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Courses Physics I and II in the same semester

  1. Nov 20, 2017 #1
    Hi all,
    I saw a post recently like this and I'm going through a similar situation, but I was wondering if I could get some insight.

    I'm currently sophomore at my University - a biological mathematics major. I was planning on majoring in math and physics upon entering college, so the first semester of college I took honors physics I and it was so fast and insane that I decided to drop the major. I barely pulled off a C and if the exams weren't open book I probably wouldn't have gotten that. Now, a year later, I really want to go back to physics because I'm growing increasingly interested in biophysics.
    But stuck in a bit of a predicament.

    I was considering taking the regular physics I track to have a better understanding of the physics I material and hopefully get a better grade. Like I said the honors one was so incomprehensible to me that I don't even feel like I learned the material. I would definitely like to feel like I know the material before moving on, but if I do take physics I next semester I will be about a year and a half behind the physics major.
    Then I thought maybe I could suck it up and go to physics II and hope to grasp physics I material in later classes, but I'm not sure how that would go.

    I'm now considering doing both at the same time. My honors physics I credits will count towards the prerequisites for physics II and I haven't taken (regular) physics I yet so I can register for it. I guess my question is: would this be as awful as it sounds? I know I would work my ass off to make this work, but I know it would still be incredibly difficult. The only reason I think it could go well is due to the fact that I've completed the calculus sequence, linear algebra, and diff eqs so I'll basically know all the math of physics (at least at this level).

    Im kicking myself for even letting this happen but if there's any chance any of you think this can be done I'd love to hear your advice.

    Just to give some more background, I only took algebra based physics in highschool (that's probably why honors went so poorly), but I do have experience with kinematics, orbitals, harmonic oscillation, electricity and circuits - at least at the algebra level - the only thing I haven't seen is magnetism.

    Thanks for any and all advice, sorry for the length
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

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    BAD! Do not do that. Learn the Physics 1 first. Once done, then next term, learn Physics 2 (typically E&M)..
    You need all your knowledge from Physics 1 to be able to learn and study Physics 2.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2017 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Probably even worse.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2017 #4

    ZapperZ

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    This is a horrible idea!

    First of all, did you academic advisor approved of you taking the honors level Physics 1, knowing that you only had algebra-based physics in high school?

    Secondly, have you asked this very question to your academic advisor?

    Let's establish this fact: you did poorly in Physics 1, and by your own admission, you barely got through. Conclusion: your understanding of the material presented in Physics 1 is poor and weak.

    Second fact: Material covered in Physics 2 requires the understanding of Physics 1.

    As someone who has taught and also currently teaching both physics classes, I see students who struggled in Physics 1 will also struggle in Physics 2.

    And this is BEFORE we even consider the work load of doing both classes simultaneously. If you plan to crash-and-burn in two physics classes quickly and in one shot, this is the way to do it.

    But in the end, any of the advice we give you here is irrelevant. The person you need to talk to is your academic advisor!

    Zz.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2017 #5

    russ_watters

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    What I'm reading is that you took Physics I at the honors level and did mediocre and now you want to re-take it at the "normal" level? It's admirable that you don't like the C and recognize it isn't great, but prerequisite requirements are what they are for a reason: though not great, a C is the requirement for moving on to the next level. So you don't need to re-take it. You will have to work harder than if you had gotten a B, but by university policy/definition you should be able to handle it.

    Or am I missing something? The other advice reads like you haven't already acceptably passed physics I, whereas what I'm reading says you have.
     
  7. Nov 21, 2017 #6

    ZapperZ

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    No, I read it as the OP getting a "C", and C-students from Physics 1 tend to struggle mightily in Physics 2. And yet, the OP wants to do BOTH at the same time.

    This is why I strongly suggest that the OP talks to an Academic Advisor. It appears as if this is a "make it up as you go along" curriculum, which it shouldn't.

    Zz.
     
  8. Nov 21, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    Agreed.
    "Both", meaning taking Physics I a second time, while taking Physics II. Shouldn't that make Physics II easier (after already having taken Physic I and passing), not harder? It's not efficient, sure, but it's a step forward, not a step backwards.

    I recognize my mediocrity, but if I chose to re-take a course every time I got a C, I'd still be in college!

    But I agree with the advice to talk to an advisor. An additional option not mentioned but could be suggested: taking Physics II and getting more focused, outside instruction (a tutor).
     
  9. Nov 21, 2017 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    My experience is that if a student doesn't feel he or she has learned the material, he or she probably hasn't. This is one time to take them at their word. Especially as there are colleges that give C's where others would give F's.
     
  10. Nov 21, 2017 #9

    symbolipoint

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    ZapperZ comments:
    But what you say here is VERY relevant. You are also not the only member saying what you did.
    By now, original poster understands what to do and what not to do.
     
  11. Nov 21, 2017 #10
    Regardless of whether or not you can handle the class, you absolutely need to talk to your advisor. Making the transition is possible, but you need to get help planning it all. Trying to do it on your own, especially at this stage, is disastrous if you want to graduate in a reasonable time. Everything will need to planned carefully.

    I had the same idea, but upon another read, I'm almost certain that the honors physics I he took his first semester was algebra based physics and what he is wanting to do now is to take physics II (algebra based) while taking the calculus based physics I course to see if he can make the transition into physics. This interpretation is bolstered by the the fact that he states he has experience with kinematics and harmonic oscillation, but only at the level of algebra. Had the honors course been calculus based, that wouldn't be the case, especially since he passed it. It'd also reasonably explain why he is so nervous about taking both at the same time.

    Unfortunately, that statement also doesn't make much sense given his claimed math background, as both of those topics are covered in diff eq with typically a whole chapter being devoted to oscillatory motion, but that's probably the least concerning thing here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  12. Nov 23, 2017 #11

    Depends if you are self learner. Have you studied any of the physics 1 material on your own? Can you sit in a physics 1 lecture, then take physics 2 the next semester?
     
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