Physics Advice: Trig or just do it?


  • Favorite Answer

    I’m just guessing because I don’t have your course outlines that you’ll get plenty of trig in your geometry course.

    Schaum’s is strictly secondary reference, not a primary textbook. As the series implies, these are outlines of the subjects. I use their Quantum outline as reference, but I’ve taken quantum physics at the PG level. My point is that, as outlines, they skip over a lot info that is important for understanding the subject, whatever that might be…including physics.

    I like the … for Dummies series. And there is a Trigonometry for Dummies you might look into if your geometry course has a dearth of trig. The Khan Academy has excellent reviews. If you can spare the extra time, over and above your regular academics, then you might look at what they have to offer. But can you spare that extra time? How will that affect your GPA, which you must maintain at a high level if you want to go on into a top tier university.

    I am a bit surprised at the curriculum you outlined. I would have expected physics in the th grade so that you would have the prerequisite math already under your belt when you start that class. I think attempting to learn the needed math (e.g., algebra) while also taking physics is not a good idea.

  • Nah, you just need to understand what sine, cosine, and tangent mean.

    These are all ratios of legs of a right triangle. You can probably find a youtube video showing the relationship. In physics there are a lot of vectors. A vector has a magnitude and a direction. In physics, a lot of vectors get broken down into components.

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    For example, a velocity of m/s at an angle of deg to the horizontal. The component of velocity in the x direction is v_x = v*cos(). The component of velocity in the y direction is v_y = v*sin().

    If you know the components, then you can use tan to find the angle. deg = atan(vy/vx).

    Once you understand what sin, cos, and tan really are then you wont necessarily need to take trig to understand physics.

  • In my high school experience we were tought trig in pre-calculus. trig is a huge part of algebra based physics and an even bigger part in calculus based (what I took in HS) without a basic understanding of trig it will make physics a lot harder. trig is a fairly easy subject and only took me about months of study to master so learning it early would be a big help.

  • Trig is easy, at least what you need for physics. You just need a quick lesson online. That’s the first thing you do in physics. The teacher should go over everything like it’s new to everyone. My teacher did it first semester this year.

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