Math review for Physics

I’m signing up for a Physics class next semester and I’m sure I need to do some review of Algebra and Trigonometry. This will be the Algebra-based Physics class. I had 10 hours of Calculus in college, but that was about 25 years ago.

Can anyone recommend a good review book? What areas should I focus on reviewing. Are there any particular topics that I can skip?


I’ve never taken calculus…or maybe I have at some point in HS - so long ago, and I barely passed…and I did fine in physics! I also took algebra-based physics and whatever math I needed I just reviewed on as-needed-basis. I would think that having taken 10 hours of calculus you’ll be fine w/o any extensive prepartion.


I couldn’t tell you in particular, but I seriously only remembered one thing going into physics:


haha… that was about it, as far as trig went. I managed to play with that well enough to do well.

You’re probably right, though - it’d be wise to refresh that stuff before jumping back in.

I too General Physics I this semester, it was algebra based as well. The math never got too complicated. It was pretty much a game of identifying what information you have on each problem and picking the right equations to use.

Some algebra skills that were used in the course I took:

-Trig Identities (cos, sin, tan)

-Quadratic Equations

-Exponents and correct notation

-Reporting stuff in correct sig figs… some professors are really picky about this, others aren’t

-logs, ln, and their anti

Most important of all, get a good scientific calculator (I assume that they’re allowed ), and know how to use it. I have seen so many people borrow a friend’s calculator for an exam of a different model, and be like, “OMG omg omg, where is the exponent key”

You and I might have more than a couple things in common (IT architect, approx age, needing to review math for physics course, etc).

I did a search on college algebra and trig primer, and found a number of useful sources. The one I have been using is

The content is mostly problems with the answers and explanation for how to solve the problem.

Good luck!