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Courses High School Physics Sequence

  1. Nov 14, 2016 #1
    I am currently picking out my courses for grade 11 next year. I have the opportunity to take both grade 11 AP Physics 1 and grade 12 AP Physics 2 in the same year (semestered). If I do I won't have any physics courses in grade 12 instead I'll be taking grade 11 Pre-AP Chemistry and grade 12 AP Chemistry. Will it be a problem going into first year physics courses in university if I have a 1 year gap in physics or is it better to take grade 12 physics in grade 12?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2016 #2


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    It's better to take E&M after mechanics, as they assume some familiarity with things like potential energy, torques, conservation laws ... etc normally. (That doesn't mean your course will, just generally)

    You could do it, but why not take mechanics with general chem then E&M with gen chem 2?
  4. Nov 14, 2016 #3
    all hard work brings a profit

    don't sweat the small stuff

    keep working hard
  5. Nov 15, 2016 #4
    Sorry to be clear, I would have AP Physics 1 in first semester and AP Physics 2 in second semester, so sequentially not concurrently. I was more concerned about having a gap of a year between taking my last physics course in grade 11 before taking physics again in first year university.

    Just trying to figure out the best way to arrange my courses as I will potentially be writing 6 AP exams between grades 11 & 12. If I take both AP Physics in grade 11 I'll have an even split of AP courses in 11 & 12. AP courses are new at my school and being phased in. AP Physics 2 is the only grade 12 AP course I can fast track in grade 11.
  6. Nov 17, 2016 #5


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    Then what you want to do should be fine. I wouldn't worry about the gap year, you can continue to work on physics in your off time.

    Freshmen physics is basically a rehash of AP stuff, with some more math possibly sprinkled in assuming you take the sequence for physics majors. (if that's what you plan to major in)

    If you plan on skipping the intro sequence to go straight to junior physics (again, this is only the case if you major in physics) and your university accepts AP credit, then I would recommend during 12th grade you work through K&K and Purcell on your own. Your physics professor from AP might even agree to help review your work, should you ask them and they have time.
  7. Nov 17, 2016 #6
    Ok thanks. I should have been clear initially that I am planning to major in physics. That's why I was concerned about the gap year. I haven't decided though whether or not to use the AP credits to skip the introductory physics courses if I can though many of the programs I'm looking at (I'm in Canada) won't give credit for them if you major in physics anyway.
  8. Nov 18, 2016 #7
    I know of many cases in these forums where students want to skip the first introductory course in physics on the weight of their AP scores. While I think that in some cases this may be feasible, I want to bring out a reason not to do this. In many good universities and colleges, the most accomplished professors take particular interest in their introductory honor students. The most prominent example, Feynman taught introductory physics at Cornell. I know at my university the best research mathematicians taught honors math, and the best research physicists taught honors physics. These professors were actually higher regarded and better instructors than my upper class professors.
  9. Nov 18, 2016 #8
    Thank you. Something to keep in mind. I had a closer look at the program requirements for a few of the universities I'm considering and none of them will give credit for AP Physics if you are majoring in physics. Most won't allow you to use AP Calculus AB either. The only courses I will probably get credit for are AP Chemistry and AP English Lit, and maybe AP English Lang.
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