Some quick advice from Computer Science majors?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ravenvii, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #1
    Hai guise.

    So I'm a computer science major at the local community college (long story - a very long one).

    This semester, I'm taking Calculus I, Intro. to Computer Science and Physics for Scientists & Mathematicians.

    Because of other stuff in life (work, physical therapy (again, long story), etc), I'm thinking of dropping physics to lighten the load, and take physics I & II in the summer.

    I have no interest in pursuing physics further, so I'm just taking them for the credit towards my major, so getting them over with quickly seems appealing.

    However, if I drop physics now, I'll be effectively flushing $167 down the toilet. Bastards.

    So I'm turning to you Comp Sci majors. What did you think of physics? Is it hard/time-consuming? Should I drop it and take it during the summer?
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #2
    Depends on:

    a) your previous physics knowledge

    b) Your aptitude for math

    c) The degree of difficulty of your community college.

    For me, I managed to effectively (long story!) pass Physics I and II at Drexel, as an engineering major. I also did this without ever once doing homework during an 18-credit trimester. However, I took AP Physics I & II in high school, and have an aptitude for math. It's your call.

    At the same time, I'm currently taking Calc II and Intermediate Java, and that's all. I probably couldn't handle physics (another different, long story!).

    At the end of the day, $167 isn't a lot of money. Why not just take it, and if you don't pass or don't pass with your expectations, take it again? You already spent the money, what do you have to lose?
     
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #3
    You'll find people who run the gamut from finding intro physics trivial to having failed it multiple times. It is hard to give personalized advice, unfortunately.

    If you think you'll have trouble with it and you can spare the money, drop it and do it in the summer. Otherwise if you think it'll be easy, go for it.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #4
    Physics is one of those classes that suck and an ass kicker to take. You see if killing engineering majors left and right. I fought tooth and nail to avoid having my trig based physic 2 counted as acceptable because of my other classes I had from my first degree. Like he'll was I going to take physics 2 again if I could avoid it looks and I had a good case from all my engineering classes.

    I find it is good to have physics being a great class to summer off with out other stuff getting in the way as it is a very time consuming class.
     
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
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    #5
    Whether you find physics useful or not depends on what area of computer science you go in to.

    For me, my focus was on simulation programming (mostly video games) and I use physics all the time. I don't consider myself good at physics, I'm just good at implementing formulas derived by others.

    If your physics course couples itself with computer science (writing programs to solve physics equations for example) I'd say its probably worth it. If you aren't doing that kind of thing I'd skip it if possible.
     
  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #6
    I'm a programmer and never use calculus or physics in my line of work. The hardest math I have to do is your basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

    If you're developing games or flight computers for aircraft, you're going to be using a lot of calc and phys. It all depends what field you get in to.
     
  7. sysiphus macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    #7
    Engineering student here, but I thought I'd weigh in nevertheless. So long as Physics I (mechanics) and II (E/M) is only a problem *conceptually*, rather than because you struggle with the math, then you'll be ok. I'd just bite the bullet and get it over with, though. Really, though, you can treat all freshman-level physics as just applied math problems. If you're really concerned, get your Calculus sequence out of the way, then come back to the physics--it'll be a piece of cake, then.

    The big red flag for me is that some people struggle with Physics because of the math--if you're there, you'll need to take a good hard look at what you want to be doing, though...because the math's only going to get more and more complex from there (you'll get slaughtered in multivariate calc if you have trouble in single-variable...to say nothing of diffEq.)

    In short: if you've got a good handle on Calculus, you'll be just fine. If not, come back when you do. Life will be much better then.

    Good luck! :)
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #8
    $167 is nothing. Drop it if you dont want to take it.
     
  9. kapolani macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    You're going to have to take it eventually so may as well do it now to get it out of the way.

    That being said. I rarely have to use any math at work. For complex problems we have mathematicians that formulate the equations for us and we code to that.

    Good luck!
     
  10. wpotere Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    #10
    Considering my classes were 1500 a pop, 167 is really nothing. Physics is not "easy" but I would imagine that your college offers the ability to get a tutor or you can get a study group together so you can get through it. I got my degree in computer science and didn't take physics and I am also a programmer and we never use it. As another said, we mainly use basic arithmetic to get what I need accomplished. So, unless you are wanting to program something like a flight sim you could go a different route.
     
  11. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #11
    Thanks guys for your thoughts.

