Thermodynamics is one of the most difficult subjects the same major takes physicists or engineers, as the topic that involves a lot of math and requires a solid physics foundation. In General Physics courses both algebra and calculus-based courses.
In this post, we’re going to give you the most interesting ballpoint to prepare and self-study this complicated subject that a lot of people I’m struggling with.
How to prepare for thermodynamics
We’re going to give you 5 principal steps to prepare for thermodynamics. You have to respect the order of this step and not lose the efficiency of this strategy.
1 – Take a pre-calculus course
The first step that you should consider preparing for thermodynamics is to take a pre-calculus course or revise all its components. To study thermodynamics you must have a solid foundation in pre-calculus courses, especially Algebra 2.
You have to be good at solving equations dealing with different types of functions like logarithms and exponential functions in addtion to being good at polynomials and rational functions to simplify a lot of thermodynamics equations.
So you have to go back and fix anything that you have Gap to not struggle later Solving some difficulties and missing thermodynamics problems like this example below.
2 – Take calculus courses
The second thing which is the most interesting thing that determines the success or failure in a thermodynamics course is being prepared well in calculus. Thermodynamics involves a lot of calculus, especially derivatives, integrals, and other advanced subjects like partial derivatives.
So you have to focus a lot on Calculus 1, Calculus 2, And calculus 3. Almost 80% of thermodynamics problems require Solving derivatives equations or making partial derivatives.
The principal reason that makes a lot of people fail in thermodynamics is struggling with Calculus, if you don’t have a good foundation it is easy to make mistakes getting wrong results in the exam.
3 – Take a calculus-based Physics course
This is the step that you have to focus on or revise calculus-based physics courses Especially the part of units and measurements. you have to go back and revise the unit’s transformation I’m table like bars, Pascal, kg, joule, etc.
In thermodynamics, there are a lot of units and transformations to do so you have to be good to prevent making mistakes. because it is easier to get confused between a lot of units as you can see in this image below.
in addtion, you have to be familiar with the basic physics Notions like temperature density volume, and mass. These are the topics that you have to look back:
- Thermal Expansion
- Phase Changes
- Ideal Gas Law
- Pascal’s Principle
- Continuity for Fluids
- Bernoulli’s Principle
4 – work harder
The last step that you should consider is working hard, thermodynamics is a subject that requires a lot of hard work.
First, you have to take enough time to understand the lectures, if you find any difficulty you have to go back or ask your professor and try to absorb the topic well. You can’t solve a thermodynamics problem if you didn’t absorb a lecture well.
The second thing is you have to solve a lot of problems to get enough experience and be used with thermodynamics exams problems. The more problems you solve or thermodynamics exams you work the higher your chances to succeed.
Can I self-study thermodynamics
It is very hard to self-study thermodynamics especially if you are using old methods like books, you would have some difficulties and be stuck in some difficult problems like Entropy, the Second law of thermodynamics, or the Bernoulli principle. But it is still possible to self-study thermodynamics if you use online resources or you are enrolled in community courses that provide support for students.
In the next paragraph, we’re going to list the 3 critical steps you have to follow if you are interested in self-studying thermodynamics.
How to self-study thermodynamics
1 – enroll in physics courses that provide support
The first thing to do if you are interested in succeeding in self-study in thermodynamics is to avoid using books in the beginning, you have to follow someone in an online course to facilitate your subjects and guide you about the important points you should focus on.
At this moment Books are not useful because they are condensed, and have a lot of details. You won’t find shortcuts or bullet points.
You should focus on what the professor gives you. This is what you should be watching someone who is eligible to explain this subject.
We do not recommend watching YouTube videos to self-study thermodynamics, because they are not delivering high quality and in some cases, These free courses don’t cover the whole subject or in the right order.
So the best thing is to enroll in paid courses and focus more on courses that provide call sessions where you have the right to ask yourself a question directly to the instructor.
2 – Devote a lot of time and effort to understanding the lectures
You have to understand that studying thermodynamics is going to cost you a lot of time, you must put a lot of effort and time to understand the principal topics of thermodynamics like first thermodynamics and second thermodynamics law.
So we recommend that you devote at least 3 hours a day to prepare for thermodynamics lectures, in addition, you must have a warrior mindset when you struggle like not understanding something. In this case, you have to use all resources like the internet or books or even have a friend to ask for help from.
But don’t spend a lot of time if you do not understand something.
For instance, if you spend more than 30 minutes trying to solve one single issue, you’ll not be effective. You have always keep that in your mind:
In this case, you have to report this problem until you meet with someone from your thermodynamics online instructor.
3 – Solve a lot of Thermodynamics problems
After you complete your thermodynamics course you have to solve the problems that relate to the particular lecture you studied.
For instance, if you started the first law of thermodynamics you have to solve a lot of problems and exercises about this particular subject. This is going to train you and consolidate your studies helping you to absorb more topics.
When you finish a thermodynamics course you could pick the previous thermodynamics exams and work on them. but do not work in thermodynamics exams if you don’t have their Solutions, we did not encourage you to look at the solutions while you’re working but just for verification.