Physics pre reqs

Hey guys,

So I am about to start my first Post bac DIY semester during the fall. Yei!

I need some advice though. I have not been in college since 2008. My last Calculus class was in 2003 and I have never taken physics, bio, or chem except for Biostatistics (earned an A in 2010).

I got a B in Calculus, but that was almost 10 years ago.

The only classes I was able to enroll this semester were:

Pre Calculus and General Physics 1. Everything else was full. I was really looking forward to a Chem course.

I don’t know if I should take Pre Calculus as a refresher, feels like this would be a waste of money and time even though it is at a CC. But I want to do the best I can in Calculus 1.

I’m not sure if I should take Gen Physics 1 without remembering Calculus 1. Should I take Elementary Physics before Gen Physics so that I am prepared?

Overall, my question is, which course should I keep and what pre req do I need for Physics 1, based on my history. I only want to take one class this semester because I have a very stressful job/boss. I am hoping I get promoted soon so that I can be transferred to a different department.

Thank you all!


Check the course description which should state whether it is “calc” physics or not.Gen physics can be taught with a calculus prerequisite or not. If it is “calc” physics, I wouldn’t take it now. If it is non-calc physics, I’d say intro to physics is not necessary and would say just to jump in there.

Would also ask around about your likelihood of being able to get into general chemistry next semester (spring) as Chem 1 is often not offered then. Each time you can’t get in can delay your application a year…so need to have a plan where you can get that course.


Hi, Angel

As Kate mentioned you need to make sure if its calculus based or not. If not I recommend you to go to and watch entire trigonometry playlist.

You can also go to Harvard Extension web site and go under courses and click on page for physics 1a and theres a math review printout and quiz they recommend before you take general non calculus based physics course.

It helped me a lot

Best of luck

I’m in General non calc based physics I right now and I can say that it is super important that you have very solid algebra skills and a general understanding of trig. The trig used in my opinion is not extensive enough to require a trig class or anything. Watching some videos online, reviewing SOH CAH TOA (sine is opp over hypotenuse, etc)and knowing something about radians, etc. should just about cover it. Khan Academy is good for those principles as mentioned above. However, obviously if you are taking calc based physics this will not suffice and I suspect a very good calculus refresher would be in order.

I wouldn’t take Calc again. The “10 year rule” seems to apply to the sciences, not really the case with Math. Since you have solid grades in Biostats and Calc, save the time and MONEY.