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Am I behind?

  1. Sep 7, 2011 #1
    I am in 8th Grade, and I am taking an Algebra A class. This class is basically an introduction to algebra, and next year I will take algebra 1 for math. If I wanted a career in physics, am I behind? Should I push myself to jump up a class next year? Is it necassary to take calculus before college if I wanted to go into physics? Physics-wise, I have only read a few textbooks, and Feynman's QED. Thank you for your answers, any insight is appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2011 #2
    I'm pretty sure you're right on pace. A typical US high school route for AP students and those wanting to delve into sciences would be something like:
    Pre-Algebra (9) -> Algebra (8) -> Geometry (9) -> Algebra II/Trig (10) -> PreCalc (11) -> Calc (12).

    However, it really varies and since you're so young, it's very possible you'll change what career you want to jump into. I spent grades 1-11 thinking I'd probably be some doctor or lawyer (I didn't even know what other successful jobs existed other than those two) and then I spent grade 12 finally deciding on what major. And even in college, you're likely to change what major you go into.
  4. Sep 7, 2011 #3
    Thank you for the response. I understand there is a good chance I'll change interests, but I don't see what else can fullfil my love for finding things out about nature. The reason I asked this young though, is that if I did want to get into physics, I might've had to start now, if I needed to bump up a math class.
  5. Sep 7, 2011 #4


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    OP states that he/she will take Algebra I in 9th grade, however. :confused:
    And I assume you mean Pre-Algebra (7).

    OP: It's certainly possible to go into physics without having taken Calculus in high school. As long as you reach Precalculus and an algebra-based physics course by your senior year, you'll probably be ok. In a number of colleges you can take Calculus and Physics concurrently in your 1st year.

    Or, if your high school allows it, and if you really want to take Calculus in high school, you could also take Geometry over the summer for original credit. A number of my current and former students have done this.
  6. Sep 7, 2011 #5
    I am aware that you can take math courses over the summer for credit, and I will think about it and ask my parents for their opinions.
  7. Sep 7, 2011 #6
    I don't even remember what math course I took in highschool!

    I took Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Precalculus/Trig simultaneously, Calculus, Calculus II/Linear Algebra simultaneously, just to get caught up so I could take college level physics courses. As mentioned above, most places allow you to take CalcI/PhyI at the same time so really I would think that if you are ready to start calculus your first year you would be just fine. If you have some calculus under your belt when starting, even better.
  8. Sep 8, 2011 #7
    My sister took geometry and algebra II simultaneously in 10th grade in order to start precalc in 11 and calc in 12. You're not behind. And if you are, so what? Go to a community college the summer before you start university, and you'll be able to take a calculus class that's likely better than the AP version.
  9. Sep 8, 2011 #8
    Thanks, again for all your responses. I feel like I have gained a lot of information from this.
  10. Sep 8, 2011 #9
    Well I took:
    Algebra 1: 8th
    Geometry: 9th
    Algebra 2: 10th
    Precalc/Trig: 11th
    AP Physics B: 11th
    AP Calc (now): 12th
  11. Sep 8, 2011 #10
    Yeah, at my rate, I'd take AP physics in 12th and precalc in 12th too.
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