1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Chemistry or Physics? College Course - Year 11 Australia

  1. May 10, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I've always liked both Physics and Chemistry equally, but recently I've had to choose between either Physics or Chemistry as a course in some extension program I got into.

    At my age (16), which would be a better option for the future? I'm a mathematical person, so at the moment I'm slightly inclined to physics, but Chemistry does seems very elegant :) Anyway, so how would choosing either Chemistry or Physics now disadvantage me later in life?

    Whichever course I choose, I can still take the other course when I go to university. I'm not even sure yet what I'd like to take a career in. The sciences, law or medicine all seem appealing.

    One more thing: apparently if I do well in my course, I may get an early offer into the university that is running the program - the Australian National University - which supposedly has an excellent physics program.

    I just don't want to make a decision and regret it later in life.

    Thanks for all your help :)
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2013 #2
    Do whatever you're most interested in and don't worry about which one would better connect to a specific career. You'll worry about that when you get to university. For now, just take whatever you think you would most enjoy. I would say, however, that physics would probably make better use of your math skills/interest. Honestly though, the most important thing is that you graduate from high school with good grades. Little else matters, in my opinion, as it pertains to what you will do later in life. So, bottom line: Take whichever class you think you would most enjoy. If you choose chemistry you can still easily major in physics or take physics classes at university. If you choose physics you can still easily major in chemistry or take chemistry classes at university. It's totally up to you!
  4. May 10, 2013 #3
    Thanks, haha. It was just that I personally didn't think that I, as an adolescent-hormone filled teenager, really had the capacity to make the "right" decision. So, you're telling me that it's probably inconsequential either way?

    Just a few more questions:

    Will choosing either Chem or Physics now give me an advantage for the corresponding Uni course?

    And also considering this course is separate from my school courses, which option would be of greater relevance to my other courses and consequently increase my grades?

    At school I'm doing English, History, Chem, Physics, and a Double Major in Maths.


    EDIT: Sorry if my questions are a tad pedantic, just really want to clear this up.
  5. May 10, 2013 #4
    "So, you're telling me that it's probably inconsequential either way?"

    I honestly don't think that choosing one over the other will have any kind of significant impact on what you do or are able to do later on in life.

    "Will choosing either Chem or Physics now give me an advantage for the corresponding Uni course?"

    Possibly. Some people do well enough in their high school physics or chemistry classes that they are able to test out of some lower level classes at the university. So whichever one you choose may put you in a position to test out of a lower level class or two, which would offer you the advantage of moving ahead a bit more quickly. Honestly though, I wouldn't do this, personally. Just because you might be able to test out of a particular course or two doesn't mean you should. You may still learn a lot from the class. At the very least it would be a college level refresher.

    "And also considering this course is separate from my school courses, which option would be of greater relevance to my other courses and consequently increase my grades? At school I'm doing English, History, Chem, Physics, and a Double Major in Maths."

    I think that either option would be relevant to your studies, and either option would impact your overall grade. If this were my choice (and it's *not*) I would choose physics, personally. Chemistry is nice but I personally think that physics better compliments your math double major. I truly believe though that you will do well in whichever course you choose. Ultimately you have to do what's best for you. Chemistry and physics are both fun. Pick the one you think you'll enjoy the most and go with it. And one last thing: adolescent does not equal incapable. You're about to move into the world of adulthood. One of the best parts of adulthood is being able to make your own choices. Start thinking about *you* now. Your future is clay in your hands. Start shaping it :)
  6. May 10, 2013 #5
    Is there no way to take both?
  7. May 10, 2013 #6
    I was wondering this too. My guess is that, since he's nearing the end of high school, it's probably a "one or the other" kind of deal. Regardless, he'll be able to do both at the university level.
  8. May 10, 2013 #7
    I think Australia has a system where they stay in school until 19 and 18 and 19 are 'college.' For those two years they study for and then take 'A-Levels' Something like that.

    In the case that he or she can only take one and not the other I would take physics. Physics is not only about learning natural laws but about developing a problem-solving mindset. This will help you when/if you take chemistry later.
  9. May 11, 2013 #8
    Thanks for all the great responses everyone. Much appreciated :)

    I've decided to take physics after all. There is an option to take both courses, however I've got a v. busy workload as it is (staying up until 1 - 1:30 AM every night) and hopefully not doing both won't come back to haunt me.

    May I ask, which science requires the most innate ability in, or is generally harder to do well in?
  10. May 11, 2013 #9
    A lot of people would say that chemistry is more difficult than physics, academically speaking, but it really just depends on you. Neither is easy. Also, make sure you're getting at least seven hours of sleep every night. It's vital.
  11. May 11, 2013 #10
    Both courses will be very interesting (at least in my opinion) and can lead towards some really rewarding careers.

    I don't think you can make a mistake in that regard - what you must do is figure out which one you truly love more.

    I speak from experience when I say it's important to study the correct course at university, because if you don't really enjoy it, you will struggle to study for it.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Chemistry Physics College Date
Courses If I struggled in chemistry, would I struggle in physics? Today at 2:58 AM
Studying Physics/Chemistry and Math Feb 18, 2018
Self Taught Student Seeks Professional Advice Jan 31, 2018
Major or Minor in Physics Jan 1, 2016
Take Physics before Chemistry in College? Nov 5, 2005