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AP Chemistry + AP Physics I or AP Biology + AP Physics I

Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
Hello there! I am currently a sophomore in HIgh School. I am taking Algebra II H, Geometry H, Biology H, and Chemistry H this year. I am doing exceptionally well. I have 98, 97, 96 and 97 in all the classes as of now. My junior year scheduling has begun. I plan and have been recommended to take the following courses for math and science (I'm not listing electives/history/foreign language for simplicity, but I have them in my schedule, some are online, I am only listing my AP's):

Junior Year:
AP Language & Composition
AP Calculus AB
AP Biology
AP Physics I (I have no plans for further physics, no AP Physics II nor AP Physics C)
AP Computer Science

Senior Year:
AP Literature & Composition
AP Calculus BC
AP Statistics
AP Chemistry
AP Psychology (self-study)

However, I have a few questions. That course load is hard, and I have come to accept it. I am ready to work hard, very hard. But, I have a mixed opinions from my teachers. Some teachers tell me to take AP Chemistry instead of AP Biology and save AP Biology for senior year. However, the AP Chemistry teacher is notoriously hard, unlike the AP Biology teacher who is relaxed and "easy" according to kids who took the class. Some say that AP Chemistry provides a good foundation for the chemistry used in AP Biology. What should I really do?
18 replies
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Replies to: AP Chemistry + AP Physics I or AP Biology + AP Physics I

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3432 replies78 threads Senior Member
    Junior year is doable for high-performing students. However, I am concerned that two years of double science is coming at the expense of other core subjects. I understand you didn't want to list them for simplicity, but not giving them equal weight could come back to bite you, even if you are a STEM hopeful.

    Your senior year looks pretty rough. I would drop AP Stats for a foreign language.
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 228 replies5 threads Junior Member
    When will you take pre-calculus?
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I will be taking it this summer. It is a review of Algebra II and Geometry for the most part. Also, I am just taking Algebra II H and Geometry H this year and the material is fresh in my mind.
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 228 replies5 threads Junior Member
    If you want to get to BC before you graduate, I'd suggest skipping AB rather than skipping pre-calc. If you do well in pre-calc, then take BC as a senior.

    Unless you have had an exceptional Algebra II and Geometry class, pre-calc is in no way just "a review." You must have a solid understanding of all the concepts and be able to easily apply them in order to succeed in calculus. It takes time to digest all of this information and memorize all that you need to. A summer course, in my opinion, will be too short to give you the confidence with material you'll need.
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    At our school, we have very in-depth Algebra II and Geometry classes. Many Precalculus topics are actually covered in Algebra II. We covered/are due to cover conics, trigonometry, and operating with matrices. Also, AP Calculus AB is a prerequisite for AP Calculus BC at our high school. One more thing, is there any difference between Math Analysis H and Precalculus H?
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 228 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Math Analysis may be specific to your high school and may be a course intended for those who do not plan to go on to take calculus. At some high schools this course is called "college algebra" or "advanced math."
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 228 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Regarding your proposed junior year schedule, as @Groundwork2022 suggested, I wouldn't double up on AP sciences. Going from zero to five APS will be a very difficult transition, especially if you have any time-intensive ECs.

    Also, you may want to consider that at the end of the year, you will have to study for and do well on all five tests within the two week testing window. It is possible to have back to back AP tests on one day and/or on consecutive days. Lastly, some of the APs you have chosen have notoriously low percentages for scoring a 5: Lang (9.9%), Bio (7.1%) and Physics I (6.2%).
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I have to agree that the course load is heavy. AP Computer Science is one of my strengths, and to a large degree, I can code really, really well. I wouldn't worry about it being too tough of an AP for me because I do have a lot of previous coding experience. I also forgot to mention that I will be taking a study hall (~50 mins a day) to compensate for the workload. Biology is also a great strength for me and our Honors Biology class is highly in-depth. Our teacher claims that she goes into the AP syllabus to over 70%. I do not know what to make of this, however.

