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Physics C: Mechanics as Sophomore

EpistemeEpisteme Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
edited July 2012 in AP Tests Preparation
How hard is it to self-study Physics C: Mechanics as a sophomore? I will also be taking Calculus BC in school. How much calculus is needed for Physics C? And would it be possible to start self-study (~7 hours a week) sometime in December after I know enough calculus?
Post edited by Episteme on

Replies to: Physics C: Mechanics as Sophomore

  • Rob1995Rob1995 Registered User Posts: 938 Member
    Your grade is really not relevant considering you are taking math classes that are usually taken my college freshman or sophomores.

    Have you had any physics background? I would not recommend self-studying the class unless you have at least a little bit of a physics background, unless you have a LOT of time to kill.
  • EpistemeEpisteme Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    I do not have any technical background in physics, but I am very passionate about the subject to the point at which I will probably major in it in college.
  • FantasyVesperiaFantasyVesperia Registered User Posts: 2,618 Senior Member
    It's best to know the basics when it comes to physics, before actually getting right into it. AP Physics C isn't a joke, it's best to take it in school.
  • EpistemeEpisteme Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    But with a lot of effort, it is doable correct?
  • rspencerspence Registered User Posts: 2,118 Senior Member
    It's definitely doable, but it'll be challenging. I took Physics C - Mech in my junior year and we had a few Saturday sessions in addition with regular classes. Got a 5 on the AP exam...
  • Emily556Emily556 - Posts: 152 Junior Member
    As long as you know physics and calc, you should be fine.
  • Rob1995Rob1995 Registered User Posts: 938 Member
    Well, I won't say that a physics background is required but it surely helps a lot. I am self-studying Mechanics (only reason is because my school doesn't offer it) after having taken regular physics and I pretty much learned half the material already. Some of these concepts I felt would be a little bit difficult to grasp without a good teacher like I had, but if you put in a lot of effort you can definitely do it.
  • 5minutes5minutes Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Definitely doable. I'm pretty sure just knowing the basics of calculus should be fine (i.e. derivatives, integrals, Riemann sums, etc). I assume you've already taken Calculus AB; if you got a 4 or 5 in that, then you should be go to go calculus-wise. For the physics part, I HIGHLY recommend watching some of the videos/tutorials on HippoCampus Physics - Homework and Study Help - Free help with your Physics homework. It has everything from introductory physics to AP Physics C material, so it's super helpful. They're also great at explaining hard topics! Hope this was helpful.
  • cortana431cortana431 - Posts: 5,015 Senior Member
    All you need for Physics C are derivatives and basic integration. IMO Physics C: Mechanics was the easiest of Physics B, c: mechanics, and C: electricity and magnetism. I highly recommend the Princeton review book for it (i used it) and you may want to order a textbook, i heard Halliday and Resnick is excellent for physics.
  • EpistemeEpisteme Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    @5minutes: Actually, I enrolled in Calculus BC without any prior knowledge of the subject. That's why I am unsure of whether it would be a good idea or not for me to self-study.
  • 5minutes5minutes Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Does your Calculus BC class start off going over AB material in depth? If so, then you should have enough calculus knowledge after 2 months to begin self-studying Physics C Mech. However, I'd advise against it if your BC class kind of just brushes over AB stuff very quickly (unless you are an exceptional math student who can pick up concepts really well). Remember, you need to have a solid solid solid grasp of derivatives/integrals and understand EVERYTHING behind the concepts to be able to comprehend Physics C.
  • Kyrix1Kyrix1 Registered User Posts: 292 Junior Member
    You're taking a big risk here, taking BC without any knowledge of calculus. You say you're likely to major in physics; to do that I guarantee 100% you will need a very strong calculus foundation, which BC touches on...but not really, since it's already assumed you know it. Even if you are a strong math student, calculus is an entirely new subject; everything you've learned before is just to help you out with the new concepts. So really I'd actually recommend you take an AB course and self-study BC instead since then you'll get the calculus fundamentals down solid.

    And self-studying BC, assuming you're comfortable with AB, should be a fairly easy task.
  • EpistemeEpisteme Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    @5minutes: Yes, it does cover AB material. However, looking at my textbook and the course description, shouldn't it take more like 3-4 (maybe more) months to cover differentiation and integration?

    @Kyrix1: Most students in my school who get A's in Honors Precalculus take BC, and they end up doing fine. The teacher for the course is also one of the best I will ever have for any subject, so I don't think I should have a problem with learning the material.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,211 Senior Member
    Kyrix1 wrote:
    You're taking a big risk here, taking BC without any knowledge of calculus.

    Why? When I went to high school, students who completed precalculus before senior year in high school (i.e. students who were good at math) took calculus BC (calculus AB is a subset of calculus BC, so it is included). It was assumed that they were at least as capable as average college freshmen in handling calculus at college or BC pace, rather than needing to take it at the slower AB pace.

    A student taking calculus as a sophomore in high school should be considered a top student in math and should not need to slow-pace calculus by taking AB.
  • Rob1995Rob1995 Registered User Posts: 938 Member
    ^ Agreed. Calculus AB should really only be for seniors who took precalculus as a junior and aren't quite comfortable going into BC (some schools don't follow this, but that's how it's supposed to be). If a student is two or three years ahead of the average student on the math track than s/he should be more than capable of BC.
This discussion has been closed.