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Math and physics difficulty level

  1. May 21, 2016 #1
    How hard is college math?Is it beyond senior grade math?Mathematical analysis is one of the hardest discipline in all history or is it physics?Do you have a chance to pass the exams for the disciplines math and physics if you finished a tehnological highschool?Can you face college with fewer math knowledges and physics or do you need more memory for that?If i have an average IQ can i stand a chance with a few formulas in my head?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2016 #2
    People seam to obsess a little bit with physics being a "hard" subject, at least this is what most people tell me when they find out that I'm a physicist.
    I wouldn't let the perceived difficulty of physics put you off studying it.
    If you like the subject, are curious about how things work want to discover the laws of nature then it can be fantastically rewarding
    I guess it is all relative.
    Some people find Physics hard while others might find it easy.
    It also depends on how you are taught and good physics teacher can work wonders.
    If physics is something that you do want to study then I guess you might also be willing to put in more effort then if you decide to study something you are not motivated by.
    I guess colleges have lots of new people starting with different mathematical back grounds and will probably offer a maths for physicist course which covers the bits you need.
    Also the exams (at least in the UK) give you a huge formula book so exams become less of a memory game and more a test of your application.

    Anyway good luck with you decision and let us know what you decide
  4. May 21, 2016 #3
    What about math?
  5. May 21, 2016 #4
    It depends on what you mean with technological high school.

    I went to a high school which mostly offered vocational education (people learnt to be a welder or a carpenter or ...).
    However there were a few tracks that prepare you for higher education, most went towards some flavour of engineering.

    The thing is that the specific track I took was extremely suitable for physics, the last two years we had 8 hours of maths a week.
    But what was more useful was that since the 3rd year (age 14-15) we had separate courses for mechanics, physics and electricity. (1 or 2 hours each)
    As a consequence I barely learned anything new in 1st year physics except the language somewhat changed.

    For example with electrostatics we had to look at more general charge distributions when determining a field in college.
    The only new things I learned in mechanics was to derive Kepler's laws and how a gyroscope works.

    Second year physics we had electronics, I knew most of the syllabus by heart already and then some.

    Long story short, it really depends on what you know.

    More generally though eventually you'll have to invest time in truly understanding what you are doing.
    That's what college is (should be) about, mastering your subject beyond plug-and-chug problems.

    For maths I can't help you. But depending on the direction (and which electives) you take you'll learn a lot of maths. Calculus and Linear Algebra are a minimum. And a lot of the physics I've come into contact with during my masters uses group theory in some way (abstract algebra that is).

    If the colleges around you are close enough you should check if they do tours.
    I answered some questions for some of those and the thing is most students don't understand what physics actually is when they come by.
  6. May 21, 2016 #5
    By tehnological high school i mean a high school where your colleges don't give a penny on learning something new and all day all they do is either playing video games or acting dumb(in the peasent way).They act retarded by their action and most of them are at the worst level of learning.Most of my colleges don't know to multiply or to divide a number or two numbers.
  7. May 21, 2016 #6
    I have to say that i was assigned in one of this tehnological high school and everything was down there.There was no interest for science or philosophy at all.
  8. May 21, 2016 #7
    Lets see if I understand your predicament correctly.
    Because the other people at your school aren't interested in anything you're afraid math and/or physics would be too hard?

    That seems backward to me.
  9. May 21, 2016 #8
    I think the point was wether or not you can make it in math or physics if your previous academic preparation was mediocre in these areas. At least that's how I interpreted the OP's posts.
  10. May 22, 2016 #9
    So in order to become an engineer you need math,physics and chemistry at a high level?
  11. May 22, 2016 #10
    "High level" is completely subjective, and to answer your question it completely depends. A chemical engineer will naturally need more chemistry knowledge than an aerospace engineer, who may never actually need any at all.

    There is, however, a core amount of math and physics that engineers in general are expected to have been exposed to, namely: calculus (single, multivariable and vector), linear algebra and differential equations for math, and for physics, they should generally be at least familiar with classical mechanics and E&M.

    At a "high level", when you're talking to physics or math people, that usually means something like Relativity and Quantum mechanics, or Real Analysis, none of which are necessary to be known by every engineer.
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