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What to review before taking a course in E&M?

  1. Jan 15, 2016 #1
    I will be transferring from a community college to a university where I will be taking Physics II. We will cover electricity, magnetism, waves, optics, and perhaps even some modern physics. The catalog at my new university says that a co-requisite is Calculus II where they cover integration, sequences/series, and first order ODE. The prerequisites are Calculus I and Physics I which covers mechanics, fluids, waves, and heat.

    I've already fulfilled all of these requirements over a year ago. My concern is what to review in the few days I have before starting my new class. Physics I is still fresh in my mind but it's been a while since I've taken Calculus II, and I know our TA will review with us useful material from Physics I.

    I think we'll probably review vectors, torque, and simple harmonic motion, but what is important to review from math? Do E&M courses utilize material from Multivariable Calculus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2016 #2


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    Do you already have the textbook you'll be using? Obviously, that's the best place to start to review. Go through what's planned in the syllabus for the first week or two and see what you remember, what you've forgot, what you're rusty on, while learning a bit about what you'll be talking about.
  4. Jan 15, 2016 #3


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    I'd review techniques of integration. In the typical intro physics course, when you do electromagnetism, you work with the integral form of Maxwell's equations. You'll occasionally do a surface or line integral, but they'll be applied to situations with enough symmetry to make evaluating the integrals simple and straightforward. So, yes, it's technically material from multivariable calculus, but at the same time, it's hardly that.
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