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AP Physics?

sillyfacesillyface Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
I have a looot of questions about the AP Physics classes. I know there's AP Physics B, C (electricity/magnetism) and C dealing with mechanics. Can someone compare/contrast there three? What are their main differences, which one looks better for someone wanting to major in a life science?
Next year I'm debating taking one of these classes, yet I'll also be taking AP Chem next year. Is AP Physics exceptionally hard? Is it feasible to double up with these two sciences, or is it GPA suicide? I love science, but I also definitely don't want to set myself up for failure. From talking to people in my school, AP Physics C for mechanics was a *relatively* easy class throughout the school year because there were a lot of retake opportunities, but the AP exam is evidently killer. Do y'all agree with this?
I know I have a bunch of questions, please bear with me :P I would really appreciate any and all answers, in the meantime I'll be doing some more research on my own but I would really love to get some "personalized" input from people taking/having taken the class.
Thanks for reading!

Replies to: AP Physics?

  • baileyj57baileyj57 Registered User Posts: 742 Member
    AP Physics C (both of them) utilize calculus, so don't enroll in this course if you aren't concurrently enrolled in AP Calculus. AP Physics B only requires Algebra and Trig.

    A course equivalent to AP Physics B is generally required for med school / life science majors, so this course may be more beneficial to you, depending on the AP credit policy of your desired college. AP Physics C is more rigorous though, so if course rigor is important for your desired college, this would be the better choice.

    AP Physics C covers Mechanics and Electricity/Magnetism.
    AP Physics B covers Mechanics, Electricity/Magnetism, Waves and Optics, Atomic and Nuclear Physics, and a few other topics, but it does not go into as much depth as C to compensate for the increased amount of material. Next year, this course will be split into AP Physics 1 and 2, so you would have to take both exams to get two semesters worth of credit. Your school may offer each as a semester class, or may only offer Physics 1 (which would be like Physics C Mechanics without calculus).
  • Jwen556Jwen556 Registered User Posts: 363 Member
    AP Physics C despite being a science exam is one of the easiest exams on which to get a five. The curve is about 50% for a 5. This low cutoff is without equal. Some at my school have literally failed all 3 FRQs on each exam (they wrote down some equations that they memorized in an attempt to earn some credit) but still procured a 5.

    You can take both in the same year since physics C = physics B + calculus so the amount of overlap is quite significant. Also, the exams occur on the same date, so you have an extra week to study for the exam that you take later. Very doable.
  • sillyfacesillyface Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    Thanks guys for responding!
    @baileyj57 next year I'll be taking calc bc, I've heard from some people that taking calculus with physics helps due to the overlap. Would you say this is true? I was thinking of taking physics senior year, but I'm worried I may forget all the calc material by then and struggle more.
  • HateBeinSoberHateBeinSober Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    I wouldn't say that's true. The calculus in Physics C is really basic and if you have even a shaky knowledge of the fundamentals of AP Calculus, you won't struggle with the calculus aspect of it at all.
  • sillyfacesillyface Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    Also how would you compare it to honors physics? ex: people say ap bio is just a hyped up version of honors bio, honors chem is the background for ap chem. does honors physics actually provide necessary background knowledge, or is it similar to ap physics (but obviously muuuch easier)
  • Jwen556Jwen556 Registered User Posts: 363 Member
    The calculus aspect of C is performing derivatives and integrals of polynomials, which are the simplest (non constant) thing to manipulate.
  • Annl233Annl233 Registered User Posts: 363 Member
    AP Physics, at my school is left for senior year, unless you filled in all the requirements in earlier. For ex: you need to finish Honors Physics, H Calc, H pre calc, and it's strongly recommended that you take ap calc along with ap physics. You have to hit a certain grade in each class to carry on. You don't have to after H calc, but if your taking a major math based science, then I feel like you might as well take ap calc. At my school, the class is hardest offered, and not considered "easy" per say. At my school, ap physics is a combined class, so they shove alot into your brain in 1 year. If you like math and you're decent at it, then I think you could do fine.
This discussion has been closed.