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Hello all,
I am preparing to take physics 1, cell biology, and algebra with trig next semester. I am wondering what some helpful tips would be going into this semester, specifically with physics? I must say that I am not strong in math, but am determined to make this work and get a strong grade. My question for those who have taken Physics 1 is, what is the most efficient way to study successfully in a good use of time? Over the semester break I am reviewing Physics 1 For Dummies but I do realize that will only introduce my to physics conceptually, where much of physics is based on problems. Also, the textbook that is going to be used is known to be generally unhelpful as well as the solutions manual. I will be attending SI sessions regularly to help along the way. Thanks for any feedback.


Kyle
 

medickdb

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Personally, I didn't particularly like Physics for Dummies. If I recall correctly, a lot of the material used English measurements rather than metric.

Of course, I would find a good physics textbook and do problems. The first semester really boils down to units, what you have to start out with and what you are looking for in the end, as well as applying the concepts.

The Khan Academy has really great videos on most of the topics. I highly recommend them.

Good luck with school! I really enjoyed cell biology when I took it.
 

JDMcNugent

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Personally, I didn't particularly like Physics for Dummies. If I recall correctly, a lot of the material used English measurements rather than metric.

Of course, I would find a good physics textbook and do problems. The first semester really boils down to units, what you have to start out with and what you are looking for in the end, as well as applying the concepts.

The Khan Academy has really great videos on most of the topics. I highly recommend them.

Good luck with school! I really enjoyed cell biology when I took it.
Agreed on the Khan academy videos. I found that our physics textbook was not very helpful and I really wish I would have taken advantage of a supplemental text that reinforced concepts. There is a lot of math but try to understand the topics as in-depth as possible. If you can manipulate equations and figure out general trends then you should be good.
 

Dreamstoo

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Khan Academy. I've never used it but I heard great things about it. Helped my friend cram for the physics 1 final. I beat him in the class but he beat me on the final. Granted, I went into the final with like a super high A+, ended up getting an A :p which I found out meant I got like a B on the final.

Also DO practice problems over and over again. Ask your TA questions, go to office hours. I used to spend 1 hour a week at least in the physics TA center just to do simple problems. Or If I knew how to do a problem but didn't understand why it worked out, I would go ask them. Our exams were all long answer and sometimes I was lucky enough where the TA would give me a problem to practice that were similar to those on our midterms and final.
 

cabinbuilder

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Be sure to take the algebra based course, not the calculus based.
 
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KyleV
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Be sure to take the algebra based course, not the calculus based.
I'm pretty positive it's algebra based. It's the Physics 1 for pre-med and pharmD students etc...

"For general Liberal Arts and Sciences students and for students preparing for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and health sciences. Mechanics, thermal physics, wave motions, and optics."
 
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Dreamstoo

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I'm pretty positive it's algebra based. It's the Physics 1 for pre-med and pharmD students etc...

"For general Liberal Arts and Sciences students and for students preparing for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and health sciences. Mechanics, thermal physics, wave motions, and optics."
Be sure to take the algebra based course, not the calculus based.
I took physics based calc 1 and 2. Taking 3 next term (trimester school). It isn't that bad. I took thermodynamics that class was diff eq (a class I didn't take) and somehow I managed by using just calculus.
 

cabinbuilder

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I took physics based calc 1 and 2. Taking 3 next term (trimester school). It isn't that bad. I took thermodynamics that class was diff eq (a class I didn't take) and somehow I managed by using just calculus.
Well, the OP said they are not strong in math. I personally struggle with math and cannot comprehend how I would have even gotten through physics had I gone through the calc version. Took me multiple tries to finally get through the algebra based and that was with a tutor and staying after class and going to all office hours for help.
 

edgerock24

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Why/how are you taking Physics 1 AND Algebra w. Trig at the same time? Most Physics 1 courses require AT LEAST some sort of Algebra course to be taken beforehand, while others require Pre-Calc to be taken as a prereq. I'm guessing your school lets students take Physics 1 as long as they take that Algebra/Trig course concurrently.

Anyways, Khan Academy is great, like others have stated. Also, simply Youtubing the concept you are working through works well too. You'll be fine as long as you stay focused from the get go.
 

TXKnight

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Why/how are you taking Physics 1 AND Algebra w. Trig at the same time? Most Physics 1 courses require AT LEAST some sort of Algebra course to be taken beforehand, while others require Pre-Calc to be taken as a prereq. I'm guessing your school lets students take Physics 1 as long as they take that Algebra/Trig course concurrently.

Anyways, Khan Academy is great, like others have stated. Also, simply Youtubing the concept you are working through works well too. You'll be fine as long as you stay focused from the get go.
This. You need at the very least algebra in order to suffer less in physics. Previous knowledge of trig is highly desirable (but you can learn what you need on the go). Going into ohys with at least precalc is best. Or calc for the calc-based, of course.
 
