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Preparing for Physics?

5pencer5pencer Posts: 442Registered User Junior Member
edited June 2010 in High School Life
Howdy.
I would appreciate a bit of help. Next year at my new school I will have to take General Physics. I have no previous experience in physics, and I was wondering if there may be a good book you would recommend for me so that I can learn some of this before class starts in the fall? Thank you!
Post edited by 5pencer on
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Replies to: Preparing for Physics?

  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    Are you trying to be a stronger physics student than the class would prepare you for, or are you worried you're not prepared for the class?

    If the former, check out "University Physics," and self study that. If the latter, make sure your Algebra and Trig are solid as best you can.
  • alwayshungryalwayshungry Posts: 124Registered User Junior Member
    First year physics is pretty easy, it's all math basically (and fairly simple algebra and trigonometry at that). If you want an overview of the topics you'll cover, the sparknotes sat II physics is pretty solid: SparkNotes: SAT Physics
  • 5pencer5pencer Posts: 442Registered User Junior Member
    QwertyKey-I am just worried that I'm not gonna be prepared for the class.
    alwayshungry-Thanks!
  • 5pencer5pencer Posts: 442Registered User Junior Member
    I wish for others to see this thread and respond.
  • spdfspdf Posts: 955Registered User Member
    I would not recommend one particular book, because what works for one person doesn't always work for another. I'd recommend instead that you try your public library to see what they have, and see if anything there strikes a chord with you. If there's a Half-Price books near you, they also sell used textbooks and you might find a cheap one that makes sense. At the high school physics level, all textbooks provide essentially the same information only in different ways.

    One thing to be aware of is whether you're looking for a conceptual physics book or a more mathematical physics book. There are many general audience, bookstore-type physics books out there that explain concepts like force and motion without really getting into the math, and then there are more academic-type books that have you calculate the speed of a falling body after x seconds. If you know which type of book you're looking for, that will help narrow the search. For quantitative books, take a look at any of the AP Physics B study guides (Barron's, Princeton Review, or 5 Steps to a 5, for example) or an SAT II study guide. You can often find outdated versions of these at used book stores, and outdated is fine.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Posts: 928Registered User Member
    For quantitative books, take a look at any of the AP Physics B study guides
    For quantitative what? Because to me, I'm reading it as "For [the more quantitative-academic-type books that go into the math], take a look at any of the AP Physics B study guides." If this is the case, then the statement is wrong.
  • spdfspdf Posts: 955Registered User Member
    I was discussing books that use a mathematical approach (textbooks, for example) as opposed to purely conceptual physics books (such as Paul Hewitt, Jearl Walker, or Larry Gonick). Conceptual physics books don't get into equations or include mathematical problem-solving the way textbooks do, but AP study guides do.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Posts: 928Registered User Member
    An AP Physics B prep book isn't going to be your best mode of study if you're aiming for "quantitative" studying as opposed to studying the concepts without math involved. B is limited by being non-calc-based, C would be the better choice.
  • spdfspdf Posts: 955Registered User Member
    The OP is looking for a book to learn some physics before he takes the regular grade-level physics class in high school because he feels unprepared. Since regular physics is probably not going to be calculus-based, I don't think using a calculus-based study guide is his best option.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Posts: 928Registered User Member
    Point taken, I never read the context of the thread. Anyway, if this is the same 5pencer http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/930661-lets-play-game.html , then I don't think you (5pencer) will have ANY problem with your academic physics class.
  • 5pencer5pencer Posts: 442Registered User Junior Member
    The course is an introductory physics course, and I have heard the course at my school is pretty difficult. So I don't want to completely bomb the class. spdf basically said it perfectly. (Post#10)

    EngineerHead - Yeah that's me.
  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    720-Math on the SAT and 34-Math on the ACT?

    You're going to be fine.
  • 5pencer5pencer Posts: 442Registered User Junior Member
    The thing is Gen. Physics is algebra-based, and after that I will have to take Mechanics and E&M (both AP Physics C) before I graduate. So I just want a good start for Gen. Physics.
  • ThispakistanigirThispakistanigir Posts: 1,033Registered User Senior Member
    Like everyone said, Sparknotes, iTunes University. Other than that, there are an array of different texts that you can use. Gen Physics is pretty basic, it's only algebra based. I'm taking AP next year and I'm using Giancoli (Already beginning to love it due to it's lucidity!).

    Go over vectors if you're itching to get a head start. Depending upon whether your teacher goes to thermo or electricity, touch upon those. Personally, I love thermo though electricity is pretty engaging as well.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Posts: 928Registered User Member
    High school academic physics is LITERALLY plug and chug. If it's more than plug and chug, then it's most likely just dealing with complicated (not hard, there's a difference) circuits and solving for voltage, power, etc. which is VERY simple arithmetic.
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