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Needing help in choosing high school courses

  1. Mar 30, 2013 #1
    Needing help in choosing high school courses!!!

    I am currently a freshman going into my sophomore year. Since I was in the seventh grade, I knew I wanted to pursue some kind of career in Physics. By now I have narrowed down to a career in Astrophysics or Theoretical Physics. My problem is choosing the right high school courses in order to prepare myself for these careers. I have been debating whether I should take the IB programme or just AP courses at my high school. At my high school, their highest level of Physics is Physics C-Mechanics whereas in IB, they offer Physics (HL). Which pathway of education should I follow?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2013 #2
    Which course lets you learn the most? Choose that one. You make it sound as IB would be that choice.
  4. Mar 31, 2013 #3
    I can speak from experience, as I took the IB diploma program. It depends slightly per school, but in general, IB is much, much better than just AP classes. IB HL, which does not require calculus, covers very cool and relevant topics that AP-C does not. You also have the amazing opportunity of doing an EE in Physics. Not to mention that you will be a well-round student after things like CAS and ToK, which colleges love. IB is absolutely worth the workload.
  5. Mar 31, 2013 #4
    I guess I'll give the opposing opinion for AP, which is what I am taking. Ap Physics C is calculus based and, as far as I know, more rigorous than IB. This is why most universities will give credit for getting a 4/5 on the exam while I do not think similar credit is granted for IB Physics HL. It is true that physics C only covers mechanics and (depending on the school) E&M but it explores these topics in depth. Also, I disagree with generalities such as "IB is much, much better than just AP classes" since you really have to compare AP vs IB classes on an individual classes. Sometimes IB classes will be superior to AP and vice versa. I found this comparison interesting: http://www.usc-waves.org/joomla/dmdocuments/IBvsAPphysics.pdf
  6. Mar 31, 2013 #5
    Some colleges have specific scholarships for IB students as well.

    Having tried the IB (I switched to A-Levels), I don't think it's worth your while if you're in the US, and are looking to do physics, when you can just take AP calculus and physics (both exams, mechanics and E&M, are calc-based, no?), and on top of that, cross-register for *more math/physics* classes at the local college/community college.

    Your goal is to learn and get into a "good" college. You don't need a huge time sink like the IB for that.

    Do yourself a favor and read this:


    His book is also incredible, and I wish I had both the Superstar one and the Straight-A student one when I started secondary school. (i.e, 6th grade here)
  7. Mar 31, 2013 #6
    Thank you all so much for your replies! I have asked so many teachers about this concern, but not even my teachers can give me enough insight on what to do. So again, thank you!
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