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Does one need Physics with calc or can one just take college physics

  1. Mar 25, 2013 #1
    At the university in my town they offer summer physics courses. Although only college physics and not physics with calculus. I have the option to take this and do the first half of physics. Will only taking physics without calc hinder my abilities for later classes in physics? The prerequisites say you can do either and still take latter classes but I wanted your opinions. Also I'm still in high school so will probably take physics with calc when I actually go. but for now after these classes I want to take osculations and waves, etc while still here. Will I be able to understand these at the same level?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2013 #2
    Non-calculus physics is geared for non-science majors, or science majors other than the physical sciences. Ie, biology, pre-med, some geologies. Ya certainly could take the non-calculus, and get a "jump start" on calculus based physics ya might take later. The primary thing ya miss out on in non-calculus physics is the development of a true "intuition" in your problem solving processes. The physics are the same, it's just that route from A to B is shortened. By that I mean, the relationships are "developed for ya" outside of the texts and classroom, ya are presented with the "end product" of the derivations in the form a of an algebraic formula. Ya miss the process of deriving the principles.
  4. Mar 25, 2013 #3
    What is your math background now? I'm not sure you can even take calculus based physics yet. Any physics based calculus course I've seen has Cal 1 as a corequisite. Also, if you have taken any physics in high school, you excel in math-based classes, or consider yourself a "fast-learner," I would not recommend taking General Physics as you're time(and money) would be better served self teaching the concepts, which in General Physics is mostly memorization of formulas.
  5. Mar 25, 2013 #4
    Re: Does one need Physics with calc or can one just take college physi

    Well this summer I'm taking calculus 1 and then in the fall I will be in calc 2 and the fall is the next available time that they offer calc based physics. I love math and math based classes and is my belief I'm a fast learner, but as far as self study I could do that but I would prefer to take them in the classroom, when I'm taking the actual class I am far more proficient. And well as far as cost I can take the classes there for next to nothing there's a program that will pay for most it.

    So should I just wait and self study or should I just do both?
  6. Mar 25, 2013 #5
    Take the class. You'll have a college credit, and ya will be able ask for a expansion on the concept under consideration during lectures (ya can't do that with a self study program.) The additional exposure will make calculus based physics that much more fun for ya when ya get to that.

    Given the maths background ya listed, I wouldn't see why ya couldn't do an introductory calculus based physics if the college offers one. In the introductory physics, ya won't find anything much of anything deeper than 2nd derivatives, and some partial/indefinite integrals, first order differentials.

    Go for the class, ya'll enjoy it. I didn't realize that ya were H.S. taking college classes, good luck, and make it fun.
  7. Mar 25, 2013 #6
    Re: Does one need Physics with calc or can one just take college physi

    Thank you for the advice. I think that's what I will do. I'm excited.
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