Physics choice

Choice 1

College physics with combined lab (4 cr) at State University. Prerequisite is precalc which I haven’t had and really don’t want to take.

Choice 2

College physics with separate lab (4 cr) at 2 yr college. Prerequisite is college algebra which I HAVE had.

How much am I giving up by taking it at the cc level? Bio 1 and 2 also done at cc. Planning on doing chems at University…

There’s plenty of content on OPM regarding whether or not CC courses are as “desirable” to adcoms as courses from 4 year schools, so I’m going to stay away from that issue.

However, I think the general consensus is that CC courses are typically not as rigorous as those offered at 4 year schools. This may make earning an A easier at CC, but it means you’ll have that much more work to do when it comes time to prep for the MCAT.

The physics offering at the 4-year school is likely calculus-based. If you decide to go that route, I highly recommend taking pre-calc (at a minimum) beforehand. If your schedule allows, and if any of the medical schools to which you will apply require it, you may also want to consider Calc I.

You need a solid grasp of Trigonometry (a lot of schools call it or include it in pre-calc) for physics…I can’t imagine even attempting it without. My University offers both Trig-based and Calc-based physics courses and while I took the former I’m told that the calc version makes a lot more sense (if you have done and get calculus of course).

Most schools do require a year (2 semesters) of math above 1010, for me that was College Alegebra & Trig (though pre-calc would have worked). You’ll also need that firm grasp of trig for the MCAT.

Therein lies the problem. I am a hater of math. I eeeked out B’s in both College Algebra and Stats with a ton of work.

I just re-read the catalog for my 2 year college, and is says that for College Physics I (which once only required Coll. Alg.) Now requires Pre-calc and trig or the 5 credit “Combined Pre-Calc/Trig” course. I think I’ll be staying away from that one because even the catalog says “This course is designed for students with strong mathematical backgrounds who need a refresher course before beginning the Calculus sequence.” That is SO not me.

So I guess I’m doing Pre/calc and trig. My question is this. For a non-math guy with questionable skills, are summer sessions an option or should I just bite the bullet and do them over a regular semester? I am likely going to do this at the CC level because I want to protect my GPA. If I have a better chance of an A or B in these math and physics classes at CC, then I won’t sacrifice my GPA for a “University class”.

Man, this sucks. I was really happy to think I was done with math!

I have a math learning disability and had not taken a math course since 1977. I just finished a University Calc I course with a B+!!! I used a tutor twice a week, Khan Academy all weekend, sat up front, formed a bond with the teacher, and basically busted my butt. I also bought the book well in advance and had read up prior to taking the course. I am taking Physics I in the fall. It is Algebra based. Have to, as it is the only one that will work with my work schedule, if I am to have Physics at all!! I just know I will be studying double and triple time when it comes to the MCAT. I might do an evening summer course in basic trig at a Community College prior to MCAT prep. As to physics, I have the book now, and am Khan Academy prepping, and have signed up for a tutor. Same drill as for Calculus. If an old fossil like me with a disability can do this, you can too!!!

My college only offered physics w/ calculus, but from what I can tell algebra-based physics will give you all you need to know for the MCAT (unless it’s changed vastly since I studied and took it 3 years ago).

CC vs. state uni is a whole other can of worms I can’t really comment on… but definitely don’t see an issue with algebra based physics.

  • CaptainObvious Said:

So I guess I'm doing Pre/calc and trig. My question is this. For a non-math guy with questionable skills, are summer sessions an option or should I just bite the bullet and do them over a regular semester? I am likely going to do this at the CC level because I want to protect my GPA. If I have a better chance of an A or B in these math and physics classes at CC, then I won't sacrifice my GPA for a "University class".

I was more or less in the same boat. I am not a fan of math, it's definitely one of my weaker subjects. I tend to believe that Trig is pretty straightforward once it "clicks" in your brain, and for me that didn't take too horribly long. As far as University vs. CC goes, that's really going to depend on the schools themselves. My University has a reputation of having a crappy math department, while the local CC is known for having a great one. I had to drop College Algebra on my first attempt because the instructor was so terrible, and then ended up taking it over the summer with a great teacher and managed a solid A. Taking it over the summer vs. spring/fall depends on how your schools work their summer semesters. Mine has both half length accelerated courses as well as normal full length courses during the in many cases it's not any different than taking during spring/fall.

Do some research on what options each school gives, and if possible talk to some people that have taken those classes from the various professors so you can avoid the bad ones and you should be fine. For me math was all about the homework, if I stayed on top of that and made sure I was able to consistently do it well, I did just fine on the tests.

Thanks guys for all your replies. You folks sure know how to overcome.

Course description of College Physics I w/ Lab

(For University – not CC)

Students study the nature of the physical world. Principles of classical mechanics, introduction to wave theory, heat and elementary thermodynamics are investigated. The curriculum is inquiry based and fully integrated with laboratory and/or field experiences which emphasize active learning strategies. Note: A prerequisite equivalent to MAC 1147 (Precalc) is acceptable.

Course description of University PreCalc Mac 1147:

(For University – not CC)

Survey of the basic properties of classes of functions commonly used in applications. Topics may include polynomial, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, conic sections, matrices, mathematical induction, and polar coordinates.

Considering that the physics class is recommending only precalc as a minimum prereq, I would think that precalc would provide me with that basics of what I would need to get through. Plus I could show a University Physics course on my transcript.

Anyone thinking otherwise?

Per the course descriptions, you should be good with just pre-calc.

Honestly, I was required to take calc 1 and 2 with physics 1 and 2 and definitely didn’t use the 2nd semester of calculus at all and the 1st semester only minimally.

Thanks everyone for your help. I’m not sure where else one can go and get such focused information on such issues. I’m glad Oldpremeds is here.

So it looks like precalc is in the cards for me. I hope I don’t struggle as much with it as I did with Stats.