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A choice between two roads.

  • Thread starter Domn
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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and I was wondering if you guys could give me some advice with school. I am currently a junior in high school taking 15 credits a quarter through a community college through a program in my sate called running start, I wish to acquire an Associate of Science degree by the time I graduate High School. So far I've completed some humanities such as: English 101, Global Issues, and pre-calculus 1. I am currently taking a history class, English 102 and I got into a year long biology sequence this quarter by talking to the instructor. I got a D in pre-cal because the teachers teaching style and my learning style didn't mesh but I have a very strong interest in mathematics, I managed to test into pre-calculus 2 but my college counselor explained to me that I could test into calculus if I was able to raise my trigonometry score on the compass test. I've been studying the trigonometry portion of pre-calculus with the help of my high school math teacher. So far I have studied: Trig Functions, Graphs of Trig Functions, Trigonometric Identities and Equations. Is there anything else I can do to make sure I test into Calculus the next time I take the compass test?
Another question I had was: I wanted to major in Astrophysics, and the only class at my community college related to physics is General Physics. This is a year long sequence and is not calculus based. I was wondering if this would be a good sequence to take considering it's not calculus based. The other choice would be to take a chemistry sequence. I was also wondering if you guys had any other suggestions on classes to take. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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  • #2
I got a D in pre-cal because the teachers teaching style and my learning style didn't mesh but I have a very strong interest in mathematics
No excuse. None at all. In college, you take charge of your own education. I'm glad you're doing this now. Beyond what you're doing now, I'd memorize the unit circle and learn at least the law of sines. Honestly, in calculus, you don't need to be intimately familiar with all the concepts in trigonometry. You just need a firm foundation in the basics.

Another question I had was: I wanted to major in Astrophysics, and the only class at my community college related to physics is General Physics. This is a year long sequence and is not calculus based. I was wondering if this would be a good sequence to take considering it's not calculus based.
Well, you're going to have to take a year of calculus-based intro physics when you get into university. If you take the classes and get good grades, it'll look very good on your college applications. If you don't mind redundancy, then go ahead and take it. If you're taking physics at high school, though, I don't see why you should bother.
 
  • #3
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Thank you for the advice. I had a good wakeup call last quarter, it really changed the way I go about my classes. I'll just keep studying what I am then, I'm planning to take the placement test sometime next week.
Oh and by the way, I was looking over my class catalog and I noticed the engineering physics sequence which has calculus 1 as a requirement. I was wondering if this would be a better sequence to take than general physics to prepare me for a university. So far I have no physics classes under my belt, but I will be studying independently over the summer to get a better grasp of the material before the class starts.
 
  • #4
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I think if you are motivated and feel you can handle it, I recommend taking the calculus based course. It gives you a good foundation and a realistic feel of the first physics course in college.

As for the trigonometry, see what areas you find hard and spend a good deal of time studying it.

Best
Abiyo
 
  • #5
Thank you for the advice. I had a good wakeup call last quarter, it really changed the way I go about my classes. I'll just keep studying what I am then, I'm planning to take the placement test sometime next week.
Oh and by the way, I was looking over my class catalog and I noticed the engineering physics sequence which has calculus 1 as a requirement. I was wondering if this would be a better sequence to take than general physics to prepare me for a university. So far I have no physics classes under my belt, but I will be studying independently over the summer to get a better grasp of the material before the class starts.
I took calculus-based physics without any prior background in physics, and I came out of it with a B. Being familiar with the material beforehand helps a lot, but it's possible to succeed with no prior knowledge. The calculus in calculus-based physics is actually pretty simple, at least in the mechanics course (the E&M course is integral-heavy). All you need to know is basic integration and differentiation of polynomials and the fundamental theorem of calculus (the part that says the integral of dx is x). If possible, take calculus and that calculus-based physics class concurrently. In fact, I'd be surprised if that weren't possible.
 
  • #6
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I'm amazed that you're so motivated and have such opportunities! I'm a senior in high school now and not a single person I know is doing anything similar to what you're doing. How did you go about finding such programs? I'm amazed!
 
