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Home » Yes, calculus-based phsyics is hard, and here is how!!

Yes, calculus-based phsyics is hard, and here is how!!

In this post, we’ll be discovering how caluclus based physics is hard and what subject you will be required to complete.

Is calculus-based physics hard

Calculus-based physics is one of the tough calculus courses students could take. It is difficult because it combines the basics of the calculus 1 course and some Physics applications including forces, gravity, speed, acceleration, motion, etc….

 What makes calculus-based physics hard for most students, is it requires a good analogy to apply correctly calculus. As a result, to solve physics problems.

if you don’t understand the physics problems, it doesn’t matter if you are good in caluclus or not, because you will end up with a wrong interpretation making your result wrong.

An example that indicates the difficulty of calculus-based physics

Physics problem:


In this case, before applying the calculus rule you have to understand what is acceleration and its relation to speed. 

first, we have a relation between speed and acceleration, which is:

but it is enough to solve this problem.

but the only thing that we know is that in the problems it was said that:

  so it means that the speed is constant, as a result derivative of the constant is zero. That is to say:

 So as you can see in this simple physics calculus example. We solved the problem based on our knowledge Of physics and analyzed critical skills. 

So this is one of the points that make calculus-based physics hard. it requires to pick attention to the details to solve a problem.

In addition, when a professor explains a calculus-based physics course, you will be using a lot of calculus equations in a lecture. 

So if you are terrible in calculus previews courses, especially Calculus 1 it is impossible to succeed in calculus-based physics.

To not demotivate you more,  calculus physics is still doable for students who have done well in derivatives and integrals.

The math of calculus-based physics is a lot easier than multivariable calculus or differential equation. So you don’t have to study some difficult math to be good at caluclus based physics course.

You only need to be good at single variable caluclus, not multivariable calculus

How hard is calculus-based physics  

 we’re going to list the 3 most difficult topics you will be studying in calculus-based physics:

1 – Motion

The first difficult subject that you’d be studying in calculus physics is motion, meaning determining speeds and accelerations.

In other words, studying how objects behave under different physics circumstances such as gravity and friction.

For instance, if a car is climbing a hill you’ll be asked to determine its speed and acceleration. To do that you must have the solid basics in trigonometry to represent forces and deal with vectors to finally arrive at an equation like the example below:

If you make one wrong vector approximation, the rest of all the applications are going to be wrong which means having wrong results. This is the terrible thing that students suffer in the exams.

2 – projectiles

The second difficult subject in calculus-based physics is learning how to deal with projectiles. For instance, let’s say that car is jumping from a cliff.

you’ll be required to respond to this kind of question:

It is like the simple example that we talked about in the previous paragraph, but it is more complex because the trajectory of a car is not linear it’s curved

so you have to apply the calculus rules and also trigonometry to represent all the forces a car submits. so you can finally find the right equation to solve this kind of problem. 

In motion and project subjects you would be applying the first and second newton rules.

3- pendulum

The most difficult subject in calculus-based physics is Pendulum and harmonic systems.  is this subject required to study pendulum systems like this video below.

 What makes pendulum systems and harmonics difficult is it got a lot of details and special cases. which require some kind of memorization and other addition to details. because it’s so easier to make mistakes had to get confused between them.

In addtion, pendulum or harmonic systems require solid Basics or foundations and trigonometry, especially in projection.

You would have to represent vectors correctly to solve the problem geometrically.

How to learn calculus-based physics 

To succeed or learn calculus physics you have to follow the 3 main steps that we’re going to list:

1 –  revise the precalculus courses

The first thing you should do is to make sure you have all the basics and Foundations that you will require in calculus-based physics. the first thing to do is to go back to the pre-calculus course and revise all its topics, especially trigonometry and functions.

you could read this related article: Is precalculus in college hard

 these topics are crucially important for calculus-based physics.

2 –  Focus on the derivative and integrals of the Calculus 1 course

 the second step is should be doing great in calculus 1.  In other words, being good derivatives and integrals. you have to know how to solve or make derivatives and integrals of equations this is so crucial.

train yourself in this area by solving a lot of problems and examples to get enough experience with derivatives and integrals.

3 – Study hard lectures and don’t  skip 

When you take calculus-based physics your principal Focus will be on understanding all its principal before jumping to any exercise or problem to solve.

 As we proved in the previous example in the first paragraph, even if you are good at derivatives and integrals that is not enough if you don’t know the physics Basics or tricks that help you to apply correctly this derivative and integral physics problem.