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Where do I start off?

  1. Nov 26, 2011 #1
    I feel like I'm not really learning much just reading wikipedia articles, reading this board, etc.

    I really want to understand physics and how the world works. The problem is I forgot a lot of basic math, even stuff from early high school. I am 24 now.

    Where exactly should I start? Should I try and take math classes and get really proficient in math and than go onto physics so I can really understand what the equations mean?

    Also where should I start in terms of Algebra, Classical Mechanics, etc?

    EDIT: I'm not disregarding the website or any videos online I just feel like I will get the real deal in a classroom where I can focus all my attention to the lesson.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 26, 2011 #2
    a community college placement test? you can take algebra (if needed), calc 1-2, chem 1-2, and calc-physics 1-2, and potentially be on the way to getting a BS in a year. . .
  4. Nov 26, 2011 #3
    If you have the money and feel the need for a class, you probably should just take algebra and trig/precalculus, and then you can start learning physics. It's good to know calculus 1-2, though.
  5. Nov 27, 2011 #4
    Take a placement exam at a community college and do the class they suggest for you. When you start calc I, start physics I as well. Then you're good to go.
  6. Nov 27, 2011 #5
    I am not familiar with the education system of the US. Can somebody explain what is meant by a 'community college'?
  7. Nov 27, 2011 #6
    Other countries generally know them as junior colleges. They're colleges that only award two-year degrees and certificates, not bachelors degrees like you would need for a proper grounding in physics. They're sometimes used by non-traditional students (homeschooled students, older students, students who did poorly in high school, etc) to get to a point where they would be accepted by a university. They're also sometimes used as a cheap testing ground where you can ascertain whether you enjoy subject matter without the risk of spending thousands and thousands of dollars and a tremendous amount of effort at university. I think they're great as a transitional state between high school and university.
  8. Nov 27, 2011 #7
    Thanks '... Citizen' for the information.

    Do students pay for tuition at these community colleges?
  9. Nov 27, 2011 #8
    Yes, generally a very fair fee even for full time students, at least in America. Since they are 'community' colleges, their tuition rates increase marginally for out-of-county students and dramatically for out-of-state and foreign students. However, for in-county students, the rates are usually around $500-$1000 for a full-time semester (12 or greater credit hours).
  10. Nov 27, 2011 #9
  11. Nov 27, 2011 #10
    There are a lot of textbooks online available for purchase legitimately of course ;). See if you can find an introductory physics book, such as halliday resnick, and an introductory calculus book, such as stewart. This will get you started on the fundamentals.
  12. Nov 27, 2011 #11
    I'll agree community college is probably a good idea for you. However, before you take a placement test you should try to do some review on your own. Get a cheap precalc text book from half.com (you can get one for under $10). Then start with chapter 1 and do the chapter tests. If you know the material well enough you should be able to breeze through the tests. When you find a chapter where you have trouble go into the chapter and read through it and do the homework, moving on once you feel comfortable.

    There's no sense in paying to take algebra classes that you've already had in highschool and just need a review.

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