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Phoebus125 Offline
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I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 3rd 2009, 02:54 AM

So for various reasons, I find myself unable to take certain classes at my school:

-Physics (scheduling conflict)
-Business (not offered)
-Economics (only offered as AP and I couldn't get into the AP course)
-Political Science (not offered)

Since my desire to learn these things is overwhelming, I'm willing to give independent study a try. I want to be able to learn them efficiently and effectively, though.

So I ask, what is the best way to go about doing an independent study? Are there certain things I can do to maximize my self-teaching?

Also, any good books on the above subjects that you can suggest would be very helpful.


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Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 3rd 2009, 03:00 AM

So if I understood correctly, you want to learn about these subjects now and for whatever reason, you're unable to take them at school? There are a couple of things that you could do and ultimately, choose the one (or more than one) that you feel would serve you best.

1) You're seventeen years old. You're either graduating next year or you've already graduated from high school. Take these courses in college/university. There will certainly be tons of classes that deal with these subjects anywhere you go to college/university.

2) Search your local library for books on the subject. Librarians are very helpful for that kind of thing.

3) Pick up some AP study guides. I know that sounds weird but it'll actually help you. If you're not familiar with AP study guides, they're basically guides put together to help grade twelve students study for AP tests. It'll present all of the knowledge they should have before they graduate high school. That's right at your level. There is AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Comp Government and Politics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, etc. Click here for a full list of AP subjects.

I hope this helps. Take care and good luck.

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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 3rd 2009, 03:42 AM

You can try going to Chapters or some other good book store or library and getting some basic books on those subjects. Ideally, find one with questions and answers. If you have some friends or parents who are good in some of those areas you can try to see if they'll offer to help you out. Also, remember you have the Internet so if there's something in the book that you're not understanding then look it up online. Remember also that you can find not only basic study outlines and introductory books but also you can find books specifically for AP courses and tests, although you would be better off learning the basics first before you jump into those.

The alternate option is to wait for university or college as there are many first-year courses that will cover all the basics so you can learn it then. They may also cover some additional topics that some of the library books may not. In physics, the main area where this would occur is when you are to do various labs.
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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 3rd 2009, 08:03 AM

-Physics (scheduling conflict)
-Business (not offered)
-Economics (only offered as AP and I couldn't get into the AP course)
-Political Science (not offered)

For business, just get some books on the subject. It is easy. Economics is similar but not as easy. Sorry I don't have good book recommendations on those subjects as I have no interest in business and hate economics.

For political science, I recommend getting We The People: The Citizen and The Constitution. It will give a good introduction to Constitutional Law. I'm not sure what to tell you if you want intl. politics.

For physics, do you want an interesting book, or do you want to know how to actually do the math like you'd learn in a class?

My best advice for learning about these subjects, besides doing searches, getting books, would be to join forums on the subjects and talking to or asking the people there.

Really though its hard to get a comprehensive understanding of something how you would in a good class, and it is really hard to understand anything really well.

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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 5th 2009, 02:39 PM

Do the classes have a timetable of what they will be studying, syllabus or curriculum? I'm self-teaching GCSE physics this year and I'm using the syllabus and a good text book and I seem to be managing ok. I don't know what the US education system is like and whether there is set things you need to know, but a good bet would be to get a study book and work your way through it. Good luck
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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 5th 2009, 10:20 PM

Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan is a decent introduction to economics, and it's quite readable (for a book on economics).

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Re: I want to independently study a couple of subjects, what is the best way to do this? - August 6th 2009, 01:53 AM


Self-teaching is a great way to learn and sometimes it can be better than actual schooling because you get to learn on your own time. I have done a lot of self-teaching when it comes to the psychology field.

I have found that the best way to self-teach is by finding books about the subject that interests you. I don't have any specific book names for these subjects but there are two ways you could find good books about it 1) go to your local library and talk to a librarian, explain what you are looking for and they could probably help you out 2) Go to your local bookstore and talk to a sales person; they can be pretty helpful as well.

Something else you could consider doing is going to your school and talking to the teachers that teach the subjects (I know two are not offered). Go to the physics and economic teacher and explain the situation to them and ask them for advice; they might have a lot of great books and (possibly) websites that you could check out. I know it might be weird talking to a teacher that you don't know about this but usually teachers are willing to help, even when they don't know you.

Another thing I could suggest is joining some clubs that have to do with these subjects; I know at my high school we had a physics club. It might not be the same for your school but look into it. Sometimes a good way to learn about subjects is finding people who have the same interest and if you join a club you will definitely find some people with the same interests.

Something else you could consider is googling and finding some websites/forums about these subjects. It might be difficult to do but with time and persistence I am sure you will find something.

Here are some links I found:


I don't know how great these are but they could be a starting point.

Lastly, like Canuck said, you will(or should) be in college soon and with college comes a lot of different studies and what not. So, if self-teaching doesn't work out you can always wait till college.

I hope this helped.


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