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AP Computer Science A VS. Chemistry Honors

  1. May 27, 2007 #1
    AP Computer Science A VS. Chemistry Honors<-- highest level chem course

    Which class should I take Junior year? Which do you think will be the most beneficial for someone who is planning to apply to top UCs and Stanford (engineering/science major).

    Here are the pros and cons that I think will help me/you decide:

    **Both AP Comp Sci are taught by a teacher who doesn't teach at all. His tests and pop quizzes are extremely hard. His class has frequent labs that are worth many points.

    AP Comp Sci
    -looks more "advanced" with AP label , haha.
    -I'm interested (is it interesting for you guys?) I just don't want to read those BORING books.
    - I want to make programs (What can you make with C++/ Java, what projects have you guys made??)
    -SOME tests/quizzes are weighed. Most aren't

    - I should take the AP exam (I might get a 3 since the teacher doesn't teach)
    -Will not taking Chem junior year affect my chances at high caliber schools?
    - People say the "language" is hard to learn and understand. Is this true?
    -I have no experience with Java or C++ ( I've had experience with HTML) and I don't even know how they work.

    Chemistry Honors:
    - I don't have to take the AP exam if I don't want to. If I do it will probably be to my benefit (i.e. I can cancel scores if I want, show if I want)
    -Do colleges prefer seeing this taken in your Junior year or does it not matter (just as long as you take it in your high school years right?)
    - I've studied SOME thermodynamics/formulas like PV=nRT, U=Q+W in AP Physics B this year. This knowledge will probably help a bit.

    -All tests and pop quizzes are NOT curved at all. Period.
    -4 people have A's out of 70 people, most have C's. A lot fail. Even the top ranked people have gotten B's in this class.
    -Harder to "self-study" than AP Computer science??

    >>>> Since the same teacher teaches both classes, I will basically need to self study these on my own. Which do you think is easier to do that? Based on the pros/cons that I have written which do you think I should choose for my junior year. I will eventually take both! And no, not having taken either one of these classes will not prevent me from taking other courses. I'm pretty much equally interested in the courses now. Also, if any of you are willing to help me out even further, please PM me. I'll send you the syllabus/assignment sheet for both of these classes. You'll probably get a sense of the difficulty of each classes (for those of you who've taken these courses before). Thanks a lot guys! =]
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2007 #2
    I can only give advice on some things, I never took AP Comp Sci course because my school never offered any AP courses.

    I love reading books on programming, if its boring to you, then maybe you should reconsider if you are planning on becoming a comp sci. Your a life time learner when your a comp sci major. They give you a book, and say, you should probably have it down in a few days and its your job to read that book and apply that knowledge.

    Get use to professors not teaching, that is what college is in my experience. You get a book, teach yourself, take 3 exams, get a grade. You might get lucky and find a professor that does excellent lectures and speaks English.

    I'm currently working for IBM, and no one uses C++, in fact, my job is to convert a massive MultiSystem Manager Agent that was written in C. I have to convert it to Java and add some nice features to it.

    I'm teaching myself Java now and its quite nice.

    C++ I don't think is difficult to learn, but I started teaching myself that when I was very young. I think the mind set you need to get into is Object Oriented, once you get down that way of thinking, the rest is just syntax.

    HTML won't help you at all with real programming, because HTML is scripting.

    But its also very important if you want to be a Comp Sci major. Its amazing how much HTML/PHP/CSS work i'm also doing for IBM. They really love people who know PHP. Its syntax is similar to C. So either way learning C++/Java is important.

    So I think it all depends what you want to do. If you want to be a Comp Sci major, then really chemistry isn't going to come into play very much. In fact I believe the Comp Sci majors at my school could choose between Bio instead of Chem.
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  4. May 27, 2007 #3


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    If you want to be a comp sci major, I'd say C++. Otherwise I'd stick with Chemistry.
  5. May 27, 2007 #4
    Dude, it sounds like you’re terrified of this chemistry class. You need to do one of 2 things, suck it up, face your fear, and deal with the consequences if you don't get the grade you want or take something else and sign up for general chemistry 1 in college.

    There are a lot of schools that won't let you transfer directly into a major unless you fulfill their laundry list of requirements, these lists are sometimes impossible to complete in many high schools. Admission consolers know this. Just focus on getting into a good school with an undecided major and then worrying about getting into the program that you’re interested in. Pretty much all physics and engineering programs are the same for the first year: Calc1, calc2, physics1, physics2, general chem1, general chem2, bunch of labs, and some general ed classes. I doubt any of these classes have any kind of major requirement in order to enroll. Get through these, then decide and declare a major.
  6. May 28, 2007 #5
    Oh I'm definitely going to take BOTH Chemistry Honors and AP Computer Science. I just don't know which I should choose for my hardest and most stressful school year, my junior year. Should I take the harder one in my junior or senior year?
  7. Jun 2, 2007 #6
    I'm sorry if my last post came off as harsh, I was coming off a bad day.

    I seriously doubt another student would be picked over you just because of how you scheduled your classes.

    Remember, just because you know what a hard nosed teacher you will be dealing with is, that doesn't mean others outside your school will know; they most likely will not know. This is getting into a very subjective area but, for all you know, the guy making the call on you might have had a semester of hell taking AP CompSci and will give you extra marks because you managed to do well in it while preparing for SAT's.
  8. Jun 3, 2007 #7
    take chem your junior year, I believe thats what most highschool students do. then if you realize you have an affinity for chemistry, you could still take community college chem courses
  9. Jun 6, 2007 #8
    I took AP Computer Science my senior year of high school. I took the AP AB test (harder of the two) and I got a 3 luckily, it still counted for credit at my university. I thought the test was very hard, but I should have put more effort into it. My main problem was that the class was taught for the A test, and I and one other student had to study extra to learn the AB material.

    That being said, In AP Comp Sci you will work on a Case Study commissioned by the AP Board. The one we did my year was a Marine Biology Simulation in Java. In the class once you learn most of the things from the class, you begin working on the case study. You read it and take a peak at its code. Its nice because they only have you look at the necessary code, not the entire program. You are required to learn how it works, and be able to make adaptions to it to do certain tasks.
    I personally really liked the class, I thought the case study was interesting. For my class we had to do a final project and make a unique adaption to the marine bio sim, I added a simulation of pollution to kill fish.

    I also took AP Chem my senior year, I thought the test was easier than AP Comp AB, but the class was far less interesting. (both of my teachers did little teaching)

    I recommend a AP study book for the Comp class if you do take it, It helps greatly.

    Hope this helps, my recommendation would be to take the comp class at some point (chem junior year, comp senior year?) think you will find it more interesting and will have a better time in it than you will the chemistry.
  10. Jun 6, 2007 #9
    In case its unclear, the AP Computer Science curriculum is now taught in Java, no longer C++
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