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How much should I remember from general physics?

  1. Dec 25, 2009 #1
    I took the usual general physics classes about 4 years ago during my chemistry undergrad career. Now, I'm taking some more physics classes in order to go to grad school for physics.

    I'm going to be taking intermediate E&M and Mechanics. Will I have a hard time in these classes if I don't remember much from the general physics classes? I am reviewing some of the material, but I won't have time to finish it all before the classes start, and I'm worried that I will do poorly.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2009 #2
    Honestly, if You're jumping into E&M and Mechanics, you might want to brush up on your math. What's your highest math? Are you comfortable with math? If you're at least to (3D calc)/(Vector Calc) and some differential equations, you should be good.

    If you felt that your intro-physics was satisfactory, I would concentrate on working some problems. Much of what is important in physics is the reality-math link that only comes with working problems.

    On the other hand, if you have difficulty describing the concepts that you learned in intro physics to a friend, I would start with concepts.
  4. Dec 25, 2009 #3
    I've taken Calc I-III, Linear Alg, and Diff. Equations. I have been and will be reviewing some of the material from those classes too. I think our class has a short review on some of the math topics too. So that should help.
  5. Dec 25, 2009 #4


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    You should get very cozy and comfortable with multivariate calculus. Especially for E&M, you'll need vector calculus - div, grad, curl and all that. In fact, a great reference is a short book called https://www.amazon.com/Div-Grad-Curl-All-That/dp/0393969975".

    Oh, and review a bit about coordinate systems other than Cartesian (polar, e.g.).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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