How can I relearn high school subjects?
April 25, 2013 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I want to relearn algebra, chemistry, basic mechanics, and basic physics this summer. For free?

I was an excellent student in high school but haven't taken a math or science class in about five years (yay liberal arts!)

I know I have the capacity to know this stuff, and to relearn it, but show me the quadratic equation and all I can muster is "yup, that's a thing."

So how can I brush up on what should be basic knowledge this summer? I'm looking for high school, advanced high school or "101" type of information. How should I go about redoing high school, preferably for free?

I'd also love any general tips for successful self-guided study.

Any and all suggestions welcome, for any and all of the subjects I'm looking to learn.
posted by Grandysaur to Education (12 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Khan Academy has math and science curriculum. Looks like they've got math up through Calculus, and they do have some Physics as well. They've got relationships set up between different units, so you can see what the prerequisite knowledge for something is, and what it leads to. Sounds like a great fit for what you're looking to learn!
posted by duien at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Typically undergrad 101 type classes have "the" book that a lot of schools use. For biology, it's Campbell's Biology, for example. Find the book for these 4 topics and supplement with the internet, especially Khan.
posted by zug at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2013

Bonus: "the" book usually has a billion editions and older ones are available for like $5 on Amazon.
posted by zug at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2013

I know that a lot of the states, including Georgia, have online academies.

But I've really got to wonder why you'd want to do this.

Certainly, you can refresh your existing foundational knowledge by obtaining some cheap textbooks and going over the material again.

But unless you have a practical reason for wanting this information and a way of USING it in life going forward, you're likely to forget it again.

I find that you can sit through classes and get excellent grades in them, but if you don't use what you've learned in a real-life application, that the information just gets shuffled to the back of your brain.

Why do you want this information now? What will you do with it?

Perhaps you might do better reading intersting books about the topics you wish to study.

For example:

Algebra--Algebra Survival Guide

Biology--The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Chemistry--Why is Milk White?

Basic Mechanics--Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Physics--The Theoretical Minimum

I find that reading good non-fiction books about stuff that interests me is WAY better than going back to high school.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:32 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure by "basic mechanics" is meant "Newtonian physics of objects in motion", not motorcycle repair.

Seems to me you just need to visit your local public library.
posted by seemoreglass at 2:37 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: But I've really got to wonder why you'd want to do this.

I'm taking the ASVAB in the fall, and want to kick its ass.
posted by Grandysaur at 2:59 PM on April 25, 2013

Oh. Well if you're trying to prep for a specific test, test prep is going to get you a lot further than general knowledge well. Buy the kaplan books and work through those.
posted by zug at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

iTunes U has numerous open source courses and materials that would fit your needs.
posted by tamitang at 5:50 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Barron's review books for New York State high school exams will cover much of what you want.
posted by knile at 5:29 AM on April 26, 2013

Taking algebra test, study algebra.

Taking ASVAB test, study ASVAB.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:57 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh!

Well that makes a LOT more sense.

Get some Asvab test books and study them. Your public library may have some.

Get some practice tests. Take them to see where you are now. Then study. Also, you're going to want to know how the scores are interpreted.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2013

Crash Course!! The history and literature ones are awesome. I haven't watched more than a few of the science ones. There are lots of other great YouTube channels that the guys who make this are involved in.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:01 PM on May 5, 2013

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