# Can't take physics my first year

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• scribkibs
scribkibs
As an undergraduate highly considering graduate school, what are some ways I can still remain engaged with physics and with my institution's physics department despite my delayed start (I cannot take intro physics until my second year)? I was thinking of regularly attending department colloquia and seminars--is this okay for an undergrad to do? Anyway, I just don't want to fall behind or become rusty in physics. All suggestions welcome, thank you so much for reading!

The most important thing you can do is take math classes so that you will be ahead. Start developing good study habits.
Colloquia and seminars are open to everyone.

Last edited:
phinds and Lnewqban
scribkibs said:
(I cannot take intro physics until my second year)
Why not?

jtbell said:
Why not?
I placed into the second highest math class (precalc), and I needed to place into calc in order to start intro physics. I will be able to complete the calc series before I begin my second year, though.

symbolipoint
scribkibs said:
I placed into the second highest math class (precalc), and I needed to place into calc in order to start intro physics.
Yep, Calc I is commonly a co- or pre-requisite for first semester intro physics. On the bright side, when you finally start intro physics, the calculus part should be pretty easy for you. At the schools I've studied or taught at, first-year intro physics uses calculus mainly to simplify things conceptually, and sticks to the simpler examples, from a problem-solving point of view. You probably won't deal with more than simple polynomials, trig and exponential functions.

For problem-solving at that level, it's more important to be good at algebraic manipulation. Aim to solve problems by combining the relevant equations symbolically, isolating the quantity/variable you want, and plugging in the numbers only at the very end. Don't fall into "serial numeric solutions", solving one equation numerically, then plugging the result into the next equation.

In higher-level courses, many or most of your problems will ask you to derive an equation, not calculate a number. You need to get practice in doing that.

symbolipoint

## 1. Why can't I take physics in my first year?

Many universities have prerequisites for physics courses, such as a certain level of proficiency in mathematics. First-year students might need to complete introductory math courses before enrolling in physics classes.

## 2. What courses should I take in my first year to prepare for physics?

It is advisable to take foundational courses in mathematics, such as calculus and algebra, as well as any introductory science courses that are required by your program. These will help build the necessary skills and knowledge for physics.

## 3. Will not taking physics in my first year delay my graduation?

Not necessarily. Many programs are designed with flexibility in mind. You can often take physics in your second year and still graduate on time, especially if you plan your course schedule carefully with an academic advisor.

## 4. Can I take physics over the summer to catch up?

Yes, many institutions offer summer courses that can help you catch up. Taking physics over the summer can be an effective way to stay on track with your academic plan.

## 5. How can I stay interested in physics if I can't take it right away?

You can stay engaged by joining science clubs, attending physics seminars, or reading popular science books and articles. Online courses and tutorials can also provide a good introduction to physics concepts.

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