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Looking to Get Back Into Maths & Physics - Where to Start?

  1. Jun 24, 2013 #1
    I'm 18. At school, maths and physics never really interested. In fact, I didn't really know what it was all about, or even properly realised that it had real world consequences. However, since leaving I've regained my childhood love of maths and physics particularly. I would love to study it at university, hopefully combined with (analytic) philosophy. I have two main questions: first, considering that my grounding is very poor, I would most likely have to redo my Maths and Physics GCSEs to even start upon A Levels. In light of this, is it somewhat quixotic of me to aspire to do it at degree level? Secondly, if it does seem a realistic possibility, where should I start? What books should I read to prepare me? I've read popular science books my Peter Atkins which touch on this stuff, as well as Feynman's 'Six Easy Pieces' and 'A Very Short Introduction to Particle Physics', but I feel as if I need to challenge myself with mathematical equations. Any help/advice is appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2013 #2


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    Can you take math classes at a local college, or maybe Open University?

    You need to start with math, IPO. Not only will you need it for the physics you'll take in the future, it's like calisthenics for your brain. If you've been out of school for a while, math is a great way to get back in shape.

    But don't start at where you *want* to start. Go back and review things you already studied. I'm not familiar with the UK system, is there a place where you can go take a placement test?
  4. Jun 26, 2013 #3


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    You are unlikely to be accepted onto a full-time maths or physics degree course without decent A-levels in Maths and Further Maths or Physics (preferably all three). And it will be very difficult to get decent A-levels in Maths, Further Maths or Physics if you don't have a good understanding of the corresponding GCSE material.

    The OU's maths and physics degree courses don't impose formal entry requirements, so they may be worth looking at. There may also be relevant access modules which might later lead into a degree course.

    Redoing your Maths GCSE if you don't have at least a C is a good idea anyway, as it will improve your prospects of getting a job.
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