PC1431 Physics IE

Physics 1, as it is sometimes referred to, is mainly about kinematics and some thermodynamics. While that may seem simple, it can get complicated due to the depth of topics. Polytechnic students that have minimal contact with physics should focus more on this module.

The equations themselves are not difficult. My lecturer, Dr Rajesh, reiterated that all you need are the Newton’s laws for the module. Technically, that is true as the other equations can be derived from there. But that does not mean that you have to memorize equations either. Rather, simply do a lot of practices. For every topic taught, there are plenty of exercises in the textbook. I used Young & Freedman 12th Edition with Modern Physics (the modern physics will be covered in PC1432).


  • Units, physical quantities, and vectors
  • Motion along a straight line
  • Motion in two or three dimension
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion
  • Applying Newton Laws
  • Work and kinetic energy
  • Potential Energy and energy conservation
  • Momentum, impulse and collisions
  • Rotation of rigid bodies
  • Dynamics of Rotational Motion
  • Gravitation
  • Periodic Motion
  • Temperature & Heat
  • Thermal Properties of Matter
  • First Law of Thermodynamics
  • Second Law of Thermodynamics


At the beginning of each topic, if you cannot recall the method or equation, do not go to the textbook or notes right away, but instead go back to basics. Keep deriving the necessary equations from basic principles, and over time, you ‘ll realize that not only will you understand the concepts very thoroughly, but you will also have unknowingly memorized the equations and all their variations and applications. The textbook only provide answers to the even numbered questions, so ask around if you managed to finish all the questions and yearn for more practice. There is a supplement that some tutors (or seniors) may have.

The test or exam questions will test understanding of concepts, so make sure you comprehend each topic well and know how they can cross over to one another.

My Teaching Assistant (Jeremy Chong) was very approachable, thus giving me the confidence to ask questions. It is important to have as many doubts as possible, and then to clear all of them.

Labs for this course are direct, do read up (you should always read up) before going to the lab. There will be someone walking around asking questions regarding the lab, mostly with regards to the procedure. Online assessment is in the form of Mastering Physics, and do aim for full marks every time (it is possible). Best 8 out of 9 assessments will contribute 10% to the total score. It has applets that can help in visualizing and extra practices as well. The remaining 90% comes from lab, mid-term (20 MCQs) and the final paper.


The scoring system was:

  • 10% Practical
  • 10% Weekly online assessment
  • 20% Term test
  • 60% Final paper

Additional Resource

Another resource that aided me greatly was this. It is a physics course from MIT, with video lectures. The lectures can also be found on iTunes. Very dynamic lecturer, with every lecture packed with demonstrations. To see the equations on pen and paper in real live action can be gratifying. Highly recommended.

Physics work! – Prof. Walter Lewin

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