How much should I remember from general physics?

In summary, the speaker is taking more physics classes to prepare for grad school. They are concerned about their lack of memory from previous physics classes and are reviewing material, but won't have time to finish before classes start. They are advised to brush up on math, specifically multivariate calculus and vector calculus. The speaker mentions having taken Calculus I-III, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations, but may struggle with understanding concepts. A recommended book for reference is "Div, Grad, Curl, and All That." They are also advised to review coordinate systems other than Cartesian.
  • #1
Moonshine
32
0
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.
 
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  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #4
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/dp/0393969975/?tag=pfamazon01-20.

Oh, and review a bit about coordinate systems other than Cartesian (polar, e.g.).
 
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Related to How much should I remember from general physics?

1. How much math do I need to remember from general physics?

The level of math required for general physics can vary depending on the specific course and level of study. However, a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus is typically necessary to fully grasp the concepts in general physics. It is important to review and practice these math skills regularly to ensure a strong foundation for understanding physics principles.

2. Do I need to remember all the formulas from general physics?

While it is important to have a general understanding of the formulas used in physics, it is not necessary to memorize every single formula. Instead, focus on understanding the underlying concepts and how to apply them to different situations. With practice, you will become more familiar with the formulas and be able to use them effectively without memorization.

3. Can I forget about general physics after I finish the course?

It is not recommended to completely forget about general physics after finishing the course. Many concepts and principles from general physics are fundamental to other areas of science and engineering. Additionally, having a strong understanding of general physics can help in everyday life, such as understanding the behavior of objects and forces in the world around us.

4. How can I retain the information from general physics for a longer period of time?

One effective way to retain information from general physics is to regularly review the material and practice problem-solving. This will help reinforce the concepts and formulas in your memory. Additionally, try to make connections between the material and real-life situations to make it more memorable and relevant.

5. Is it normal to struggle with remembering everything from general physics?

Yes, it is normal to struggle with remembering everything from general physics. Physics is a complex subject that requires practice and understanding of various concepts and principles. If you are having difficulty, try breaking down the material into smaller, more manageable chunks and seek help from a teacher or tutor if needed.

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