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KyleV
Dec 18, 2013
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Why/how are you taking Physics 1 AND Algebra w. Trig at the same time? Most Physics 1 courses require AT LEAST some sort of Algebra course to be taken beforehand, while others require Pre-Calc to be taken as a prereq. I'm guessing your school lets students take Physics 1 as long as they take that Algebra/Trig course concurrently.

Anyways, Khan Academy is great, like others have stated. Also, simply Youtubing the concept you are working through works well too. You'll be fine as long as you stay focused from the get go.
Yes, that is correct.
 
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KyleV
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Going to give this a bump in hopes of a few more good tips. Thanks everybody.
 
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If you know how to solve a linear equation and decompose a vector using sin and cos, then you've mastered 99% of the math in Physics 101. Work the problems and ask questions. It's the best way to learn physics.
 
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Mehd School

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Well, the OP said they are not strong in math. I personally struggle with math and cannot comprehend how I would have even gotten through physics had I gone through the calc version. Took me multiple tries to finally get through the algebra based and that was with a tutor and staying after class and going to all office hours for help.
I took both calc based and trig based physics (long story). Calc based was actually a little easier because you didn't have to dance around the math to make a logical equation. This made things much more intuitive. Of course, my calc-physics teacher was incredible.

My tip for OP is to learn some solid time management skills. It will make everything way easier.
 
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cabinbuilder

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I took both calc based and trig based physics (long story). Calc based was actually a little easier because you didn't have to dance around the math to make a logical equation. This made things much more intuitive. Of course, my calc-physics teacher was incredible.

My tip for OP is to learn some solid time management skills. It will make everything way easier.
Yes, it all comes down to the quality of the teacher. My college physics teacher was super awesome, he flew to my residency graduation 12 years after I took his class!!! It turned out that he and my current husband were in the same high school class together.
 

jayoh

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I'm pretty positive it's algebra based. It's the Physics 1 for pre-med and pharmD students etc...

"For general Liberal Arts and Sciences students and for students preparing for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and health sciences. Mechanics, thermal physics, wave motions, and optics."
If your school is letting you enroll without calc then it must be the algebra-based. But I think it might be worth considering taking the math before the physics rather than rushing into both simultaneously, since you said that math is not your strong suit. Physics is really an applied math class so it might be overwhelming if you have no mathematics background. That being said, I don't think the math is anything crazy so it depends on how easily you pick it up. Khan academy will help you immensely if you have trouble.

For the sake of discussion, I took the calc-based physics and I wouldn't do it any other way. Calculus and physics really go hand-in-hand, and it makes the subject a lot more understandable in my opinion. Plus, I think that calculus is really cool and would be worth taking if for no other reason than for personal enrichment. But maybe I am just a huge nerd.
 
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Beandog

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This. You need at the very least algebra in order to suffer less in physics. Previous knowledge of trig is highly desirable (but you can learn what you need on the go). Going into ohys with at least precalc is best. Or calc for the calc-based, of course.
Yes, was going to say the same. As someone who also is not math-savvy, I survived physics only after suffering through algebra.
Have a college-level algebra understanding before hitting physics. You'll thank yourself, even if it puts you a semester behind.
 
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KyleV
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Yes, was going to say the same. As someone who also is not math-savvy, I survived physics only after suffering through algebra.
Have a college-level algebra understanding before hitting physics. You'll thank yourself, even if it puts you a semester behind.
I'm in a situation where I can't take any other upper level bio classes because they either are at the same time as my Cell Bio class, or I don't have the pre-reqs taken yet. Math definitely isn't easy for me, but if I were to wait to start taking these Physics courses, it'd only get worse in terms of course load, so I'm just preparing to put the work in needed for my classes coming up.
 

Mad Jack

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As some other posters have said, you would probably be better off if you took physics after you took algebra and trig, considering your feelings that math is one of your weaker points. If you need to lighten up your course load, take a summer course or two. You can take an extra class here and there via summer and winter terms, but you'll never make a C in physics go away.
 

Beandog

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I'm in a situation where I can't take any other upper level bio classes because they either are at the same time as my Cell Bio class, or I don't have the pre-reqs taken yet. Math definitely isn't easy for me, but if I ere to wait to start taking these Physics courses, it'd only get worse in terms of course load, so I'm just preparing to put the work in needed for my classes coming up.
OK, just my .02. I just have a different way of looking at it "getting worse". I'm level when I tell you physics was brutal for me, a non-math person, and even putting in more time than any other course I've taken, bar none, no amount of determination and throwing time and effort can compensate for the math foundation. Best of luck
 
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