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Am I ready for Physics?

  1. Dec 4, 2012 #1
    EE student here, I have completed Calculus but I have to retake ODE in the spring. I hear my classmates in ODE complaining about how hard Physics and I don't understand it..anytime I have been able to draw a diagram I do REALLY well - hence I got an A in Trig!

    Spring Semester holds for me:

    Regular Statistics, Physics, ODE (again)

    I'm a night student as I'm an Engineer by day, what do you guys think about the work load and any tips you can give me to prep me for Physics? I feel really comfortable with my math headed into Stats, and I'm retaking ODE with my favorite Math prof I had for Calc3. Physics is my only real concern and the work load it typically demands.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2012 #2
    Depends on what physics it is. If its a lower division class for an engineering requirement then you should only need a calculus class or two before taking it. There should be pre-reqs listed in the class description.
  4. Dec 4, 2012 #3
    It's only pre-req is Calc1. The reason I ask is I am currently enrolled in an ODE class and I hear classmates whining about Physics I all the time... apparently the instructor is horrible but even still, the material can't be that difficult....right?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  5. Dec 4, 2012 #4
    Physics can be hard and people usually dont like it. If you hate it you are not going to be interested in studying it and in that case, unless you have discipline, you will struggle. If you like it then it will be a pleasure to study it and it shouldnt be hard to put in the necessary time.

    Taking more math classes at this point will not help you in Physics I. There is usually hardly any calculus in Physics I at all. The math for the most part is algebra, trig and some derivatives/integrals of polynomials. Physics II get a little more math heavy with some vector calculus.

    If you anticipate struggling then you should do a pre-emptive attack. Read through some of the assigned text, work though some of its examples and when the term starts plant yourself in the tutor room on week one and be ready to sit there for the long haul.
  6. Dec 4, 2012 #5
    Well my question is "what's so hard about it?" If it isn't the math involved, is it grasping the concepts of different forces acting on something?

    I'm a Network Engineer professionally as I just understand RF and why it works. A lot of people don't understand it but for me - I just get it. I keep hearing people's angst about Physics but I was really looking for insight as to WHAT made Physics so difficult?
  7. Dec 4, 2012 #6
    I dont think its the answer you want to hear, but I think its hard because its boring to them. Since its not fun they dont spend the time they need at it and thus do poorly. If it were fun, like other classes or endeavors, it wouldn't be hard to complete at all.

    Physics I was fun for me. I easily spent the many hours needed to succeed in the class and thus did succeed. I dont think its hard at all. I think it's easier than any of the basic calculus classes. But I have tutored and TAed the class enough to know that it is hard for others, very hard. The students I have worked with who struggle at it, they just dont spend enough time at it and do typical poor student behavior (not reading the section, not working out examples, not studying lecture notes and not seeking out tutors). Its not uncommon at all to have a frustrated and upset student desperate for help and after tutoring for a while I realize they havent even read the section in their book with examples that clearly address their confusion.
  8. Dec 4, 2012 #7
    I on the other hand am excited for Physics. I'm a private pilot and amateur racing sailor, I would love to learn more about the forces that enable such awesome hobbies!

    Pure Math that is used in math class is what bores me, anything that I can TRULY model to the real world such as applied math or physics just interests the heck outta me.
  9. Dec 4, 2012 #8
    It can be hard if physics is not taught the right way, a good book and a good teacher will make your life so much easier
  10. Dec 4, 2012 #9
    It requires thinking.

    If you're not mentally ready to sit down and enjoy 10+ hours of complicated mathy word problems each week, you will suffer and do poorly.

    edit: The math is not hard, but it's important that you understand what the math is to do well, because you will have to recognize and set up your "plug and chug" from a word problem. A simple confusion about something like "The area under a curve is the integral" will easily dock you 30 or more points on a test. But your integrals will likely never be tough ones.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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