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AP Phys, have i done something bad?

  1. Oct 23, 2011 #1
    I am currently a 10th grade student in AP Phys B. I am also in AP Calc AB. I am extremely interested in engineering (especially aeronautical and mechanical). The problem is, I decided to take AP Physics B because it was the only class that sounded like engineering to me (school doesn't offer any other AP Physics besides B). The more I read about it, the more it sounds like AP Physics B is completely wrong for Engineering. Where do i go from here, since it's too late to drop AP Physics. Should i just finish this course and not worry about colleges think of my AP Phys B? Should I take an outside of school course next year? Also, is it worth taking other AP sciences such as AP Chem or AP Bio if i really have my heart set on engineering? Finally, I currently have a B+ in AP Physics, is this a bad thing, or is it ok considering i am only a sophomore? sorry for all the questions, i am just frustrated by this apparent mess i've gotten myself into.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2011 #2
    I have no idea where you heard that AP Phys B was a bad choice for engineering. It's not possible to be a competent engineer of any type without a solid understanding of that material, in fact it's only scratching the surface of what you need to know.

    For mech E/aeronautical, chem will help you less, but it's still good to have a basic understanding of chemistry principles. If you're not interested in doing something with bio, I wouldn't bother with that.
  4. Oct 23, 2011 #3
    Take AP Physics C next year if you can, but AP Physics B is the base of physics so it's really good to take, idk why would think it's bad..
  5. Oct 23, 2011 #4
    from the collegeboard website " In most colleges, this is
    a one-year terminal course including a laboratory component and is not the usual
    preparation for more advanced physics and engineering courses . However, Category B
    courses often provide a foundation in physics for students in the life sciences, premedicine, and some applied sciences, as well as other fields not directly related to science .
    AP Physics B is intended to be equivalent to such course" maybe i am just interpreting this information wrong
  6. Oct 23, 2011 #5
    It sounds like they are talking about a college physics course which students may place out of if they took AP Physics B. Since most students who go into science or engineering take AP Physics B in high school, such a college course is usually taken by non-majors who just need to fill a requirement.
  7. Oct 23, 2011 #6
    Okay, Mr. Lance. Here's a break down for you:

    High school level work wont really do much for you, in terms of preparation, in the field you plan to pursue your career in. Just take classes, enjoy them, have fun, figure out your style of learning and get into college. Don't sweat it, bro. If anything, you can find an old textbook and teach yourself some basics in physics, chem, math or whatever you think will help you and you need to know.

    Now, it looks to me like you're one of those "high school superstars" who like to push themselves in high school. There's nothing wrong with this kind of attitude and I applaud you as a 10th grader for doing this. I don't want you to turn down the heat because of me. I'm just a guy on the internet. Lol. But I want you to know that you'll be fine, even with your B+ in high school physics, and you're fine. You haven't made a big mistake by taking AP Physics B. No mistake at all. If you're trying to impress big name schools, just keep on pushing yourself the way you currently are doing. Just take it easy. You haven't gotten yourself into any mess; you just registered for a course :rofl:

    Should you take those courses you mentioned? Like I said, high school wont really prepare you to be an engineer so take them based on your own judgement. Take them for fun if you want
  8. Oct 24, 2011 #7
    Notes: Obviously: B is algebra-based... C is calc-based. You can't take C until you have a reasonable level of calculus. Engineering college introductory courses are calculus-based... but almost all engineers take those courses their first year-and-a-half to two years of college (but most of those have taken a high school algebra-based class). The calculus tests are only if you want to test out of some or all of those college introductory-levels.

    Whether or not you choose to take college credit for the AP course is another matter. it depends on your score on the AP exam, your confidence in your knowledge, and how it might cover (or not cover) the course material in your eventual program (that's a bit too early to know now, since you aren't sure where you will go, etc.).

    That said:
    I generally think that the more AP courses (science or humanities) you can handle in high school, the better. Why? You'll probably get the best teachers... which is always best for your education (as well as, in this case, your undergraduate admissions application).

    Taking AP science courses in Chemistry and Biology will better prepare you for engineering. I often talk about materials (I'm generally a materials-science person) and sometimes talk about biology in the mandatory physics course I teach to undergraduate-engineering students. While these are limited to certain "applications" or "examples" in class, the more base knowledge you have, the more you'll get out those parts of the lecture... and more and more programs like biological engineering ARE out there, in case you choose to go that route (or the traditional "chemical engineering" route).
  9. Oct 25, 2011 #8
    Absolutely not.

    Most high schools don't even offer Physics C (calculus based) anyway, so there's no reason for them to expect you have it when you get in.

    It's good to take whatever science classes you can in high school, because it'll help you build a solid foundation for what you do when you go to college, and having an AP credit won't ever hurt you when applying for college, no matter what subject it is.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
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