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Taking Algebra and Trigonometry Again Before Physics?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Confused 20, May 9, 2008.

  1. Confused 20

    Confused 20 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Thank you.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
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  3. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    I wouldn't necessarily take another entire class, but brushing up on it and working with a tutor sound like good ideas. There is quite a bit of algebra and trig, especially at the very begining of physics when learning about projectile motion etc, so it would be good to have those down. It is hard enough to master the physics concepts without struggling with the math behind it.

    Don't freakout too much though, with a little extra work, you will be fine!:luck:
  4. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    La Jolla
    You have to have your math down if you want to do well in physica IMO. I took Physics for Engineers though, so that might be a little different.

    I think Doc Henry is right in that you shouldn't go re-take a course in math. I would say the biggest thing you can do to help is to make sure you keep up when the class actually starts. Reviewing and re-learning bits and pieces of math isn't that bad as long as you keep up with the course's speed. Don't expect to pull an all-nighter and expect a good grade in physics since you aren't very confident about your grasp of mathmatics. Also, do lots of problems (even if you just quickly set up the solution without actually calculating and then checking with the answer book to see if you are on the right track). You are going to have to do problems till it's second nature to you if you don't already have your math down cold.
  5. DollBabyKG

    DollBabyKG Wannabe Dr Mom

    May 9, 2008
    I took Calculus and Chemistry in 2002. I left school, got married, had a baby, and am now going back, as a pre-med. As much as I desperately didn't want to retake classes I did well in (A-, and A), I chose to do so, and am taking Intro Chem (no lab) and Algebra this summer prior to Physics and O-Chem in the fall. No one was forcing me to do so, but I knew I needed the refresher in order to succeed, and get the necessary grades in my fall classes. If in doubt, and at all possible, I'd take them, to refresh yourself! Good luck!
  6. mdgator

    mdgator 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    I think it might be a lot different. I took the "non-engineer physics," and the algebra and trig concepts seemed to be very basic. My physics class actually had a trig review to go along with Newtonian mechanics, and I would say that most people would have no problem picking it up with a good day or two of reviewing.
  7. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Honestly, if you don't remember anything, I would take algebra again. It will make all of your studies so much easier and more intuitive. That goes for more than just physics; chemistry uses a lot of algebra too (nothing serious, but I see plenty of people in class who are poor at math who struggle with it). Trig shouldn't be necessary, but ultimately you may want to take it because you're going to have to take at least up to calculus 1 (sometimes 2 or 3) if you want to get into med school. I did through calc 3 and seriously didn't remember ANYTHING from trig. It really affected my grades negatively in those classes. In physics though, you use very little trig, and they ease you into what you do have to use. Just worry about algebra. Maybe try studying it this summer and see how you feel about it before committing to a class. You might remember more than you thought.
  8. cpa2md

    cpa2md Amending my life 5+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    Back in Temple... M-3!
    I've got you all beat - between my last math class (calculus for business majors) and physics I, 20 years passed. I tested out of college algebra, so I never took it. I used exactly ZERO college algebra/calculus in the intervening 20 years, and I did just fine in physics. No big deal!! Don't sweat it.
  9. XT777

    XT777 No I'm...doesn't. 10+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    You wish. I have never taken any trigonometry in my life. The only algebra I have taken was in high school (~15 years ago). I gave physics a pants down spanking. You can too!
    Things I did that I believe contributed to my success--> I read "Schaum's Basic Mathematics with Applications to Science and Technology" before I took physics, I read the first chapter of the physics text which was supposed to be a "review" of the relevant math, and I did LOT'S of problems from the text while taking the class.

    Good luck!

  10. shaggybill

    shaggybill 10+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2004
    The Sunny South
    I agree with the last few posters. I took the 5 weeks physics I and II courses this past summer having only high school Algebra 1 from 1999. My advice would be to know your sine, cosine, and tangent before starting physics. If you don't have that down before you start, it will much more difficult for you.
  11. Revilla

    Revilla New Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    It depends on your school/professor. My Physics I and II classes were math classes disguised as science. If you didn't know your Trig like the back of your hand, you were bound to struggle.
  12. Revilla

    Revilla New Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Calculus is only required for a handful of med schools. Most med schools don't require anything other than six credit hours of math (any math). Trig was a huge part of my Physics class.
  13. skijumpbump

    skijumpbump 7+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    I agree 100%. I thought that my Physics I class was basically an algebra/trig class. I don’t know about your school but at mine if you were a science major the Physics II course involved some calculus as well so you might want to brush up on that before you take on the second half of physics
  14. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    You know what, I just checked a few sites and it looks like you're right. I know UW requires at least one quarter of calculus, and Harvard requires like three, but UCSF and Stanford don't require any. They do list it as recommended though, so taking at least calc 1 probably isn't a bad idea. I know that my solid math foundation has really made the calculation aspects of the sciences a breeze.

    I averaged a 3.2 for calc 1 - 3 though, so hopefully adcoms excuse that to some degree, since math (I think) is one of those things that doesn't really reflect on your work ethic, nor your ability to learn med school topics.


    Dec 24, 2007
    teh tools to susceed in physics can be self taught in any trig.pre-cal, algebra book. i recommend teh "demystified series! (ie. physics demystified, trig demystified) The basic tools needed to pass the class is mentioned in in chapter 1 of physics book, the you need to understand some other math to get a nice grade or at least make the class somewhat easier. I would recommend reviewing the rules of geometry and angles, distance, isosceles, 90 degree, etc.

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