Okay, I’m just starting this journey. I took college algebra and trig 10 years ago, and don’t remember much. So I’m auditing college algebra right now and doing fine. My question is this: how much math do I need for the other pre-reqs? Can I get through chem and physics on a brain freshly filled with college algebra info, or do I need to audit trig as well before tackling these? The colleges I’m looking at don’t require calculus, but should I take it anyway?

Thanks for the info!

- southpawknuckler Said:

Thanks for the info!

I can't speak for physics, but for chemistry, you only need to have a rudimentary knowledge of basic algebra. As long as you can manipulate equations in the sense that if say an equation is AB=CD, and you know B, C & D, then you know that you can divide both sides by B to isolate A to solve for it...that's pretty much the extent of the algebra used in general chemistry.

While calculus is not required per se at most medical schools, most of them want you to take at least one college level class in math, many require one year of college math to include either calculus, statistics or both. I would recommend taking one class in calculus and one in statistics to cover your bases...the only medical school I know of that requires a year of calculus is Harvard, so unless you want to apply there, that should take care of any math requirements.

I would at least audit the trig course before doing physics. As far as retaking them, if you did well before, I wouldn’t bother. I would check with any medical schools you are considering applying to as to their requirements for calculus. If they don’t require any, then I would take statistics courses instead.

Good luck!

Hello,

Based on personal experience, you will absolutely need to have a very good handle on trigonometry. Newtonian mechanics, specially, is very much about decomposing and summing vectors. Optics & Waves also make extensive use of it.

While I know that in many universities Calculus is not required, I believe one is miles ahead if one has had one semester of Calculus.

The 3 semesters of physics I attended required both Calc I and II. I had no choice since these 3 physics were pre-reqs for the med schools I was applying at.

As I mentioned in another post, you might lookup MIT OpenCourseWare Mecanics (Physics) with Prof. Lewin. There’s a full semester of physics that you can stream online for free, and you will have a very good idea as to what to expect.

I wish you the best of luck!

Ron