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Outcome of highschool AP physics class a good indicator of future?

  1. Dec 6, 2009 #1
    After excelling at honors physics 1 at my high school my 10th grade year i was recommended for the AP physics class which was just introduced to school aimed at seniors. I love science, mathematics and how the world and things work which is why i signed on, however the class is very demanding with a heavy workload and with football makes it even more difficult. Now I'm doing well in the class (only a handful of us) but not outstanding like i hoped to be. Maybe with out a sport and additional time will help my grade, but i guess the question im trying to ask is if i only do sub-par to good rather than great or outstanding in my AP class an indicator that physics might not be my calling no matter how hard i work in college?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice or personal stories i receive.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2009 #2
    Far, far too early to make much of a difference. AP Physics is different from college physics which is also very different from graduate school physics.

    The important question is whether or not you like the material. If you like the material enough, you'll find some way of muddling through.
  4. Dec 6, 2009 #3
    Agreed. I'm a freshman in college now, and the physics you learn in basic physics and AP is basically combined into your first two semesters of college physics anyways. Rarely will they let you be exempt from an intro to calc-based physics class because of the AP exam anyways, so you'll most likely re-learn the material once you get to college if you decide to go the physics route.
  5. Dec 7, 2009 #4


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    Really? My experience from the 2 universities I've been at is both allow some exemption from intro classes. And I know several of my friends at other universities report the same. Sometimes they will grant credit for a lower class (perhaps non-honors or the like), but it seems to me that whether or not you should accept such credit, as opposed to taking whatever higher level class there is, depends on a) how rigorous your AP physics course was and b) how rigorous your intro physics course would be.

    I know for me at my first university I wasted a semester taking the "advanced physics for physics majors" version of intro mechanics because AP granted credit for the "physics for scientists/engineers" version. Total waste of a semester, as 100% of the content was review.

    On topic: I definitely second twofish-quant's comment. If you like the material enough, you'll find a way to get through it.
  6. Dec 7, 2009 #5
    I passed the AP Physics C exam was only granted credit for the Algebra-based course :( I guess i shouldn't have made that such a generalized statement about not accepting AP credits fully, sorry!
  7. Dec 7, 2009 #6
    Trying to skip college physics classes by virtue of having done something in high school can't lead anywhere good.
  8. Dec 7, 2009 #7
    I skipped both of my university's first two years of physics because of AP credit and I think it helped me a lot. I understood the material very well and did not feel like I missed out on anything. I actually helped a lot of my friends who had to take those classes. I am a mechanical engineer and getting out of those two classes was good because it allowed me to get ahead and take more advanced classes and now in my senior year I spend most of my time working in a lab doing research as opposed to classwork.

    But to respond to the OP, I do not think that poor performance in anything in high school can really be considered an indicator for the rest of your life.
  9. Dec 7, 2009 #8
    Sure it can. Every intro course you skip gives time for an extra upper level course. Of course it can also turn out badly, but there can definitely be benefits.
  10. Dec 7, 2009 #9
    Thanks for the input, i really have no desire to skip college course through the exams even if i do well on them. I really just wanted to know that i did not have to be a prodigy in math in science to make it into physics and astronomy. The fact i made it into my AP class at all a goal i had i just was not getting straight As in the course
  11. Dec 7, 2009 #10
    Being hardworking and passionate is way more important then being a prodigy.
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