    I see that the 5 rates are low (quite low in fact), but I am not fixed on scoring a 5 on every single AP exam I take. I would love to score a 5 and will aim to do so, but I know it's unlikely and I understand that exam time is going to be stressful. But aren't 5 rates based also on the people taking the class? For example, AP Calculus AB has a rate of 19.2% while AP Calculus BC has 43.0%. Doesn't it depend more on the seriousness of the kids taking the class? This is just a genuine question.

    Further, for senior year, I have to agree with @Groundwork2022. It does seem over the top, I will drop AP Statistics and take AP Psychology in school instead.

    Thanks for all the help!
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  • digiflipdigiflip 54 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2
    I've been told that if you have a choice, it's better to take the harder of two courses in your junior year rather than your senior year, because you'll be busy with college apps in your first semester, and then senioritis in your second semester, so maybe the fact that AP Chem is notoriously hard could actually be a reason for why you were told to take it junior year?

    Also, I agree that you're probably better off skipping Calc AB rather than Pre Calculus, since AP Calc is supposed to build heavily on Pre Calc, so it's not a verygood idea to rush the course into 8 weeks.
    edited April 2
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Wait, is it possible to take Precalculus Honors, do really well, and jump straight to AP Calculus BC? I was told that AP Calculus AB is a prerequisite to AP Calculus BC. Is this true? If not, I am dipping Precalculus H over the summer. I'll focus on doing really well in school Precalculus H instead!
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  • digiflipdigiflip 54 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Scientist101 It depends on your school. In some schools, you need to take AB before BC, and then Calc BC doesn't go over anything from the AB portions, or just a quick review, since they're assuming you know everything from AB already. In other schools, including mine, Calc BC goes over all of the content in Calc AB in the first quarter or semester (I'm not sure which) and then goes over the remaining BC content, so it's recommended to take AB first, but kids who do well in Pre Calculus are allowed to skip AB. You should check with your guidance counselor or math teacher if possible, or check your school's curriculum to see what they do.

    Either way, I've heard it's better to skip AP Calculus AB rather than Pre Calculus, since it's important to have a good understanding of Pre Calculus to learn Calc.
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I did some research at our school. We can go straight from Algebra II H to AP Calculus AB, however, we cannot skip AP Calculus AB and jump to AP Calculus BC. We must take both the AP Calculus classes at our school. However, we can either go from Algebra II H to Calculus or from Math Analysis H to Calculus. A "Precalculus H" class doesn't even exist. They say it is the same as a Math Analysis H class...
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14500 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    I would not suggest doubling up on AP Science.
    If you want to start chemistry with AP Chemistry instead of Honors Chem, then just do that. Take Physics Junior year and AP Bio Senior year.
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I am already taking Chemistry H this year. I am currently a sophomore. Should I just drop AP Physics I and take AP Chemistry junior year, then AP Biology senior year? But I really want some exposure to Physics before walking into college.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83388 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited April 8
    One more thing, is there any difference between Math Analysis H and Precalculus H?

    Usually, these are two names for the same thing. If both are offered at your high school, ask your high school what the difference is. But usually, "math analysis" is just a different name that some high schools use for the precalculus course.
    edited April 8
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83388 replies741 threads Senior Member
    But aren't 5 rates based also on the people taking the class? For example, AP Calculus AB has a rate of 19.2% while AP Calculus BC has 43.0%. Doesn't it depend more on the seriousness of the kids taking the class? This is just a genuine question.

    Yes, BC has a higher rate of 5 scores than AB does because stronger-in-math students self-select themselves into BC versus AB.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83388 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Wait, is it possible to take Precalculus Honors, do really well, and jump straight to AP Calculus BC? I was told that AP Calculus AB is a prerequisite to AP Calculus BC. Is this true?

    At high schools where BC starts from the beginning of calculus (i.e. it includes the AB material), rather than at the end of the AB material, going from precalculus to BC is certainly doable. However, it looks like your high school starts BC at the end of the AB material, so you need to take AB first.
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  • Scientist101Scientist101 58 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thanks, @ucbalumnus! My school has only a Math Analysis class, not a Precalculus class. Also, I have an update. My school is offering Math Analysis H just for this summer, for the first time! So, I will be taking it from my school.
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