In this post we’ll discover the difference between Algebra-based physics vs Calculus-based physics by discovering:

- what are the topics covered in algebra physics
- what are the topics covered in calculus-based physics
- which is the hardest one
- what course you should take first

so keep reading to know all these related topics.

## the difference between algebra physics and calculus-based physics

**Algebra-based physics course is an elementary math physics course students take before studying physics. Because physics is a subject that requires mathematics to study. for this reason, students must take these physics courses:**

** firstly algebra-based physics course, then followed by a calculus-based algebra course**

we’re going to cover the general topics that students study in algebra-based physics and also in calculus-based physics to see the difference between each one.

### What is algebra-based physics?

algebra-based physics is a course that covers the necessary topics algebra students require before taking a physics college course, including conversion, trigonometry, graphs, and other mathematical models that will be mentioned in detail in this list below:

- Conversions
- prefixes
- geometry
- trigonometry
- equations first and second degree
- graphs

### 1 – Conversions

the first subject you will be studying in algebra-based physics is conversions, you will discover the units and how to convert them. Principally there are 3 main physics components you will be focusing on in conversions:

- lengths
- masses
- time

#### 1 – lengths

In the lengths, students will learn the difference between meters, kilometers, and centimeters. You will learn how to use this table to convert from km to m, or cm to mm, and so on.

Let’s give an example:

1KM = 1000m = 1000 000 mm

#### 2 – masses

In the mass conversion, you will be learning how to convert for example from kilogram to small other units like mg or dg.

For instance:

1KG = 1000g = 1000 000g

#### 3 – time

in the time conversion, you will be learning how to convert hours to minutes or seconds or vice versa. For example:

1 hours = 60 min = 3600 seconds

All these conversation topics are interesting in physics, especially when you make applications or solve problems. You will need to make in this case conversion to solve correctly an exam or homework exercise in physics.

### 2 – prefixes

prefixes are the scientific method mathematicians and physicists use to simplify bigger numbers. Let’s get an example to clarify:

For instance, you’ve been asked to convert 10kg to mg so:

10kg = 10 x 1000 = 10 000

is a little bit long

but what if they ask you to convert 10 tons to mg?

let’s see

1 tons = 10 x 1000 x 1000 = 1 000 000 “is a long number yes “

but we reduce this number and write it like this form below:

1tons = 10 ⁶

so this is the idea of prefixes, which is to reduce numbers and make them more appealing and easy to operate.

### 3 – geometry

In the geometry course, you will be studying the basics of geometry like shapes including lines triangles circles, and all the basics of geometry that you would be needing physics.

For instance.

- determining the area of a circle
- determining the perimeter of a circle
- calculator the surface of a rectangle etc

You could go back and check this article talking about geometry where you will find the old details students study in geometry

### 4 – trigonometry

In trigonometry, you will be revising all principles physics topics you will be needing like:

- Pythagoras theorem
- law of cosine
- law of sin

In this trigonometry part, you have to focus and trigonometric functions like how to use them to determine the angles and legs of a triangle like this example below.

### 5 – equations first and second degree

In equations and inequalities, you would be revising the basic algebraic equations which means first-degree and second-degree equations.

first degree equations are written in this form below

While second-degree equations are more difficult or complex than they are written in the form below.

### 6 – graphs

In algebra-based physics, you will be studying these kinds of linear graphs or functions like the image below.

typically thises kinds of graphs, are written in this algebraic form or function:

y = ax + b

## What is calculus-based physic?

After finishing the algebra-based Physics course you would be going deeper into advanced mathematical physics topics that need calculus to study.

Some Physics concepts are difficult that algebra-based physics courses cannot cover or explain. For this reason, students study calculus-based physics to explain advanced topics, especially the ones that relate to kinematics.

in other words, in calculus-based physics, you will be studying kinematics topics like:

- motion including speed acceleration
- harmonic system or pendulum
- projects

you can find in detail what students study in calculus-based physics by reading this article.

## which is hard calculus-based physics or algebra-based physics

**Calculus-based physics is much tougher and harder than algebra-based Physics courses. it includes difficult subjects like derivatives and integrals, Which are topics equivalent to calculus College, especially Calculus 1. While algebra-based physics course is easier and just represent High School algebra courses including Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.**

You must take an algebra-based Physics course before taking calculus-based physics because all the topics included in algebra-based physics are required to study calculus-based physics courses, like trigonometry equations and other topics we mentioned in the first part of the article.

To give you an approximation of how hard is calculus-based Physics course compared to an algebra-based course. **Calculus-based physics is 2 to 3 times more difficult than algebra-based physics.**

To take calculus-based physics is highly recommended to first take the Calculus 1 course before thinking about studying calculus-based physics. if you didn’t take calculus 1 course the odds of failing are very high.

Because in the calculus 1 course you will learn or discover for your first-time topics like derivatives or integrals which are used intensively in calculus-based physics.

Except if you have taken an AP calculus course or honors in high school or honors physics course because you will study derivatives and integrals earlier in high school before going to college where students take the calculus 1 course.