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The mathmatical part

  1. Oct 15, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone, I just realized that I can understand the concepts of physics just find, but I need a refresher in the math before I start college in January. So I was wonder if anyone has any web references or books that I could use to get up to speed before I start college.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2009 #2
  4. Oct 15, 2009 #3
    Is this going to be your first semester? What's the highest level of math you've had?
  5. Oct 15, 2009 #4
    I started college last year as a history major but then I dropped out, so this would technically be my first semester. I've taken algebra, I think algebra 2, geometry, and applied math. But I will need a refresher on those as well.
  6. Oct 15, 2009 #5


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    You need to learn calculus. As such, you should make sure your algebra and geometry are quite strong. Really, I would say getting a head start on learning calculus would be more fruitful than reviewing this stuff though.
  7. Oct 15, 2009 #6
    The best maths preparation I have seen which is suitable for self-study is K.A. Stroud's book "Engineering Mathematics" which is called a 'programmed' text because all the lessons are arranged with test questions and loopback instructions for wrong answers. It would not be difficult to find even casual assistance from a tutor, working from this text.
  8. Oct 15, 2009 #7
    I see thanks, so I'll find some books or online resources on trigonometry and calculus to start with. I appreciate the advice!
  9. Oct 15, 2009 #8
    Re: The mathematical part

    I second the notion that you should be proficient with algebra, as well as trigonometry. You should be able to factor things out like noboby's business (quadratics, difference of two squares), simplify things (multiplying by conjugates to help simplify expressions with square roots, common denominators), solving for variables, properties of exponents, ln properties, functions (and their inverses, domains, rangle), graphing, etc. For trigonometry, you should understand reference triangles, the two special triangles, all the trigonometric functions and their inverses, and being able to compute something like [itex]\sin(5\pi/6)[/itex].

    These things above are why so many students have trouble with calculus. Almost every time somebody asks me a question, the problem is almost always centered around an algebra step, not calculus.
  10. Oct 16, 2009 #9
  11. Oct 16, 2009 #10
    Thanks, much appreciation.
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