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    How fun was Physics for you and how maths based was it? What maths and Physics grade did you get at A Level?

    Thanks
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    I'm currently in my A2 year, and I would say that Physics is very maths-based, but at A-Level it's all basic arithmetic/algebra. There isn't any real maths (logs, differential equations, statistics) until degree level, so you have to be very mathematical to cope well in a Physics degree (or so I'v heard). I personally find Physics fairly interesting; you get to learn more about how the world actually works at a fundamental level, although to be honest the very basic maths can get a bit repetitive (rearrange the formula, plug numbers into your calculator).
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    Physics is just applied maths - the mathematical understanding of what "things" are doing at the micro level (and beyond, etc). It's a difficult sort of maths, and at degree level you will be encountering some seriously long proofs / equations.
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    Thanks a lot! I love Physics, I got a great GCSE score for it (80/80). I'm currently working on my other GCSEs especially maths. I am working at a low A / high B so I am just making sure that I can cope - my Physics teacher is giving me A Level work at the moment and I am finding it relatively easy.

    I just don't want maths to ruin something I find interesting in the sense that if I cannot keep up with the maths side, I might soon start to dislike the subject a bit.
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    Thanks a lot! I love Physics, I got a great GCSE score for it (80/80). I'm currently working on my other GCSEs especially maths. I am working at a low A / high B so I am just making sure that I can cope - my Physics teacher is giving me A Level work at the moment and I am finding it relatively easy.

    I just don't want maths to ruin something I find interesting in the sense that if I cannot keep up with the maths side, I might soon start to dislike the subject a bit.
    Yeah, don't worry about your maths ability too much. Like I said, there isn't any hardcore maths until degree level, so you should be fine with A-Level. However, taking A-Level maths alongside Physics can be very beneficial, just because they have similar skills.
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    A level physics is a big step up, but also contains a lot of interesting information. It does become more maths based, but the derivations use relatively straghtforward maths - if you're on for an A or A* at GCSE you should be fine.
    Once you get to university, physics becomes a lot more maths based - the old saying goes 'at university, biology becomes chemistry, chemistry becomes physics, physics becomes maths and maths becomes their own special language that they go sit in a corner and talk in'. Derivations use advanced levels of mathematics and pretty much everything in the maths and further maths A-levels is useful in some respect (including a lot of the 'pure' stuff). The difficulty of courses varies greatly across universities, however, with some basically reteaching A level for the first term and others (like mine...) assuming you know it already.
    I got A*s in maths and physics at GCSE, then at A level A*s in maths and further maths and an A in physics. But I know people that did less well and cope fine at my university. I'm currently in my second year at Warwick.
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    The mathematics in undergraduate or even postgraduate physics vary greatly in different fields, but AS and A2 physics aren't mathematics-based at all.
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    (Original post by tory88)
    A level physics is a big step up, but also contains a lot of interesting information. It does become more maths based, but the derivations use relatively straghtforward maths - if you're on for an A or A* at GCSE you should be fine.
    Once you get to university, physics becomes a lot more maths based - the old saying goes 'at university, biology becomes chemistry, chemistry becomes physics, physics becomes maths and maths becomes their own special language that they go sit in a corner and talk in'. Derivations use advanced levels of mathematics and pretty much everything in the maths and further maths A-levels is useful in some respect (including a lot of the 'pure' stuff). The difficulty of courses varies greatly across universities, however, with some basically reteaching A level for the first term and others (like mine...) assuming you know it already.
    I got A*s in maths and physics at GCSE, then at A level A*s in maths and further maths and an A in physics. But I know people that did less well and cope fine at my university. I'm currently in my second year at Warwick.
    You must be very intelligent! I seem to have an ability for Physics, probably stemming from my interest. I would love to be able to get A*s in Maths at A Level, I'm getting a tutor soon, aiming as high as I can.

    My A Levels subs are:

    Maths
    Physics
    Economics
    Undecided - probably history, not sure.
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    I did physics A-level...

