1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    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!

Physics with calculus. Prior to Calculus

  1. Sep 8, 2016 #1
    This is my first year in college, and I am currently taking calculus 1, and physics w/ calculus.
    My academic adviser told me that I would be okay taking the two together since I'd be learning the calculus as i went. This doesn't seem to be the case because for a lot of my problems we are already using derivatives and integrals. Is there a way I'll be able to use all of the Kinematic formulas (1D and 2D) without knowing much calculus? Should I continue trying to do work on physics with my little calculus knowledge or should I really invest my time in figuring out calculus first.
    TL;DR: Can I get by in physics w/ calculus without knowing most calculus, or should I learn the basics of calc first and drop the physics class for now?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    You certainly need to understand the basics of calculus. You can understand a lot of physics while skipping the details of the specific calculus calculations. Eventually you will have to understand how to calculate derivatives and integrals to be able to derive several physics equations. But you can understand most of them without necessarily deriving them.
  4. Sep 8, 2016 #3
    so would it be smart to drop physics? or is it possible for me to still get at least a B in there?
  5. Sep 8, 2016 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you are already supposed to be using integration and differentiation to solve problems, then it would probably be in your best interest to drop the class. However, if the calculus is just in the lecture and you can use algebra to solve the problems, you might be okay.
  6. Sep 8, 2016 #5
    How many of the other students in your physics class are in the same situation as you?
  7. Sep 8, 2016 #6
    maybe 2-3
  8. Sep 8, 2016 #7
    Hmm that's not so good. I learned a lot (a lot!) of math in my physics classes, but we were all in the same boat so the profs had to take the time to teach us the math as we went along. If that isn't happening in your class you may be at a real disadvantage. On the other hand, if it's simple stuff you might be able to pick up what you need with a little extra effort and help.
  9. Sep 8, 2016 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Have you talked to the professor / instructor about this?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted