What math topics should one master for first year physics?

  • #1
astroman707
61
5
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!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
plasmon_shmasmon
60
35
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).
 
  • #3
14,059
8,019
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.
 

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