    Yes, there is a lot of maths... But it's generally not too bad. No where near as bad as a maths A-level. You generally just have to convert numbers into the right form and then stick them into a pre-determined equation. Sometimes the hardest part is just knowing how to interpret the data and making sure you use the right numbers. At A2 you will have to use logs, but the method is explained to you (and I think it only affects one or two questions).

    There is, of course, the theory side to it as well. You'll have the ISA and practical questions in the exam. Provided you have a good memory, this isn't too bad. Just memorise particular experiments beforehand. Depending on your exam board (I did AQA) you'll have to pick a specific module to do at A2. I did astrophysics, which was very interesting!


    That said, I got 99% at GCSE and got a C overall for A-level physics. Don't relax just because it seems to be easy. I think you can get caught out by thinking that it's more basic than it actually is, but the questions are generally along the lines of what I've just mentioned - A lot of equations, but having a solid idea of the theory gives you a mental backup... That way, if you don't quite remember which equation to use, you know through theory what you're looking for!
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    You must be very intelligent! I seem to have an ability for Physics, probably stemming from my interest. I would love to be able to get A*s in Maths at A Level, I'm getting a tutor soon, aiming as high as I can.

    My A Levels subs are:

    Maths
    Physics
    Economics
    Undecided - probably history, not sure.
    Just saying, want to do chemistry or further maths?
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    I'm in A2 and the mathematics involved doesn't often get much more complicated than vectors (trigonometric) and some rearranging of equations. A-level Maths is pretty useful mainly so you're more accustomed to logarithms and such, but not necessary. Knowledge of calculus is little more than a slight benefit at A-level.

    Lots of universities make offers for Physics conditional on a grade in A-level Maths though, and many courses require you to study maths modules in your first/second year as well. A good mathematical grounding is very useful at degree level (or so I've been told), especially with more abstract concepts (modern physics, anyone?).
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    (Original post by wrexhamfc)
    A good mathematical grounding is very useful at degree level (or so I've been told), especially with more abstract concepts (modern physics, anyone?).
    Relativity and quantum field theory. String theory and loop quantum gravity. These frontiers are more like mathematics than physics.
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    (Original post by SillyEddy)
    I did physics A-level...

    That said, I got 99% at GCSE and got a C overall for A-level physics. Don't relax just because it seems to be easy. I think you can get caught out by thinking that it's more basic than it actually is, but the questions are generally along the lines of what I've just mentioned - A lot of equations, but having a solid idea of the theory gives you a mental backup... That way, if you don't quite remember which equation to use, you know through theory what you're looking for!
    Yeah, that's why I made the thread. I seem to be good at GCSE and I have read books by Michio Kaku, Brian Cox on Quantum Mechanics and String Theory and nearly every decent video there is on Youtube, not to mention most of the good TV shows in the past few years. Conceptually, I see to have it but it is a question of maths. I have such high expectations set by my teachers, friends and parents in Physics so I always look for a head start. - I started looking at the double slit theory and quantum mechanics in year 9 - that kind of a start!


    (Original post by agostino981)
    Relativity and quantum field theory. String theory and loop quantum gravity. These frontiers are more like mathematics than physics.
    I also agree. I think conceptually again, it is quite important. I am already familiar with the principles of these subjects but mathematically, I haven't got a single clue!
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    Yeah, that's why I made the thread. I seem to be good at GCSE and I have read books by Michio Kaku, Brian Cox on Quantum Mechanics and String Theory and nearly every decent video there is on Youtube, not to mention most of the good TV shows in the past few years. Conceptually, I see to have it but it is a question of maths. I have such high expectations set by my teachers, friends and parents in Physics so I always look for a head start. - I started looking at the double slit theory and quantum mechanics in year 9 - that kind of a start!
    Don't really trust what TV or pop books for laymen entirely. They oversimplify the world. But I am glad you are so curious and motivated to physics!

