, actually his entire biography is interesting
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artful_lounger
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As above, there isn't any real necessary work to be done. I would say it may be worth towards the end of the summer running through some maths/FM problems to make sure you haven't gone too rusty; for physics you probably don't really need to review anything otherwise.

You may find it edifying to look at the Feynman Lectures in Physics, which are three slim volumes of material pitched at the level of a beginner undergraduate or motivated school student with a good grasp of calculus, complex numbers, and matrices. It's very readable material, and full of insight into the physical intuition you need besides the mathematical formalism (although unlike many introductory texts on the matter, the quantum stuff is treated via the mathematical formalism of matrices, which is possibly better than the alternative if you are comfortable with them), although it doesn't teach you physics per se - it's more "for culture" and to teach you how to think about physics, along with some of the machinery.

Spoiler:
Show





If you want to try your hand and looking some of the material you're likely to encounter (which I can't really recommend as a useful way to spend your time at present), Young & Freedman (also known as Zemansky & Sears, after the publisher, in the US) is the standard text for first year physics. Any calculus based first year introductory/general physics resources will be applicable. For more of the maths based material, the Schaum's Outline of Advanced Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists covers the majority of the mathematical content you'll encounter and most usefully has a lot of problems to work through.

As above this isn't as useful now, however unlike Young & Freedman it's cheap, a paperback, and great for exam prep. It's certainly a worthwhile pick up, unlike most textbooks (which are usually available from the library). One of my friends who got a 1st in Physics then did his PhD in the same is the one who recommended it to me and said he just worked through it cover to cover over the course of the degree and it was by far the most useful resource he had. I used bits and pieces of it for my engineering course and I have to agree it's very useful...




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drsfgdg
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(Original post by pizza2503)
Hi, I’m hoping to start a physics degree at Durham this October (if I get the grades 😅) and was wondering if there’s any preparation I should do beforehand over the summer?

I’m thinking of taking a few physics online courses, and reading some physics books (if anyone has any recommendations let me know!). However would it be beneficial for me to review A-level physics, maths and further maths so that I’m fully up to date for the course? I’m aware that for physics you have to have a solid grasp of maths so I’d like to be really confident by the time my course starts and not have forgotten everything.

If anyone has any advice of things I could do to prepare let me know, and if there are any topics that I should have a solid understanding of before starting my course
Try a website called isaac physics. I wish I did this before arriving
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