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AP Physics or AP Psychology

  1. Jun 13, 2009 #1
    Hello all,
    I'm a high school student in transition from junior year to senior year. And I was wondering if any one thinks that it would be a good idead to take AP Physics as opposed to AP Psychology? When I go to college I plan to major in a science, but I'm not sure which course will make me more well rounded since, they arre both a type of science.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2009 #2
    Just choose the one that seems more interesting, don't worry about appearing well rounded to colleges.
  4. Jun 14, 2009 #3
    AP Physics sounds waaay more useful
  5. Jun 15, 2009 #4
    I would agree with this, I mean, if you are interested in the topic, you will enjoy it, work hard in the class and do well.

    So yea, do the the one that interests you more.
  6. Jun 15, 2009 #5
    Is it AP Physics C or B? If it's C, and you want to go into Physics/Engineering/Science, I'd take Physics in a heartbeat.
    If it's not, then it doesn't matter as much because you will still have to take Introductory Physics in college, so pick whichever one you enjoy most.
  7. Jun 15, 2009 #6
    You are asking this on PHYSICSforums.com,...
  8. Jun 15, 2009 #7
    if it's a choice between the two take ap physics the class and take both tests. i took both as classes but slept through psych and still got a 4. i seriously slept in class every single day and it was reflected in my grade in the class: a c.
  9. Jun 15, 2009 #8
    If you're planning on taking the class to skip ahead with some of your requirements, I'd take the class that is LESS likely to be your major and more likely to be a gen-ed requirement. This is what I believe AP TESTS are for... and what people were advised "back in the day" before AP became so inflated.

    In my experience, students that skip ahead in their major classes (especially in physics) tend to switch majors. It seems to be better to start out with your peers. When I was an undergrad, there was 100% turnaround in physics (all the students who started out, either with AP credit or not, switched out... and then others of us switched in). This mirrors Wellesley's statement that implies you should still take the intro sequence in physics. (In my case, it was intro physics that snatched me from chemistry!) So I'd hesitate USING any AP credit for jumping ahead.... though you should certainly be getting better background in any AP course as compared to the normal course.... which will help you if your future relates to either path, even peripherally.

    In my humble opinion, though why not take both courses and both tests if your schedule allows? Even if not using the credit from the test to jump ahead, you'll probably learn more, have better teachers, and be more motivated, even if not using the credit. In my case, I was much more likely to get an "a" in an honor's or AP course than in a regular college-prep course. This would look more appealing to admissions also. I'm pretty sure they look at the number of AP classes before they look at whether you're "well-rounded" (a darn hard thing to quantify).
  10. Jun 15, 2009 #9
    Thank you for all the replies most seemed helpful.
  11. Jun 16, 2009 #10


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    I agree with physics girl that if you want to use the AP class to take the AP exam and earn advanced credit in college, go with something unrelated to your intended major. It's okay to take the AP course in your intended major, and even take the AP exam if you wish to see where you're placing, but if it's for your major, don't accept the credit for advanced standing. It's not just physics. I was a bio major in college, and there were things taught in the intro bio courses that weren't covered in high school AP biology that left me struggling for a while in the more advanced courses. I did manage to catch up and do well, but it just made my first year of university harder than it needed to be (and I never caught up in calculus...I always felt like I was lagging slightly behind).

    So, if psychology isn't on your radar as a science you might major in, take that one. It's a good subject to know a little about just for developing people skills. Or, take either if you don't plan to try to get college credit for them and will retake the relevant courses in college if necessary for your major. Or, if you do want college credit, then look for something like history or art history or English literature. The one AP course I am glad I took was AP art history. I actually really enjoyed it, and it's a subject I wouldn't have had time to take in college, so was well worth getting exposure to in high school. When I visit museums, I have half a clue what I'm looking at having taken that course. It doesn't help me professionally in the least bit, but gives me something else to enjoy in my free time, which is a tremendously good thing, I think.
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