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Help! Ap physics c

  1. Apr 6, 2014 #1
    Warning: I am aware of my careless actions but please help me out

    Ok, i'm a Jr in highschol, I have a 3.7 GPA I've taken honors math and i'm taking ap calculus next year so i'm good with math. I haven't dealt with physics since about 7th grade and my experience with it wasn't that bad. I was hoping to take honors physics at my school, but the way my AP classes were set up I had to take it online, but there wasn't an option for honors, it was AP or on level. Through my ignorance I chose AP because of the extra GPA point little did I know this class would be hell. I currently have a 34 in the course and it's terribly difficult online. If I fail this class is it the end of the world? will I be able to get into a good college? I want to be an aerospace engineer and this is so frustrating knowing that I could have an F on my transcript! Help
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2014 #2


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    Do not worry, failing a class is not the end of the world.

    Do you know why you're failing? Is it a problem of not knowing the math and skills necessary to take AP physics? Do you simply not understand the material?
  4. Apr 6, 2014 #3
    Well, to be honest, getting an F on AP Physics isn't going to look good. I think it might harm you quite a bit, especially if you're going into a major like aerospace engineering which uses physics quite a bit. I would try my best to get the best grade possible. An A might not be possible anymore, but anything is better than an F on your transcript.

    That said, getting into good schools is a bit of a problem, but not even the worst of your problems. The worst problem is that you don't understand the material for some reason. The thing you should absolutely do is find out why you're doing so badly. You should come up with problems that you can fix and then implement the solution.

    For example, how are you studying for physics? Just reading the book isn't enough, you need to fight through the book. Make sure you understand every sentence and you can give examples. And most important: do enough problems! Only doing the homework, isn't enough. And looking at the solutions after 1 minute won't do either. You need to do difficult problems and think about it until you find it. It is not easy, but it is the only way.

    Maybe the textbook is bad? Get another text book. You don't understand a concept? Ask on PF. Etc. Try to figure out what is wrong, and then fix it. We live in an age of internet where a gigantic amount of information and help is available. Use it!
  5. Apr 7, 2014 #4
    Your first mistake: taking AP physics C without taking prior calculus. The class is pretty much impossible without calculus, especially the 2nd part which is E&M. I don't think there's anyway you'll pass the class without studying calculus (at least derivatives and integrals).
  6. Apr 7, 2014 #5
    That was my first thought as well. Being "good" at math is not going to help you if you haven't yet learned the calculus necessary. Is the AP physics course taught through your school? If not, you may not need to report it.

    In addition, I can't believe that a school would encourage taking a math-oriented class online.
  7. Apr 7, 2014 #6
    Wow, I entirely missed that you didn't know calculus! Yeah, then it's practically impossible to pass the class.

    How were you allowed to even enroll in the class witout calculus???
  8. Apr 7, 2014 #7


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    This is not true at all-a statement like that needs a case by case assessment. I took AP Physics C my junior year of HS without having taken calculus before as did a couple of others in the class and it (the math) was no trouble at all for any of us. If one finds AP Physics C to be hard it's almost always because of the physics, not because of the absolutely trivial level of calculus the class entails. The necessary calculus for the class can be learned in less than a week.

    Of course if one goes into AP Physics C without knowing the class uses calculus, to whatever little extent that it does, then that's clearly a huge mistake and in such a case they would definitely be in for an initial shock. But again, the required calculus can be learnt quickly and easily and is seldom used in the class proper. The geometric problems in EM involve very basic integrals and most of the troubles for students tend to lie instead in setting up the problem based on the underlying physics-the same goes for mechanics (coordinate systems, reference frames, free-body diagrams, knowing when to use conservation of energy vs. Newton's 2nd law etc.)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  9. Apr 7, 2014 #8
    I do apologize for that, but if AP physics C is like any college level E&M class, I don't see how you can pass without calculus. The first half is definitely possible without calculus, but E&M, I don't see how.
  10. Apr 7, 2014 #9
    Well, I know you can :tongue: Regular people like me don't have brilliance for that!

    Anyway, I would kind of like to hear back from the OP. He should make clear why the class is so difficult. Maybe the issue is not at all the calculus...
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