    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    I also agree. I think conceptually again, it is quite important. I am already familiar with the principles of these subjects but mathematically, I haven't got a single clue!
    For general relativity, study tensor analysis, calculus of variation and differential geometry first.

    For quantum field theory, studying spinors, more tensors, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, quantum mechanics and a bit general relativity will give you a clear concept.

    Can't say much about strings and loop quantum, I barely studied that at all.

    If you master the mathematics, you can literally master the field in a matter of weeks.
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    i was about to do physics for alevel
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    Yeah, that's why I made the thread. I seem to be good at GCSE and I have read books by Michio Kaku, Brian Cox on Quantum Mechanics and String Theory and nearly every decent video there is on Youtube, not to mention most of the good TV shows in the past few years. Conceptually, I see to have it but it is a question of maths. I have such high expectations set by my teachers, friends and parents in Physics so I always look for a head start. - I started looking at the double slit theory and quantum mechanics in year 9 - that kind of a start!
    That's a pretty major head start! Unfortunately, it will probably only give you context instead of answers for the subject. But it's good that you're interested.

    Is it possible for you to borrow or buy an AS/A2 book on physics? Have a read through and see how you find the questions. I must admit, it is quite a varied subject - Lessons in mechanics, vectors, electrical theory, quantum physics, astrophysics/medical/etc, nuclear, materials, waves, light, etc.

    I think perhaps that's one of the reasons why it can be tricky - that is A LOT of stuff to learn. But it isn't really too much of a stretch. I'm surprised how little content there is in other subjects (such as maths) but equally how much trickier that "little bit" is. The mathematics used in physics really isn't awful though. The hardest bit is re-arranging the equations and converting values into the right form. This is usually covered in the first half-term though.


    You certainly seem interested though, so that will probably make all the difference in you being dedicated to learning the stuff properly.
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    You must be very intelligent! I seem to have an ability for Physics, probably stemming from my interest. I would love to be able to get A*s in Maths at A Level, I'm getting a tutor soon, aiming as high as I can.

    My A Levels subs are:

    Maths
    Physics
    Economics
    Undecided - probably history, not sure.
    I'd recommend further maths instead of history/economics here, at least to AS. It really is so useful for degree level stuff, as well as complementing A level physics really well. If you're really opposed to further, then something like chemistry is a good idea. But history really doesn't do anything to help your other subjects at all.
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    I don't agree that physics is just applied maths. Sure, University level physics is extremely mathematical, but without physical insight and understanding you won't do very well.

    That said, the maths/physics balance depends on your choice of topic. Quantum field theory, for example, is extremely mathematical and an understanding of mathematical symmetries is very important for it. On the other hand, something like fluid dynamics or even much of relativity revolves around physical insight, with mathematics being used as a tool to solve problems.

    Einstein was excellent at maths but certainly not the best mathematician of his era. Not even close. He was, however, faraway the best physicist - and so there clearly is a difference between the two.
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    a-level physics was alright, bpho was more enjoyable personally

    not very mathematical at all, you just pretty much need gcse knowledge + logs

    OP if you're thinking of doing a physics degree, why aren't you doing further maths? :confused: Physics is very mathematically based at university, especially the cool, but weird, stuff
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    (Original post by tjjohnson3)
    Yeah, that's why I made the thread. I seem to be good at GCSE and I have read books by Michio Kaku, Brian Cox on Quantum Mechanics and String Theory and nearly every decent video there is on Youtube, not to mention most of the good TV shows in the past few years. Conceptually, I see to have it but it is a question of maths. I have such high expectations set by my teachers, friends and parents in Physics so I always look for a head start. - I started looking at the double slit theory and quantum mechanics in year 9 - that kind of a start!
    I would watch this lecture series:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOKnW...3074A4CB751B2B

    At your age it will probably be extremely tough but it gives you a good idea of what real physics is about.
 
 
 
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