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Schools Taking an honors physics class at a local university while in high school.

  1. Take it!

    8 vote(s)
  2. Don't do it!

    2 vote(s)
  1. Jul 12, 2012 #1
    So I am participating in a program that allows me to take classes at a local university and the counselor suggested that because I plan to go into physics when I go off to college (I will be a high school senior next year) it would be a good idea to take the honors introductory course that is offered for physics. The teacher who teaches this class is considered to be the best physics professor at the university and receives great ratings on the rate my professor website that sometimes even mention his conversion of students into physics majors (although most of the raters said gave him a 1 for easiness in the class I'm considering).

    If I decided not to take the class at the university I could take AP Physics at my high school but it is taught by a teacher who is known for really dumbing down the material and he also comes from a mechanical engineering background. I had him for honors physics last year and it was insanely easy. We mostly just had to plug numbers into equations for tests and homework and throughout the classes there wasn't much thinking involved.

    So my question is whether it would be wise for a high school senior who had a dumbed down algebra based physics class to take an honors calculus based physics class at a local university. I took Calculus AB last year and received a 4 on the AP test and I will be taking Calculus II at the university next year. I have a great interest in physics and although it doesn't apply that much I do read a lot of popular literature on the subject.

    Has anyone here had any experiences with honors introductory physics classes in college?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2012 #2
    High school is your chance to explore a range of interests, like sports, hobbies, movie nights, video games, hanging out doing nothing, pizza, I could go on.

    You'll have plenty of time to work day and night when you get to college.
  4. Jul 12, 2012 #3
    I would say take it. If you're interested in physics I think it will be worth it and you seem like someone who would rather have a good understand of concepts instead of just the methods (sounds like your high school class).
  5. Jul 12, 2012 #4
    Yes, take the physics class at the university. It will be harder than your high school class, but that's a good thing. You will be challenged during the class and you will discover whether you truly like physics.
  6. Jul 12, 2012 #5
    if I were you I would take the class
  7. Jul 13, 2012 #6


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    Gold Member

    Hi Phyzwizz,

    I took honors physics last semester and really enjoyed it. However, it was not uncommon to see mathematics usually taught in one's third semester of calculus (triple integrals, conversion to polar/parametric, etc.). Some of the students in the class were just learning how to take the derivative of elementary functions since calculus 1 was the only prerequisite.

    You should get a hold of the professor and tell them you situation. They will be able to give you some advice on what you need to do to be prepared. If you have not taken calculus yet, honors physics will be a significant amount of work for you, as you will need to learn the math and the physics at the same time.
  8. Jul 13, 2012 #7
    Honors physics at my university pretty much expected you to know all of AP Physics already. There were also "proofs" (as in physics proofs, not math proofs) involving abstract particles/forces/etc. They're pretty basic, but if you've never done anything other than plugging numbers into equations, it'll be a bit of a problem.

    Nonetheless it's a great course if you're prepared for it. So study AP Physics over the rest of the summer and take the course.
  9. Jul 16, 2012 #8
    Thanks for all the helpful advice. I talked to the professor and he said the most challenging part is just the application of math to the physics. I've decided to take the class I took out James Stewart's Calculus 5e and I'm starting to work my way through Calc 2 topics hopefully this book will be sufficient.
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