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What should I expect?

  1. Jan 4, 2016 #1
    I'm going into my Physics 1 course blind. Not blind in the sense that I know nothing about physics, but in the sense that I have no idea of what to expect in the course. I haven't spoken to anyone that has previously taken the course, nor was I able to speak with the professor before we went on our holiday/New Years break.

    There also seems to be a lab that goes along with the course.

    What should I expect?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2016 #2


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  4. Jan 4, 2016 #3


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    What does the course description say? In particular, what are the pre-requisites, if any? I'm thinking in particular of math prerequisites: Calculus 1? Calculus 2? Or are they co-requisites instead of pre-requisites?
  5. Jan 4, 2016 #4
    The only pre-requisite for the course is Calculus 1. I'm also taking Calculus 2 along side the course.
  6. Jan 4, 2016 #5


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    Have you gotten a syllabus yet (or Googled the class section to see if it's online)? That's a good place to start. You'll probably cover basic kinematics, Newtons laws, frames of reference, circular motion, work, energy, power, rotational kinematics, moments of inertia, torques, collisions, simple harmonic motion... etc. Basic derivatives and integrals should be known, trig, algebraic manipulation, solving systems of equations. Helpful is to have a knowledge of partial derivatives, some differential equations, series approximations, cylindrical coordinates, vectors, etc. I'm sure there is more that I'm forgetting, and probably stuff I'm adding that isn't really needed for all courses. My memory is fuzzy about my own first intro course, you should also read the thread symbolipoint linked to.

    Rotational inertia is probably the most calculus intense, and fluid's if you cover them. The majority of the math (cylindrical coordinates, some differential equations, series, and vectors) you will also be covered in your calculus two course, and you might have had some in trig already.

    Are you using Loyds manual for the lab section? It's pretty popular. We used it at CC. I think the older editions are free to reproduce, which makes it a real money saver.

    For the lab section, it would be helpful to learn a couple of techniques now, like how to calculate standard deviations, standard errors, linear regression techniques, rejection of data based on sigma criteria, etc. You'll probably cover it, but it really needs to be mastered for the lab section (you'll use it basically every lab, most likely). Maybe you'll find this helpful: http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixB/AppendixB.html

    Edit: I was trying to find something that would explain linear least squares fits and correlation coefficients, this is the best I can come up with:


    Basically shows you how to do it, but doesn't really explain what you're doing. So I don't know how helpful it would be.

    If your algebra and trig are good, you should be fine like SP points out.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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