Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I What math topics should one master for first year physics?

  1. Jul 13, 2018 #1
    I’ll be taking the year long physics sequence at my college this fall and I want to know what specific math topics I should master, so that I can conquer my first year of physics. I’m planning to brush-up on any necessary topics from algebra, through precalc, and including calc 1. It’s an honors sequence, so I’m told it’s mostly problem solving and less concepts; I’m not sure if that makes a difference. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2018 #2
    Algebra, trig, calculus (mostly derivatives, but some integration), and vectors. Sometimes people are exposed to vectors for the first time in physics, but it's also a linear algebra thing. Mostly you will be adding/subtracting vectors, decomposing vectors in a coordinate system, finding the magnitude of a vector and its angle in a given coordinate system, etc.

    You will be mostly prepared if you are at least an expert at algebra and trig. I can't tell how much time I've spent teaching algebraic manipulation and SOHCAHTOA (which is fine, I don't mind, but generally its material that people should already have learned).
  4. Jul 13, 2018 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Check out this site mathispower4u.com. It covers all the math you’ll need from first year high school,to first year college ie calculus 1,2,3 Linear Algebra, and differential equations.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?