Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

No Bio until 12th grade?

havenoideahavenoidea Registered User Posts: 173 Junior Member
Twins’ school has an odd science path. 9th was Chem 1/physics (1/2 semester each). After that, self-selection. Twins took Chem 2 over the summer and both are in AP Chem now. D21 plans to take AP bio next yr, 11th. But S21 is thinking of taking AP Physics C (full yr/both parts) instead. He’ll be taking multivariable calc next yr (in BC now).

My question is: Is there a problem with not taking any biology until 12th grade? (He’d take AP bio 12th). It seems weird to me, and when looking at summer science programs, some required bio. But, other than not qualifying for those, is there a reason for him to switch the sequence he wants?

Neither twin knows what they want to do in college, but math, and science related to math, comes naturally to D21.


Replies to: No Bio until 12th grade?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,590 Senior Member
    It is perfectly OK to leave it until 12th grade.
  • iaparentiaparent Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    I just had the same discussion with my S22. He started with AP Chem and in preparing to register for next year the teacher/school recommendation was Physics and that was his preference as well, and then throwing Bio in either his Jr. or Sr. year. I had heard (probably on CC) that getting Bio done early was preferred as the ACT/SAT tests focus more on Bio than Physics. I am friends with the HS Science department head and asked him (off the record) and he agreed taking Bio early made sense and is something he will have to bring up to his team when they put together their recommendations for the AP level students.
  • kokotgkokotg Registered User Posts: 24 Junior Member
    My (homeschooled) son is taking bio now in 12th grade. It just kind of worked out that way, and I won't do it that way again with my younger kids.....but there hasn't been any particular downside to it that we've found so far.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 39,579 Super Moderator
    edited January 9
    Is there a problem with not taking any biology until 12th grade?
    No. In fact there is a small, but growing, number of high schools who have revamped the traditional science sequence to start with physics.
    SAT tests focus more on Bio than Physics.
    Neither bio nor physics is needed for the SAT.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,129 Senior Member
    There is a movement in many places to move Physics to 9th grade, so there is time for AP Physics later, and to increase the # of students taking Physics. Research had shown that when left to last, many students avoided Physics.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,064 Senior Member
    Research had shown that when left to last, many students avoided Physics.

    That intent seems common in anecdotes in these forums.

    However, high school physics first seems like it would have to remove the use of math from the course, since it is common for high school physics to list geometry and algebra 2 as prerequisites, but 9th grade students may only be in algebra 1.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,129 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    Well in our district, most 9th graders are in Geometry. The Geometry Honors students take Physics Honors (and regular Geometry students take regular Physics, which is much easier). The Honors students learn the needed Trig concurrently in both classes. The Honors Physics (which follows AP Physics 1 curriculum and kids can sit for that test if desired; it's called "Honors" and not forced as AP due to it being 9th grade), and subsequent AP Physics 2 in 10th, use Algebra-based Physics (then kids are required to take AP Physics 2 test, and can also chose to take AP Physics 1 test also). Some schools then offer AP Physics C (Calculus-based) - usually a 12th grade course.

    In our district, the Honors courses always cover part of the next course...so for instance, Geometry Honors covers some Algebra 2 and Trig. Algebra 1 Honors covers some Geometry, etc.

    No- math is absolutely NOT removed from Physics....though the "regular" Physics class is easier; it is probably still more challenging than what I had in the 1980s as 12th grade Physics.

    If you read about the "Physics First" movement, for those not strong in math (probably taking Alg 1 in 9th or lower), they are usually offered a "Physical Science" course instead of actual Physics.

    I've seen three different high schools handle it 3 different ways....so IMO as long as students cover all three subjects successfully, they are fine.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    He's fine, as long as he gets bio in. But many kids do bio early, take on the more rigorous stem in 11 and/or 12. If he takes bio in 12, will it be with peers? And would he also be taking other stem AP at the same time?

    Imo, other than college impact (none to speak of,) you may need to step back and figure his comfort level, the realitues.
  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 Registered User Posts: 559 Member
    Our high school starts honors students in honors biology in 9th grade - most likely because they can take the state test in biology at the end of 9th grade so only ELA/math is required in 10th grade for testing (as it stands right now). It looks like there are other options but I don't know if it is an individual choice or school choice. The typical 9th grade math for the honors math student who goes by school curriculum is geometry though now it is integrated math 2 honors.

    Our school eliminated honors physics since AP physics 1 is an entry level honors/ap class and requires math completion of algebra 2/integrated math 3.
  • BookLvrBookLvr Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    My teenager's school normally does
    9th grade--Physics
    10th grade--Chemistry
    11th grade--Biology
    12th grade--Science electives.
    (Some science focused students also double in sciences.)

    My daughter per se did Physics and Chemistry, but will be doing Python Programming this year in 11th grade and will take Biology in 12th grade. (There were some specific scheduling issues that made this happen.) While part of me worries about her unusual path, another part of me knows she would probably never have tried a computer science class if this hadn't happened. As she said, "I'm pushing my comfort zone!" And that is probably a good thing for her, in the long run. (She's more a humanities and writing kind of kid by nature.)

    I also think it is quite possible to do Physics in 9th grade even though math skills aren't as advanced as they would be later. (There is a more advanced physics for 12th graders as well, Physics with Calc). I actually loved the way her school did it. Some of the labs were very interactive and had kids riding a zipline and dropping objects from it, with the students on the ground measuring where the objects fell and whether that matched their predictions. I think that is such a creative and interesting way to teach!
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,036 Senior Member
    Yeah I agree with most of those who say putting off bio is no big deal. In high school bio is mostly just memorization whereas chem and physics are more conceptual-a better skill to show you have. So climbing up in one or both of those seems more important than taking bio.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    Except that you don't want reduced rigor in 12th.
  • havenoideahavenoidea Registered User Posts: 173 Junior Member
    @ lookingforward At his school, because of their Chem 1/physics in 9th, almost all the advanced stem kids take AP Chem in 10th. Most then take AP Bio in 11th. I think that’s probably due to the requirement of taking at least as a co-requisite to Phys C. But, everyone takes it before Phys C. So, AP Bio is the natural choice. S21 and a handful of classmates are already taking calc. All those kids are planning to take Phys C next year. I don’t know why, other than that it’s more math-related? All of them seem know to they are going into engineering/math/CS, though our S doesn’t know. But you’re right, then he and the others will be mostly with 11th graders for AP Bio - hadn’t thought of that.

    Also, their school only allows 6 classes. He only gets 1 elective and his is classical guitar, which he doesn’t want to drop. So, no other sciences for 12th. He’ll probably take logic and probability for his math. Or, he could take AP stats? He won’t be able to take a computer class.

    @ iaparent I looked at the ACT and you’re right, there are some biology specific questions that require some actual knowledge. The post I pulled up went over the 4 areas you’d want to make sure you knew for bio. So, it looks like you wouldn’t be at a disadvantage IF you learned those concepts.

    Another question: Would having taken phys C in 11th and done well (assuming of course) be more helpful than AP bio if he decides he does want to apply for engineering, bc schools would see those grades/aps whereas they won’t if taken 12th grade (especially if he applied somewhere EA/ED)?

    Thanks again!
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,129 Senior Member
    Yes to your last question @havenoidea

    Is this a private HS? Just curious.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    They'll see the 12 schedule on the app forms. High schools send the first semester grades. I see the pull of taking physics with friends in 11th. But if it'll be only bio in 12, will he be bored just filling a requirement?

    The GC is ok with this?

Sign In or Register to comment.