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Should one take as many classes during High School?

  1. Aug 10, 2007 #1
    I'm currently a rising High School Junior and I'm wondering if it is worth it to take as many classes as you can during your High School years to find out what you truly enjoy. So far, I've taken Physics and I loved it but I've heard that you need to combine 2 subjects, for example, Physics and Astronomy, in order to find a reliable source of jobs. I'm taking Calculus this year and other APs but I'm not sure if I should take Chemistry or Computer Science. They are being taught by one teacher whom everyone claims to not teach and give out hard exams.

    Do you think, in your own subjective opinion, that it would be to my benefit to take these courses? Will I be able to understand concepts well enough by studying 1-2 hours every other day in order to ace my exams? Please give your opinions for both Chemistry and Computer Science individually. They are both taught by the same teacher and there are not others...

    All I want to do is explore and delve into the aspects of other subjects in which I've never encountered before. Please keep in mind that my schedule is already loaded with 5 APs and I will need to study for other standarized tests like the SAT Is, SAT IIs, and even the AP exams.. I do not know if I should take extra classes that I will just have to study myself and be challenged with numerous labs and exams. Please take your opinions seriously as they will undoubtedly affect my choice as to whether or not I should take these classes.

    Thank you in advance for your replies! -ilovePhysics
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2007 #2


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    I don't know the US school system and acronyms but:
    Physics is enough to get you a job, also physics will generally get you computer and engineering type jobs but cs or engineering won't get you physics ones!
    High school chemistry is fun and interesting even if you never do any chemistry again.
    Maths + physics + chemistry is the standard for the UK for 16-18 year olds going into science.

    Good luck and enjoy it!
  4. Aug 10, 2007 #3
    listen, if you love physics then learn physics... learn physics in school, learn physics on your own, learn math in school, learn math on your own (if you can)... you are way too young to be worrying about job availability... don't worry about that stuff until college... but... take the chem. class... not to get employed but because chemistry at its core is physics... once you learn the physical context behind the ideas you will learn to appreciate chemistry as much as physics, in fact... the lines between the two will blur... btw, when I was your age.. I read popularized physics books to try to give me a conceptual understanding before the laborious calculus based physics in college... it will make you more receptive if you appreciate the significance of what you are learning... you will want to learn, that was my goal
  5. Aug 10, 2007 #4
    ILovePhysics, you seem to have a lot in common with AznBoi....

  6. Aug 10, 2007 #5
    yeah i was thinking the same thing, he was asking the same stuff a little while ago.

    don't listen to what other kids say about a teacher. unless theres some sort of incompetency problem (was common at my highschool) you should still be able to learn. a lot of kids get angry when they can't pull a good grade in a course and then spread rumors about a teacher/professor.

    at my school, the physics teacher was absolutely incompetent and wasn't capable of teaching physics AP C, so i took it at a local university. if thats the case with your school, maybe you could look into that or possibly a community college. definently don't be put off by difficult work in highschool, it'll only get harder in college.

    i'd take chemistry if i were you. in nys regents chemistry was an absolute joke compared to AP chemistry. if your teacher was a trained chemistry teacher, they might not necessarily have more experience than a freshman computer science major. do you know what your teacher's specialty is?
  7. Aug 10, 2007 #6


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    Great stuff. It sounds like you are doing very well in high school, and looking ahead very intelligently toward college and your future. Physics is a great option (it's my first love), chemistry is also very challenging and can be rewarding in many fields, and general technical/engineering fields can be very rewarding as well, as long as you are willing to work hard be among the best in your field.

    One of the defining moments in my life happened in high school, during one of those bring-your-parent-to-school days. Somebody's dad was an engineer (I forget by now which kind of engineer), and he basically summarized his talk with "If you are willing and able to work really hard in school to learn the material and get very good grades, you will basically be set for the rest of your life with reliable/available work in engineering."

    I didn't have to work very much in high school to get great grades, but I found out pretty quickly in college that hard work and good study habits are super-important there (and in real life work later).

    So in response to your question in your original post (OP), I would say that yes, it is good to take lots of classes to start to see what you really like (you generally don't have to declare your major until your 3rd year of college, at least in many US schools), and maybe also look at the engineering versions of chemistry and physics as options as well. I was thinking ME/EE double major as I went off to college, but my first 2 years of classes showed me how much I loved Physics, and how my best economical choice was probably EE.

    Keep working hard and thinking ahead.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  8. Aug 11, 2007 #7
    Speaking from experience, any AP class geared towards the AP test itself will suck all of the fun and desire you have for a subject. AP classes tend to skip the interesting ideas and concepts and substitute them for memorized equations and problem types. Your best bet is to simply research on your own what interests you and place little, if any, importance on your future career choices on what you liked or disliked in a given AP class.
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