How difficult is taking AP Physics concurrently with AP Calculus AB?

Hi! I just transferred schools internationally and am planning on attending a public American high school. I was previously planning on taking the IB and had already talked to a counselor and selected my courses, however, due to our sudden move I will now be taking AP.

I am interested in taking ap calculus ab and physics but am not familiar with the amount of coursework AP amounts to or what a manageable number of AP classes are. In addition to these two classes, I am planning on taking AP Art History and AP English Lang (with the rest of the classes being standard).

It was standard practice at my D’s HS for advanced students to take AP calc concurrently with AP physics C (both mechanics and E&M). D’s experience was calc was easy and physics a lot of work but it will depend on the teachers at your school.

If you are worried, I’d drop AP Art History before calc or physics.

It’s very dependent on the individual student - we don’t know your capabilities work ethic, history, etc. Some students obviously take no APs. Many take 2 or 3 without issues, though some struggle. When you get to 4,5, 6 - the workload is very heavy but there are certainly students who succeed with that courseload.

Having said that, my D took AP Physics C and AP Calc BC at the same time without issue. I would bet everyone in the Physics class was in either AB or BC, as it’s a co-/pre-requisite. At least at our school, Physics C typically self-selected to the top students. I think there was only one class of 25 in a graduating class of 550.

I agree with the above comments.

At my school Precal is a co-/pre-requisite for AP Physics 1 while AP Calc is a co-/pre-requisite for AP Physics C.

In my opinion, taking them together is easier than taking them separately. Physics allows you to utilize the math concepts you master in Calc so you can better understand how they’d work in real-world situations. It really helps to solidify the teachings.

It depends on which AP physics you are talking about. Our high school requires students to take AP Physics 1 & 2 in order to take Physics C (many, if not most schools let students go from 1 to C). Taking AP Physics 1 alone with calculus should be manageable (AP Physics 1 is only algebra-based). Taking AP Physics C along with Calculus BC or multi-variable calculus are probably the two most difficult combinations offered in our high school. Around 12-15 out of 600+ graduating seniors take AP Physics C each year. The guidance counselors advise that it is a pathway for high-performing future engineers or those who want to study in a computer science program within an engineering college. So yes, it is very difficult (study groups are lifelines in DD’s HS), but as another poster said, it is a self-selecting group that chooses to do this.

My daughter took AP Physics at the same time as AP Calculus BC and it was no problem. Her physics teacher just said there were a couple of calculus concepts she need to know in advance, and to go talk to the Calculus teacher to learn them. I think she spoke to him for just a few minutes one day after school and found out what she needed and was fine. She said the AP Physics actually used a lot of algebra.

Hmm, I guess it really does depend on how much work someone puts in. Thank you for the reply!! :slight_smile:

Ahh okay. Physics C students really did take up a tiny percentage of the graduating class. I may decide to take AP Physics alone next year.