  • #7
lisab
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Gold Member
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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and I was wondering if you guys could give me some advice with school. I am currently a junior in high school taking 15 credits a quarter through a community college through a program in my sate called running start, I wish to acquire an Associate of Science degree by the time I graduate High School. So far I've completed some humanities such as: English 101, Global Issues, and pre-calculus 1. I am currently taking a history class, English 102 and I got into a year long biology sequence this quarter by talking to the instructor. I got a D in pre-cal because the teachers teaching style and my learning style didn't mesh but I have a very strong interest in mathematics, I managed to test into pre-calculus 2 but my college counselor explained to me that I could test into calculus if I was able to raise my trigonometry score on the compass test. I've been studying the trigonometry portion of pre-calculus with the help of my high school math teacher. So far I have studied: Trig Functions, Graphs of Trig Functions, Trigonometric Identities and Equations. Is there anything else I can do to make sure I test into Calculus the next time I take the compass test?
Another question I had was: I wanted to major in Astrophysics, and the only class at my community college related to physics is General Physics. This is a year long sequence and is not calculus based. I was wondering if this would be a good sequence to take considering it's not calculus based. The other choice would be to take a chemistry sequence. I was also wondering if you guys had any other suggestions on classes to take. Thanks in advance for any advice.
The Running Start program is fantastic - my daughter had 1.5 years of college finished before she graduated high school, thanks to that program.

I'm going to make the assumption that the non-calculus physics is roughly equivalent to high school physics. I think it would be a good idea for you to have at least some exposure to physics before you take the calc-based level, especially since you are aiming for astrophysics. You want to have a solid understanding of the basics, that's critical.

So I'd advise taking the General Physics course, if you aren't going to take any physics at your high school.

Also, trig is really important in physics. I admire your ambition to test into calculus, but just be sure you fully understand your trig - it's not just a hoop you have to jump through to get into calculus, it's very important you know it.
 
  • #8
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I took calculus-based physics without any prior background in physics, and I came out of it with a B. Being familiar with the material beforehand helps a lot, but it's possible to succeed with no prior knowledge. The calculus in calculus-based physics is actually pretty simple, at least in the mechanics course (the E&M course is integral-heavy). All you need to know is basic integration and differentiation of polynomials and the fundamental theorem of calculus (the part that says the integral of dx is x). If possible, take calculus and that calculus-based physics class concurrently. In fact, I'd be surprised if that weren't possible.
If everything goes well, ( there's a teacher that can teach engineering physics but he didn't teach this year, I'm going to go talk to him next week about this to see if he is going to.) then I will be taking calculus 1 this spring and taking calculus 2 when I'm taking the second quarter of engineering physics. I will be taking calculus 3 when I take the third quarter of engineering physics.

I'm amazed that you're so motivated and have such opportunities! I'm a senior in high school now and not a single person I know is doing anything similar to what you're doing. How did you go about finding such programs? I'm amazed!
Washington state has an outstanding program that allows high school students to test into college, the state pays tuition and I just have to pay a little bit for classes and books. I got into the program because I heard about it from my class adviser when I was a sophomore. Depending on the state you live in, you might be able to do this program as well, just go talk to your school's counselor. Just letting you know, being a college student and being a high school student is very different. College expects you to learn more independently than high school does.

The Running Start program is fantastic - my daughter had 1.5 years of college finished before she graduated high school, thanks to that program.

I'm going to make the assumption that the non-calculus physics is roughly equivalent to high school physics. I think it would be a good idea for you to have at least some exposure to physics before you take the calc-based level, especially since you are aiming for astrophysics. You want to have a solid understanding of the basics, that's critical.

So I'd advise taking the General Physics course, if you aren't going to take any physics at your high school.

Also, trig is really important in physics. I admire your ambition to test into calculus, but just be sure you fully understand your trig - it's not just a hoop you have to jump through to get into calculus, it's very important you know it.
I agree, the program is amazing, I'm glad I have the chance to participate in such a program. Thanks for the advice by the way, I'm planning on doing the physics sequence next year. I'm hoping that my school will have the engineering physics sequence. Thanks also for warning me about the trig. I'll be studying it until I actually start the calculus class to make sure I know all of the material.
 

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