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What do I need to remember to study Physics?

  1. Sep 18, 2010 #1
    I am wondering how absolutely necessary it is to know mathematics if I am to study physics at a University. The ordeal I'm having is that perhaps 2 years ago I finished a sequence of courses in Mathematics, being Calculus I, II, III, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra. After quite the long break from school I assure you I can remember none of it. I've had Physics courses, but none that touched on Calculus very strongly, so I'm really asking: Will starting in Calculus-based physics while not remembering any of it be anything short of detrimental? ..or should I take Calc II and III again at a smaller college while I'm waiting on my University apps to be accepted?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2010 #2
    I think it would be better if you would just review what you have learned. Im sure it wouldnt take so much time, provided you did understand your past courses on math.
  4. Sep 19, 2010 #3
    Yeah, just go through a textbook, do a few problems from each section to make sure you can still do them, and perhaps look at a few online lectures. If you've learned it before, you can learn it very quickly and a class would just be a real drag.
  5. Sep 19, 2010 #4
    Or, you can buy a reference book for physics. I purchased one long ago and its titled, The Handbook of Physics(got it at Amazon.com). This book contains example problems, definitions, formulas, and even the history of "Who" formed the formulas. It also explains the theories that some of the graduate students have knowledge on. I highly recommend this book and maybe there's a better reference physics book I don't even know. Try to look for these reference books of physics and see if that can help you.
  6. Sep 19, 2010 #5


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    You never really completely forget the math. Go over the texts and it'll come back to you.
  7. Sep 19, 2010 #6
    Read over these, it should be quick. Unless you had head trauma, your math was just archived somewhere, and finer details are lost to you. Doesn't mean you forgot everything. I'm sure it will come back fast. Don't spend countless hours relearning, you will never get anywhere.

  8. Sep 20, 2010 #7
    You guys weren't kidding, I clicked that link (and then got sidetracked and clicked Diff Eq) in Post #6 and just seeing the names of some of the topics was already ringing bells in my head.

    I'd been looking for books that might help me remember stuff and I came across, "How to ace calculus: the streetwise guide," and, "Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus." I like books better heh.. According to the reviews the books are good, so I may go with those as opposed to spending heaps more of time and money on retaking the classes.
  9. Sep 20, 2010 #8
    Good luck!
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