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What is the first topic I should learn

  1. Oct 20, 2012 #1
    When you take a high school (A-Level) physics course at school, what are the first couple of topics you learn? I want to begin with the most straight forward basic stuff. I've looked around but can't seem to find a high school syllabus.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2012 #2
    I guess you have some basic knowledge in algebra, geometry, pre-calculus and calculus.

    I suggest the very first topic is SI unit system, and densional analysis.

    Then, you may start to work with Newtonian mechanics.

    By the way, if you are green in physics, you may start with some conceptual introductory text.
  4. Oct 21, 2012 #3
    I disagree, respectfully of course. The conceptual route was the route I took 20 years ago, which resulted in my getting a BA in biology. A BA means you went the conceptual route and stayed there because you thought you already learned it and, well, I've got my degree, right, doesn’t that prove I know the material?

    The problem is that it's a red herring. I'm now studying to reenter academia in an engineering-informatics area and my “conceptual” background is haunting me like a Halloween hangover. I’m having to start from the beginning doing the real math and science and I’m finding out that physics looks entirely different from the calculus point of view.

    In any case, I would recommend going all-in with math first perhaps even a year or so you before get into physics. The reason is that physics IS math, and if you’re weak on the math you won’t get the physics and you’ll be wasting your time. Not only that, but you might get discouraged and dump science altogether. That is the real danger with being weak on math, because, believe it or not, math is really easier than physics. Math is a bunch of straightforward rules. Physics is a bunch of confusing word problems. Don’t go into that battle with a Halloween costume sword and a coat of arms with a BA plastered on it.

    This is a problem with many college curriculums where they try to match the level of math classes being taught concurrently with the level-physics being taught. I personally think you should learn the math required well before you tackle the physics. But that is just me, the hard lesson I learned.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  5. Oct 21, 2012 #4
    Guess I need to learn pre-calc and calc then :D and thanks Dirac :)
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