High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List

In summary: In fact, I think that the curriculum at elite schools is probably more accelerated than at most schools, so that even at MIT, the intro physics course for physics majors does not require any previous knowledge of physics.In summary, a thread on the Physics Forums website discussed resources for high school and pre-university preparation, specifically in the subjects of math and physics. The author recommended a few books, including "Physics for the IB Diploma" and "Feynman Lectures on Physics." The conversation also touched on the importance of math and science preparation for college, and the lack of a comprehensive list for pre-university physics courses. It was noted that while taking a high school physics course may be beneficial, it is not necessary for success in
  • #1
PhysicsMathGuy
5
0
In this thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...igh-school-pre-university-book-thread.307797/ the author presented a great set of resources for a good high school and pre-university preparation.
What I like about this list is that it gives a solid foundation and has a very good flow. Unfortunately I have not been able to find such a list for high-school and pre-university physics in this forum. Would it be possible for someone to create a comprehensive list like that for physics? Thanks in advance!
 
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  • #3
You're not going to find long lists of books for high school physics like for high school math because in physics you don't have that long sequence of different courses that you have in math (at least not in high school :oldwink:). Most students take just one year of physics in high school, at varying levels of mathematical sophistication.

Basically, you've got three kinds of introductory physics courses that you might encounter in high school:

1. Calculus-based courses, like AP Physics C. These use the same books that college/university calculus-based intro physics courses for physics majors and engineers use, e.g. Halliday/Resnick/Walker "Fundamentals of Physics", Young/Freedman "University Physics" and several others.

2. Non-calculus-based courses that require only algebra and trigonometry, like AP Physics 1 & 2. Such courses are also taught at the college/university level for non-science majors. Books include Serway/Vuille "College Physics", Giancoli "Physics: Principles with Applications" and others.

3. "Conceptual physics" or "descriptive physics" courses with very little math. Books include Hewitt's "Conceptual Physics."
 
  • #4
As the others have stated, there really isn't a comprehensive list of pre-university physics courses. If one were to try to assemble one, it would realistically contain very few physics courses. The most important thing to do is get as much math and science (in general) as possible completed prior to college. The math really is key. Being ready to start calculus in college, or taking some calculus in high school is the best preparation. Taking a high school physics class or two is certainly going to be beneficial, but is far from necessary. Many physics majors don't take any physics until college. Taking some high school chemistry will be beneficial as well, since most physics majors have to take at least a general chemistry sequence in college.

As mentioned, there isn't going to be a sequence like you have with math, i.e. pre-algebra, algebra I, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, pre-calc etc.
 
  • #5
QuantumCurt said:
Taking a high school physics class or two is certainly going to be beneficial, but is far from necessary. Many physics majors don't take any physics until college.

Exactly. The intro physics course that freshman physics majors take in college does not assume any previous knowledge of physics, except maybe at elite schools like MIT.
 

1. What is the purpose of a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List?"

A "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" is a curated list of topics and concepts that are essential for success in high school and pre-university level physics courses. It serves as a guide for students to ensure that they have a strong foundation in the subject before moving on to more advanced topics.

2. How can I use a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" to prepare for my physics classes?

You can use a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" by reviewing the topics and concepts listed and making sure you have a good understanding of them. You can also use it to identify any areas that you may need to work on and seek additional resources or help from your teacher.

3. Is a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" only for students who are struggling in physics?

No, a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" can be beneficial for all students, regardless of their level of proficiency in physics. It can serve as a review for those who are already confident in the subject and a guide for those who may need extra help.

4. Can I use a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" to study for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT?

Yes, a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List" can be a useful resource for studying for standardized tests that include physics questions. The list covers fundamental concepts that are often tested on these exams.

5. Are there any additional resources that I can use alongside a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List"?

Yes, there are many additional resources that can supplement a "High School & Pre-University Physics Prep List." These can include textbooks, online tutorials, practice problems, and study guides. Your teacher or school may also have specific resources available for you to use.

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