    What I'm really concerned about isn't the difficulty, but the time consumption. I don't have time for tutors or study groups or anything like that. School is about half a hour drive (if I'm lucky), plus I have work, etc.

    In other words, I have two time-consuming classes (Calc I & Comp Sci), I'm wondering if Physics is like that - because if it is, I'm dropping it for my own sake (and GPA).
     
  12. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    UK
    #12
    I quit physics to do CS, it cost me about £5k in wasted fees, I have no regrets.
     
  13. wpotere Guest

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    Oct 7, 2010
    #13
    I was in your shoes as well. Time was rough, so I made sure that I split my classes up taking harder courses with something that was either lighter or something that I already had background in. Only you can really determine what load you can handle.
     
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #14
    Go ahead and drop it, then take it later when you have the time. There is no sense in overwhelming yourself.
     
  15. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Always a day away
    #15
    From my own experience (engineering major and now a professional engineer), Physics I is more time consuming than Calculus I, and Physics II is more time consuming than either. I had no trouble at all with Physics I, but Physics II ate my lunch (electricity and magnetism; I was a mechanical major).
     
  16. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #16
    167 USD is nothing.

    Grades, which can affect the ability to transfer credit to a uni/college, will remain forever.

    Do what you need to do to get reasonable grades, including the flush.
     
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #17
    For time consumption it all depends on how easily you get it. I probably spent less than half time studying for physics as I did for Calculus. While for my foreign language requirement I probably spent three times as much time as I did for Calculus. For most courses all that was needed was to attend all lectures, take notes, ask questions, read the material and answer the questions for an easy A. While German took 15+ hours after class studying, working in groups and the school supplied tutor each week. German was easy compared to Spanish which I just could not get at all. So it really depends on you if science and math is your forte then take it now.

    For future consideration. If you want to better open up your time look into being self employed in a non time critical field. You can support yourself quite well cleaning gutters and yard care. Much better than most jobs as an employee somewhere for college students. Perhaps give that a go during the summer outside of your usual work hours and in fall you may be able to ditch the time constriction of being a scheduled worker.
     
  18. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    Southern California
    #18
    For someone that's still learning the basics of calculus, I think you'll find the physics class to require a good deal of your time. Like some of the others above, I found the difficulty of physics to be closely related to how comfortable I was with the mathematics behind it.
     
  19. Coasterfanryan macrumors regular

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Pittsburgh Pa
    #19
    Hmmm. I am a CS major and I don't need physics, but a lot of math (Calc 1&2, Discreet math, Linear Algebra, and Stats). I not need one lab science, which will probably intro to criminology. Could you switch out for another class?
     
  20. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #20
    I would say is a good idea. When I took physic I (cal base) I got threw that class with a study group and we would spend a few hours a week doing the homework assignments.

    Physics and Cal II tend to be weed out classes for engineering and Comp Sci majors.
     
  21. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #21
    I went ahead and dropped Physics. I'll take it during the summer.

    The professor, when I asked his opinion, said similar to one poster above - if I take physics after finishing some advanced math classes, I'll have an easier time of it.

    Thanks guys for your thoughts and advice, I really appreciate it!
     
  22. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #22
    It is not that the math in Physic I or II is that hard. The most advanced math that they really ever will require is very basic Cal I and even than that is a stretch.

    What makes Phys I and even Cal II is not the advance math it is the algebra that is what kills every one. Your more advance math class sharpen those skills.

    In Phys it is figuring out what your knowns are and what you need to calculated to get the requested unknown which I have seen problems that are 4 to 5 calculation to figure it out. It having to wrap your mind around and figuring it out how to get those things.

    Phys is one of those classes that I think is great to summer off with out the load of other classes. Like I said before it is one of those weed out classes to get people who can not cut the program.
     
  23. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #23
    My physics 1 and 2 classes each used calc 3 material fairly extensively as well as concepts from differential equations. I was just glad I had already taken calc 3 and diffy q prior to physics lol.
     
  24. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #24
    And what were the pre recs for those classes. I often times see Cal I as a co rec for Physic 1 and then Cal II as a co/pre rec for phys II.
     
  25. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    Jul 17, 2005
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    5045 feet above sea level
    #25
    calc 1 was a co-req but the prof didn't particularly care. People complained and alot dropped the course and alot got out of engineering all together that year

    Here is the guy's ratings, which are quite amusing
    http://www.koofers.com/colorado-state-university-csu/instructors/eykholt-783345/
     

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