I am a 16 year old student who will be learning Physics next year. Before I actually start Physics in school, however, I want to have a basic or intermediate understanding of the subject beforehand. This is because I'm really interested in this type of science and I want to to impress my science teacher. I'm hoping to be borrowing some books relating to Physics in the oncoming weeks to help me learn.

Are there any resources online, Physics books, or exercises you guys can recommend to me? Also, are there certain terms or parts of Physics that I should start off with? (eg: the study of relativity)

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to physics.stackexchange.com! The website is really meant for creating a curated database of questions and answers about physics. It isn't suited for questions which involve discussion or which only apply to the asker. Other websites are much more suited to this. Like this answer on Quora. My advice: Learn basic calculus and Hamiltonian/Lagrangian mechanics from Susskind and Hrabovsky, The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics. Best of luck! $\endgroup$
    – user12029
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ @VoltairesWig, I'm teaching physics to high school juniors and seniors, and my best advice is to make REALLY sure that your algebra skills are solid. Concentrate on separating variables in physics equations (getting a specified variable by itself on one side of the equal sign), to the extent that you are comfortable doing so with a variety of different equation types. If you do that, you will definitely impress your teacher at the beginning of the year, and you will have a foundation that the teacher can build upon. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ You don't mention what level physics you plan to be learning. College level? Then as mentioned: make sure your basic calculus skills are honed. $\endgroup$
    – marathon
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ @marathon, hello and thank you for advising me to get basic skills in calculus. I'm only in Year 10, so Year 11 next year is when I start Physics in school so hopefully that gives you insight that it's only Units 1 & 2 of Physics that I'll be learning; definitely not college leveled. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @David White, hello and thank you for giving me advice. It's a little strange that you have the first name of my science teacher! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


When I was about your age I found Isaac Asimov's three-volume set Understanding Physics to be just right for me. Of course, now it would be half a century old. Still, it might fit you.

I also was very interested in relativity and I think was indeed 16 years old when I first read David Mermin's Space and Time in Special Relativity. I really enjoyed his unique style a lot.

I'm also a big fan of David J. Griffiths' Introduction To Electrodynamics text, but you need a solid mathematical background to dive into that.

For what it's worth I'd encourage you to explore as much mathematics as you can, but also try tinkering with more "hands on" activities like electronics or computer programming. Both theoretical and experimental approaches are terrific fun, so explore both.

Have fun!

  • $\begingroup$ hello and thank you for providing me with some advice. I feel a lot better after reading this, knowing that doing Year 11 Computing can somewhat assist me with understanding Physics more. We're also learning about electricity later in the year. On my next trip to the library, I'll be sure to get those books! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:44

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