AP Chemistry or AP Physics

I’m currently a sophomore and we just did schedule programming at school.

I’m taking Regents Chemistry right now(live in NY) and next year I programmed for AP Biology.

My question is if I should take AP Physics or AP Chemistry senior year. I already taking chemistry so in my opinion it doesn’t make sense. I want to go into pre med in college. I’ve been told that AP Physics is good for aspiring pre med students. But I’m still unsure how physics relates to medicine to be completely honest.

Also, I heard that science AP’s don’t even count towards college so it even worth going though all the trouble?


You have another year to make this decision, but you should take at least one physics class in high school. It doesn’t have to be an AP class, however.

As to whether or not your AP credit will count for college credit, that depends on the college. You can google “college name AP credit” to see which classes/scores you’ll get credit for.

Physics is the basis for all physical sciences, especially chemistry. Without physics, your understanding of chemistry can only be superficial.

Wow thank you both!

Science APs won’t always count for credit, but some people (well, likely most) see it as good practice before you take the class again in college.

Especially if you’re pre-med, I heard GPA is important, so it’s not necessarily disadvantageous to have a head start on the content.

I am a high school student. I didn’t take AP Chem because it’s notoriously difficult at my school and I didn’t want to mess up my GPA. I took AP Physics One, however.

I would have taken Chem instead because I completely feel like I have 0 chemistry knowledge and am a bit worried about keeping up with the 200 or so students in my lecture room for Chem 101 as a freshman year. Most of the class would have pretty good chemistry exposure and taken AP chem, so I would need to adapt to a completely new way of thinking. Oh well, I’ll get it done but might have been better if I were prepared a bit earlier or as much as the 75 percent of the class who took AP chem is

I also heard physics is no more than ten questions on the MCAT whereas chemistry constitutes two sections (not too sure), but chemistry is definitely a more tested topic and important topic.

I would take chem over physics, but that’s just me. Try taking Chem 11th and Physics 12th

Take AP Chem!! For me, I believe that chemistry is more “similar” to medicine than physics and it would give you a good base. ap chem would also be easier for you since you are already taking chem plus ap chem is totally different from honors chem, at least at my school. pre med classes are extremely chem based since there’s various types of chemistry you need to learn in college so ap chem would give you a nice start even though ap credits aren’t accepted for pre med students.

I would take Physics myself, as most schools are looking at a science sequence of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

My son never took AP Chemistry and managed to do well in his General Chemistry sequence freshman year. First semester General Chemistry at a lot of colleges actually focuses on atomic/molecular structure and has been described as ‘baby quantum physics,’ at least by the professors at my son’s school.

General Chemistry second semester is more of what you see in AP Chemistry, albeit in a more compressed format.

I would take chem over physics, but that’s just me. Try taking Chem 11th and Physics 12th

I wanted to take ap biology in 11th. although i have a pretty clear understanding of biology already…is that not a good idea? or should i try to double up on the sciences in 12th grade?

@jaXmiXe I’m a college senior who’s been accepted to medical school already. If you’re going to be premed, I am a strong proponent of retaking the fundamental science courses (gen chem, bio, physics) in college. It’s the best way to build a good foundation for advanced science topics and the MCAT—college-level instruction is simply a cut above high school instruction, there’s no two ways about it.

Take AP Bio if you want and can handle it, but you’ll probably be taking it again anyways in college. At most, AP Bio will give you a head start in your bio classes.

DS took an honors version of bio, chem and physics and then AP chem and AP Physics (two AP Exams for Physics) senior year. He loved it but lots of folks thought he was nuts. It has all been very helpful in preparing him for engineering. I strongly encourage you to take at least the three types of science in HS.

The premed sequence has 2 classes each in Physics and Biology, 5 classes in Chemistry.
Starting as a premed who’s never taken Physics is a recipe for disaster.
If you don’t take AP Chem you’ll be competing with kids who did - you’ll have to fight really, really hard to be in the top 20% of your class against kids who have covered part of the material already when you haven’t.
Can you schedule AP Bio and Honors Physics for next year, and take AP Chem senior year?

@MYOS1634 I am already taking regular/ regents chemistry this year. Are you saying that if I don’t take AP Chem i’ll be behind in college? We already programmed schedules for next year but we could do last minute minor changes up until May. next year in 11th grade my schedule is filled to the brim. i’m actually taking TWO science AP classes(ap bio and ap psych) next year. i already decided to take honors or maybe AP physics senior year from this thread.

just for clarification you think i should take ap chem although i’m taking a regular chem class now? thanks for your help.

@Cheeringsection yeah i already decided i would take ap physics in senior year. thank you for your help!

@silmaril CONGRATULATIONS!! getting into med school is huge. i’m proud and i don’t even know you! lol but thank you for your advice.

AP Chemistry is the second level after Honors Chem. It’s also one of the hardest APs.

Strictly speaking you won’t be behind in terms of class content (because AP chem covers some of the material you’ll see in College Chemistry) but you’ll be behind your classmates. It wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t want to be pre-med: at most large universities college chem is weedout (meaning “designed to fail a certain percentage of students”) and you have to rank top 10-20% in every class to have a med school worthy grade. Imagine if half your classmates have taken AP chem and only 20% in the class have a med school worthy grade, what are your odds?

AP Psych is one of the easiest APs. It’s also an elective, whereas Honors physics is a requirement for a pre-med.
You’re better off taking either combination:
Jr: AP Bio+ honors Physics, Sr: AP chem
Jr: AP chem, Sr: ap bio+ honors physics (or AP physics1)

If you take AP physics 1 and/or 2, you may want to consider not taking the AP test.

The reason is that many medical schools expect you to take physics in college, and physics for biology majors that AP physics 1 and 2 emulate does not have more advanced physics courses that follow it. So if your college lists credit for AP physics 1 and 2 on your record, you may have to choose between retaking physics for biology majors (marked as “repeat” on your medical school application => looks like obvious grade grubbing) or taking physics for physics majors (requires more math and has stronger-in-physics competition for grades).

The same may apply for other science AP tests if you are certain you want to repeat them in college (rather than substitute more advanced courses in the subject area after skipping the introductory courses with AP credit), so that you will not have to mark them as “repeat” on your medical school application.

For my son’s current school (WashU) the only AP science classes that get the full academic credit with a 5 are Physics C Mechanics/EM.

AP Biology/Chemistry/Physics 1/2 with a 5 earns general education credit only. Although students can test out of Chemistry.

Make sure you take Bio, Chem and Physics in HS. You have to take Physics in college for premed and you don’t want that to be the first time you have seen it.