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Courses Should I skip honors physics?

  1. Sep 27, 2016 #1
    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.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2016 #2


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    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.
  4. Sep 27, 2016 #3
    It is, but you can skip any prereq by taking the placement exam.
  5. Sep 27, 2016 #4


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    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.
  6. Sep 27, 2016 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    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.
  7. Sep 28, 2016 #6
    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.
  8. Sep 28, 2016 #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.
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