Is Skipping Honors Physics Beneficial for Aspiring Theoretical Physicists?

In summary, the individual is currently in 9th grade and considering skipping honors physics to go straight to AP physics C. They are also considering doing an independent study in physics in later years. They are seeking advice on whether this would be beneficial and if they should take the placement exam. They have a strong interest in becoming a theoretical physicist and are currently taking AP BC Calculus. However, they are already familiar with calculus through self-study and have a good understanding of algebra-based physics. The advice given is to consult with the AP physics teacher or a guidance counselor and not rush through physics for fear of a superficial understanding. It is also mentioned that in college, they may need to complete prerequisite courses before jumping ahead in a subject.
  • #1
Isaac0427
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I am currently in 9th grade. My plan is to take honors physics (only algebra based, has algebra 2 as a coreq) next year, but I'm wondering if it would be benificial to skip it and go straight to AP physics C instead of taking AP chemistry that year (I'd do AP chem the next year when I was originally going to take AP physics C). In later years, I could do an independent study in physics. I am going to take the placement exam anyways, which I believe I can pass, and if I do, I would be able to make this choice. Would it be benificial to take honors? Would it be better to skip and do an IS in physics for 11th and 12th grade?

A few important details about me:
1. I want to be a theoretical physicist
2. I am taking AP BC calc next year (I am in precalc this year), but I am already familiar with calculus from self studying
3. I already know a lot of algebra based physics (enough that I can do many of the AP physics 1 FRQs)

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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  • #2
Is honors physics considered to be a prerequisite to AP physics at your school? I think the AP physics teacher would be in the best position to judge whether you can go straight into that course.
 
  • #3
jtbell said:
Is honors physics considered to be a prerequisite to AP physics at your school? I think the AP physics teacher would be in the best position to judge whether you can go straight into that course.
It is, but you can skip any prereq by taking the placement exam.
 
  • #4
In general, an examination is not a substitute for an entire course. I think a lot of people fall prey to this idea that if they can just pass a test, they know all there is to know in the course, but ultimately a test is just a handful of problems. The danger of "testing out" of a course is that it could place you in a course that's over your head - perhaps not with respect to some concepts, but with jargon, mathematical concepts, or experience in handling certain types of problems. And this can make you regret something that you love.

Your school should have a guidance councillor for this kind of thing. Or, as jtbell suggested, you can always talk to the teacher about it. He or she would be in a much better position to advise you than random people on the internet.
 
  • #5
Issac, what's your hurry? Physics will still be here next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. You seem to be trying to do this as quickly as possible, and this often leads to a superficial understanding. Or worse.
 
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  • #6
Vanadium 50 said:
Issac, what's your hurry? Physics will still be here next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. You seem to be trying to do this as quickly as possible, and this often leads to a superficial understanding. Or worse.
You are right. I was just asking about possible set backs or gains in college with this. What I am getting is that there aren't big advantages to it but there is a possible set back of superficial understanding. Thank you.
 
  • #7
You'll start at the beginning in physics with college so you'll get anything you might miss in grade school. The main thing is to have some understanding beforehand to make the more rigorous curriculum of college easier to handle. It's been a long time since I was in college, but I don't think they'll let you skip ahead in any subject without first completing the prerequisite course. It might be possible to get a waiver and do that if you can demonstrate the prerequisite training, I don't know. That possibility would be the only advantage I could see in jumping ahead early, but then as already stated you risk an inadequate understanding.
 

Related to Is Skipping Honors Physics Beneficial for Aspiring Theoretical Physicists?

1. Should I skip honors physics if I am already struggling in regular physics?

No, it is not recommended to skip honors physics if you are already struggling in regular physics. Honors physics is typically more challenging and fast-paced, so if you are struggling in regular physics, you may find honors physics even more difficult.

2. Will skipping honors physics affect my college application?

It depends on the college and their specific requirements. Some colleges may require or prefer to see honors physics on your transcript, while others may not. It is important to research the specific requirements of the colleges you are interested in before making a decision.

3. Can I still take AP physics if I skip honors physics?

Yes, it is possible to take AP physics without taking honors physics. However, keep in mind that AP physics is a rigorous course and may be more challenging without the foundation and preparation provided by honors physics.

4. Will skipping honors physics put me at a disadvantage in future science courses?

It is possible that skipping honors physics may put you at a slight disadvantage in future science courses, as honors physics typically covers more material and may provide a stronger foundation for future courses. However, if you are confident in your understanding of physics and are able to keep up with the material, this may not be a significant disadvantage.

5. How do I know if I am ready to skip honors physics?

This decision ultimately depends on your individual abilities and academic goals. It is important to consider your previous grades and performance in science courses, as well as your own motivation and dedication to learning. It may also be helpful to speak with your current science teacher or a guidance counselor for their advice and insight.

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