in this post, we’ll discover the difference between conceptual physics and phsyics.
The difference between physics and conceptual physics
Conceptual physics is the basic physics course that students take between the 8th and 10th grades of high school. It is the easier Physics course students take to grasp the basics of physics without worrying about mathematics.
The math involved in the conceptual Physics course is so easy and basic you only have to complete an algebra 1 level to take a conceptual physics course. You must just have the basics of arithmetics, solving equations and inequalities, and dealing with irrational numbers.
But when we talk about physics, in general, there are a lot of physics courses that belong to this definition. Physics has multiple levels that start from the beginner level which is conceptual physics itself to the advanced levels like thermodynamics or quantum mechanics. In general physics course is divided into 6 levels or parts:
1 – Conceptual physics
Conceptual physics is the basics and the first Elementary course students take between 8 and 10 grade in high school. This course doesn’t require any complicated mathematics unless the basics of Algebra 1 like equations and inequalities, in addition, having basics about Arithmetics like multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, is the easier physics course students take.
Students take a conceptual Physics course to prepare for some lab work and gain a general idea about “ what is physics”. We will be talking in detail later in our what are the topics covered in this course.
2 – General Physics 1
General Physics course is a course students take between 10 and 12th in high school or even in college depending on your choice. This course requires some basics in geometry and Algebra 2, especially trigonometry and functions. This course involves topics like kinematics, motion, newton laws, etc. It involves the same topics as the conceptual Physics course, But at a higher level.
3 – General Physics 2
General Physics 2 represents a continuity course that you take in General Physics 1 including thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, waves, and optics.
In most cases students take General Physics courses in college, especially engineering classes like mechanical or electrical engineering, But you still have the opportunity to take these classes earlier in High School Which is a good choice if you want to go ahead with your peers.
4 – physics 1
Physics 1 is one of the difficult physics courses students take in college and also have the opportunity to take in high school a form of AP exams, this course is more challenging than the General Physics course requiring good basics in Calculus 1.
To take the physics 1 course you must have completed all the High School math courses like Algebra 2 and precalculus, in addition to taking Calculus 1 the first math course students take in a college. Physics 1 has another name, it is called calculus-based physics. You can find more details about this course in this full guided article.
5 – physics 2
Physics 2 is one of the most difficult College physics courses. It is harder than all the physics courses that we mentioned before. In addition, It requires a higher level of calculus, especially calculus 1 and calculus 2. To enroll in the Physics course You must complete the physics 1 and calculus 2 course.
After completing the physics 2 courses you would have more specialized physics and advanced topics like thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and relativity physics. You only study these subjects if you choose to major in Physics or want to become a physicist.
But for students who are interested to major in STEM, like business psychology or economics. they should not study Physics 1 and Physics 2, General Physics courses are already enough for these majors.
is conceptual physics hard
Conceptual Physics course is the easiest Physics course you would find, it’s a course that involves The basic foundations of physics, Including kinematics, motion, energy, work, and Friction. In the conceptual Physics course, students are just scratching the surface studying only the basics introductions of these Notions.
so you just have a good foundation in the algebra 1 course Including arithmetics, equations and inequalities, irrational numbers, exponents, and dealing with units.
You have to make sure to complete an algebra 1 course before taking conceptual physics. It is an easier course that you can complete without struggling. You can find more details about Algebra 1 in this complete guided article.
these are the topics covered in conceptual physics:
You don’t have to worry if you see a lot of subjects covered in this course, teachers don’t go deeper. They just represent introductions and explain each subject without introducing difficult math equations.
for instance, if we take WORK as a subject of conceptual Physics course you would be understanding the principal of this subject like:
the equation you will be using is this simple one :
The goal of this course is to understand just the basics without using any proof or complicated tricks that math people struggle with.
Is conceptual physics easier than chemistry?
Conceptual physics is a lot easier than chemistry, typically students take conceptual physics between the 8th and 10th grade while chemistry is a subject that has a lot of levels starting from the easiest chemistry courses taught in high school to the advanced ones courses taught in college like organic chemistry or physical chemistry.
conceptual physics vs general physics
Conceptual physics is easier and an earlier course the students take before General Physics, students take conceptual physics in their first or junior years in high school. While General Physics is a college course made for students interested to study stems like engineering, computer science, or physics.
General Physics is more difficult than conceptual physics it involves a lot of algebra, the prerequisites to complete a General Physics course is to have basics in Algebra 2, while in conceptual physics Algebra 1 is already enough, sometimes you could take conceptual phsyics without studying Algebra 1, just having the basics of arithmetics.