1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Intro Physics Kleppner Mechanics: am I ready?

  1. Jun 19, 2017 #1
    I just finished my junior year in high school. In college, I hope to major in physics and was interested in the honors versions of freshman introductory physics. These all have the prerequisite of a calculus-based mechanics course and use Kleppner as their mechanics textbook.

    I have so far only taken a high school honors mechanics course at the level of AP Physics 1 (algebra-based). It seems that I can still place into college honors physics if I learn calculus-based mechanics. I'm not sure what the best way to go about this is.

    Should I try to learn from University Physics or similar or should I go straight to Kleppner Mechanics, knowing that it'd be the same book I'd use in college? I'm leaning toward the second route because a higher level book might be more interesting and I would have to buy/rent Kleppner anyways later.

    Would Kleppner be overwhelmingly difficult as a self-study for someone who hasn't taken calculus-based mechanics? I did very well in my algebra-based mechanics class and got 100% on the final. Additionally, I took AP Calculus BC this year and found that extremely easy as well.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2017 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    What is the mechanism for placing into honors physics at the universities that you're interested in, if your transcript doesn't include a calculus-based intro physics course? Do they give a placement exam?

    Since you've already done well in an algebra-based intro physics course, if you're comfortable with basic calculus (derivatives and integrals at the level of a typical college Calculus I course in a 3-course sequence) I think you can probably handle Kleppner & Kolenkow OK.

    At the college where I taught, for many years we didn't have a calculus-based intro physics course along the lines of Halliday/Resnick et al., because few incoming freshmen had the math background for it. Instead we had an algebra-based intro course, and a sophomore mechanics course using Kleppner & Kolenkow that served as a "bridge" to our upper-level mechanics course.
  4. Jun 19, 2017 #3
    From the University of Chicago physics website:
    From the Princeton physics website:
    My high school does not offer AP Physics C, but another in the district does. I'm considering taking the AP test at the other high school to make placement go smoother.
  5. Jun 19, 2017 #4
    Go right ahead with K&K. I was in a similar position as you during junior year, and now I am an incoming freshman at Harvard. I'm perfecting my basic mechanics and E&M this summer with K&K and Purcell, respectively.

    Also, since you seem to have deep interest in physics, I think you could also begin your studies of E&M with Purcell instead of going with University Physics or Knight or whatever basic intro book your school uses.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted