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Should I skip Honors Physics to take AP Physics C?

bluewindbluewind Posts: 384Registered User Member
edited April 2011 in College Admissions
In my school, it is said that you have to take a background course in physics before you take the AP class. However, there have been some students in the past who have been given exceptions to this guideline. Since I really want to take AP Psychology but my schedule will not allow it if I do take the Honors Physics background course, should I skip Honors Physics?
Post edited by bluewind on

Replies to: Should I skip Honors Physics to take AP Physics C?

  • amarkovamarkov Posts: 2,288Registered User Senior Member
    Are you really good at calculus and don't think you need the prerequisite? If so, sure; I've seen it done successfully. But if you are only doing this because you want to take more classes, no, it's not a very good idea.
  • MillancadMillancad Posts: 5,797Registered User Senior Member
    Take a look into the coursework. Talk with people who have gone straight to Phys C and other students in the class, as well as the teacher. If almost everyone has taken Honors Phys before C, it's geared toward students with knowledge of physics. See if that would be a problem.
  • haavainhaavain Posts: 794Registered User Member
    Have you taken calculus? If not, I would say no, it's not worth it.

    I know one kid who skipped straight to Physics C--he got an A, but by all accounts he had a difficult time with it, and he's considered pretty brilliant. The material you learn is pretty hard to wrap your head around. But each class is different; talk to your teacher and other students.
  • lazypolarbearslazypolarbears Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
    i wouldn't recommend this unless you're exceptionally good at science/calc. AP Physics-C is widely regarded as the hardest AP, even though most people have completed a year of honors physics or AP Physics-B beforehand.
  • atreuskatreusk Posts: 26Registered User New Member
    Dream! MIT, Chicago, and Columbia. I hope to be you guys.
  • kabizzlekabizzle Posts: 363Registered User Junior Member
    Absolutely not. Having taken Calculus BC and my school's honor physics class, Physics C is a struggle for me. I think that has more to do with the fact that our teacher doesn't really teach us anything but I'd say seriously think about how much you want the AP before you sign up for it. I'd imagine it would be difficult for someone without a background in physics.
  • wilmiesterwilmiester Posts: 318Registered User Junior Member
    Once your are absolutely amazing at calc (A review of AB is probably even better than BC, but BC is almost a must)
  • LoremIpsumLoremIpsum Posts: 3,471Registered User Senior Member
    My son skipped Honors Physics and took AP Physics B as a sophomore last year, in parallel with precalculus; he was top of the class. Then he got bored with precalculus and taught himself AP Calculus BC. Then he decided to teach himself both Physics C classes in his spare time in the two weeks just before the May exams. He got 5's on the BC Calc and the 3 Physics AP tests, so yes, it's possible, but...

    I think you already need to know calc quite well to handle all the Physics C stuff, at least the harder half -- trying to learn physics C and calc in parallel could cause you serious problems. Physics B would be easier, if that's an option -- there's more material, but no calculus is required. And you probably need to be the kind of math student who looks at a new topic once and understands it intuitively with minimal review or repetition.
  • adchangadchang Posts: 398Registered User Member
    My school offers an alt of either Honors or AP-- I think only one girl in my grade elected to take both (H last year, AP this year).

    I believe Honors is a more Pre-Cal based course, while AP is a Calculus based one, though my teacher stated he would not be explaining much via calculus till after first semester when students had learned enough calc to apply it. I took calc last year, but it doesn't really matter for me. Its actually a pretty interesting class, though it is kinda hard. Easier than math though-- starting from pre-cal I became kind of useless at math.

    Even though your school suggests Honors before AP, I see no reason to do it if they allow you to skip and you have the pre requisites.
  • LordOpacoLordOpaco Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    If you feel like you could do it then go ahead. It's not like it is an impossible course. Every one at my school who wants to take Physics, just takes Physics C really without any other physics background (except maybe calculus).
  • PancakedPancaked Posts: 2,751Registered User Senior Member
    Highly recommend Physics B if it's offered. Taking Physics C with no background in calc/physics would be a pain.
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Posts: 2,461Registered User Senior Member
    No unless you are LoremIpsum's son.
  • wintercrestwintercrest Posts: 48Registered User Junior Member
    Oh, jeez. I would not recommend it unless you're really good at calculus and/or have a decent background in physics. I guess part of this could be because I'm not a super-genius or whatever, but I'm taking AP Physics B without any formal physics grounding and I am struggling so much. I don't even want to think about what C would do to me.
  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 7,496Registered User Senior Member
    Our kids don't have to have honors Physics before AP Physics C. You DO have to have a recommendation, and you won't get one unless you are eligible for Calc BC the same year. This means most kids won't take AP Physics C until their Sr. year. Not a bad thing IMO.

    I understand that you want to take AP Psych, however it sounds like you have a choice to make. Our kids face a similar choice with three full blocks necessary to get through AP Chem. One for honors Chem pre-req, one for AP Chem Lecture, and one for AP Chem Lab (lecture & lab taken co-currently). It is a time hog in and out of the class. Students have to forgo other classes to make room. If your ultimate goal is going to be in STEM related majors the Physics is going to be far more valuable in admissions than Psych. You also want to make sure you end up with lab sciences in three different areas to remain competitive at the widest range of schools (ie Bio, Chem & Physics).
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