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Take both AP chemistry and AP physics in junior year?

  1. Feb 10, 2013 #1
    Hi, I am a high school sophomore and am thinking about what courses I need to register for my junior year.

    My advisor suggests that I take AP chemistry in junior year and AP physics in senior year. I wonder if I follow this suggestion, I won't have enough knowledge when I take the ACT test in my junior year. So I am thinking to take both AP chemistry and AP physics in my junior year, which will mean that I have to skip Spanish or Orchestra. Is this a good idea? Thanks a lot. By the way, I usually achieve A for all courses I have taken; I will also take pre-calculus in my junior year.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2013 #2


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    What does that have to do with the ACT? Are you perhaps thinking of the SAT Subject tests? The ACT is a general comprehension exam. Also, is this AP Physics B or AP Physics C? The former is much easier than the latter so make sure to take that into account. Follow your interests - don't cut out Orchestra just because you need to finish off AP Physics in junior year seeing as you can always just take it in senior year. Don't compromise something you genuinely want to engage when you are at the junior year high school level (especially something as fun as Orchestra).

    I took AP Physics C and AP Chem junior year (as did many others in my school) and it was definitely manageable. I had a relatively strong interest in physics so that will probably help you along the way as well because it sure did for me. Although I had no real interest in chemistry, the course was still on the easy side and I only took it so I wouldn't have to take it in college anyways. If you do take both and decide to leave out Orchestra, I at least hope you have challenging courses to take senior year (AP Calculus BC, Multivariable Calculus, DE, LA were the norm at my school and probably for you as well) but like I said at your stage in high school you shouldn't be giving up things like Orchestra, if you enjoy it, just to take a class a year earlier. What exactly is your reason for wanting to take it in junior year anyways?
  4. Feb 10, 2013 #3
    Coming from someone who has taken the ACT several times now, I would like to let you know that there is absolutely no specific scientific knowledge that you need to know for the Science portion of the ACT. The Science portion simply tests your capabilities to think scientifically, and analyze graphs, data, hypotheses, etc.

    As WBN mentioned, does your school offer AP Physics B or C? (with "or" being used in the mathematical sense). I'm currently taking AP Physics B, and can say that it is entirely manageable with your current level in mathematics; however, AP Physics C would not be, considering it is a calculus-based physics class, and you will only be taking pre-calc next year.


    For reference, I'm taking AP Physics B and AP Bio this year (my junior year) and have signed up for AP Chemistry for my senior year. But like I said, if your only motivation for taking both AP Physics (B or C?) and AP Chem is to help you for your ACT, then just know that neither of those classes will help you. If you're looking for something that will help you on the ACT, then the Princeton Review should be sufficient (just make sure to get the year-specific one; they come out with a new one each year).
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  5. Feb 10, 2013 #4
    Thanks a lot for both of you. I will definitely find out which AP physics (B or C) my school is offering.

    I will also check out ACT Princeton Review. If I don't need to take physics to prepare ACT, how about SAT subject test as WBN mentioned? Is it necessary to take the subject test in my junior year if I want to major in a specific area, e.g. take SAT physics if I want to major in physics or SAT biology if I want to major in biology?
  6. Feb 10, 2013 #5
    It's my opinion that Physics C is actually more enjoyable and maybe even easier if you've taken calculus already, because it seems to have more of a mathematical feel to it (FRQ's have more variables and less numbers).

    College don't explicitly require it, but certain which have different schools for sciences, fine arts , engineering, etc. have unique testing requirements for their respective schools. Considering that, I would highly suggest that you prepare for the subject SAT for the subject you want to major in (or are interested in). Studying for it is much less boring and you'll perform better if it's something you want to do in the future.

    *Note: some colleges allow the ACT science section or AP science exams to fulfill the same role as the Subject SAT in admissions.
  7. Feb 10, 2013 #6


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    It would be a good idea. Some schools also specifically require it e.g. Caltech requires SAT Math Level 2 and Physics or Chemistry.
  8. Feb 10, 2013 #7
    If I were you I'd go for both courses. Not to prepare you for the ACT, which it won't, but because they are both perfectly manageable courses.

    On the matter of AP Physics, it would be best to take B your year junior year, then head into C your senior year. While the course itself isn't terribly hard, the final exam for physics B is rather difficult. I would argue more difficult than the C exam. There is just so much to cover!
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