Princeton Preliminary Exam

Quantum Mechanics

Statistical Mechanics


General strategies – for physics problem-solving

Physics syllabus – summary of equations across introductory physics

F=ma Topics         F=ma Topics printer – classifies past F=ma problems


USAPhO Topics

Error propagation

Q: Do you learn calculus before physics or along with it?

A: Learning calculus with physics is probably the most intuitive way to go. After all, calculus was developed to solve physical problems involving instantaneous rates of change. In particular, I find it helpful to use kinematics to establish a solid grasp of calculus. The position-velocity-acceleration relationships illuminate the connection between differentiation and integration. Calculus provides the tools for solving advanced problems, while physics provides specific examples to understand abstract concepts. These two subjects work well together.

Good textbook
– Explains general principles
– Shows applications through examples

Links to resources on third-party websites (organized by subject and author last name)


Geogebra – draw physics diagrams

Mathematica – good for analytical calculations

MATLAB – good for numerical calculations

OOMMF – micromagnetic simulations



Classical Mechanics (Goldstein)

Lecture Notes on Classical Mechanics (Golwala)

Analytical Mechanics (Hand)

An Introduction to Mechanics (Kleppner)

Mechanics          The Classical Theory of Fields (Landau)

Introductory Classical Mechanics (Morin)

Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems (Thornton)


Classical Electrodynamics (Jackson)

Electricity and Magnetism Notes (MIT)


Statistical Physics of Particles (Kardar)

Treatise on Thermodynamics (Planck)

Quantum Mechanics

Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Development (Ballentine)

Principles of Quantum Mechanics (Shankar) –> Solutions


Introductory Physics I          Introductory Physics II (Brown)

Feynman Lectures (Feynman)

The Character of Physical Law (Feynman)

Fundamentals of Physics (Halliday)

College Physics (Serway)

The Theoretical Minimum (Susskind)

David Tong: Lectures on Theoretical Physics (Tong)

University Physics with Modern Physics (Young)


A Guide to Physics Problems: Part 1 (Cahn)

200 Puzzling Physics Problems (Gnadig)

Problems in General Physics (Irodov)

1000 Solved Problems in Classical Physics (Kamal)

Problem of the Week (Morin)

Physnet Modules


Elements of Astrophysics (Kaiser)

Problems and Solutions of Atomic, Nuclear, and Particle Physics (Lim)

An Introduction to Error Analysis (Taylor)


Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems (Boyce)

Introduction to Differential Equations (Chasnov)

Differential Equations for Dummies (Holzner)

Linear Algebra and Its Applications (Lay)

Computer Science

A Guide to Programming in Java (Brown)

Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science (Zelle)