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!

Take Calculus Based Physics?

  1. Jun 28, 2012 #1
    I am dissapointed in the fact that I got a 71 in my algerbraic grade 11 physics class. The thing that hurts me the worst is the fact that the average of the class was 73. I have the oppurtunity to take a mechanics calculus based physics class in cegep. Should I take it or should I try to take grade 11 physics again?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2012 #2
    Ask yourself the following questions:
    How strong is my calculus? I'm 99% sure that your calculus-based mechanics teacher is a physics teacher, not a math teacher, and he/she will require you to apply the calculus without teaching the mathematical theory. If you feel confident in computing a variety of calculus problems with ease, go for it.

    How well did I do in algebra-based mechanics? Algebra-based physics is almost as hard as, if not harder, than calculus-based physics because there's a massive breadth of knowledge from thermodynamics to optics, and mechanics is only a portion of it. If you feel good about mechanics with algebra, mechanics with calculus is not much more difficult.

    Of course, many schools pair calculus-based mechanics and with calculus-based E&M, the latter of which is quite brutal.
  4. Jun 28, 2012 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    what areas of the class gave you problems?

    Did you think you understood the problems but through testing discovered that no you didn't?

    Was it using the wrong formula for the problem or how to analyze the problem or simply bad arithmetic or a conceptual problem?
  5. Jun 28, 2012 #4
    I did not attend class for 2 days due to sickness. This caused me to use other resources to get taught. I used [/PLAIN] [Broken] so that I could practice with problem sets but they did not cover everything I learned except for the energy section. In the days coming up to my final I dedicated alot of time to learning the energy section and I think I should not of focused so much of my time on it even though I was not taught it by the teacher and the notes were inadequate.
    Another problem was labs,
    I tried to do well on them but it was not easy due to the fact that the teacher marks harshly (she was a microbiologist). An example of this was interpreting a qualitative study which she said did not include numbers however you needed to measure and see for example if surface area affected the friction of a block. I also did not do well on the 2 lab exams and I think that hurt my mark the most. The problem is you have 1 hour to write a whole lab report and it has to contain evrything from a purpose to a conclusion. The graph also requires a line of best fit, which means more then 2 data points. I will expand on what happened on my final exam if you want me too.
    Third was a problem learning optics which many people in my class had. I was lazy the first term and did not do well with the refraction and reflection section. That was all my fault since I thought it was easier then expected.
    I also got a 69 in math 506 (precal) which is higher then my class average of 68. Should I take it cal based physics with that in mind?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jul 12, 2012 #5
    Through testing I discovered that I did not obviously since I did not get the maximum mark for theory. An example of this was knowing that the normal force for an elevator decelerating downwards was the net force. I recall using the wrong formula once for projectile motion, I used specifically ay instead of ax in the formula xf=xi+vixt+1/2axt^2
    Analyses of some of the problems were difficult in optics like knowing which mirror corresponded with each situation given. Bad arithmetic was present in 2 labs one was not converting a certain variable to metres instead of cm (I forgot what it was and I apologize for that), same problem with the other lab.

    I would like one or more of you users to answer the question I laid out in my previous post and I also want to know If I should be ashamed about my grades in these subjects (math=69 class av=68 physics=71 class av=73)
  7. Jul 12, 2012 #6
    I will take E&M in the next term after cal based mechanics and cal 1 assuming I sastify its requirements with those courses. How is E&M brutal in your opinon?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook