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Preparing to study physics

What does it take to start learning physics?

What should I know to succeed in physics?

Physics can be intimidating, and people often want to know about the prerequisites to start learning physics. Listed below is a rough guide for the bare minimum of what you should know before taking particular physics classes.

Conceptual Physics prerequisites:

All you really need is an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to accept that 90% of what you thought about the universe might be wrong.

Intro/Honors Physics prerequisites:

AP Physics 1 prerequisites:

AP Physics 2 prerequisites:

  1. All of the ideas and concepts of AP Physics 1 are a prerequisite for AP Physics 2.
You don't need to know every math idea in algebra and trigonometry, and you can learn a lot of it along the way, but the more math that's foreign to you the likelier it is that physics might look like mathematical witchcraft.
Remember, the math isn't there to serve as some sort of intellectual roadblock to prevent people from understanding. The role of math here is to state a physics concept in a concise and clear way. Try not to let the math obscure the basic and, usually simple, physics concept that lies underneath.
More important than existing math knowledge, is your mindset. No matter how much you prepare, you'll come up against roadblocks. The key to being successful is knowing you can work hard and ultimately overcome these obstacles!

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