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Taking AP Phys (Mech) in 11th grade with no Phys experience?

  1. Feb 19, 2016 #1
    Would it be a bad idea to take AP Physics (Mechanics) in 11th grade with no prior Physics experience? I'm currently in 10th grade taking Honors Precalc and Honors Chem. I'm taking AP Calculus BC next year, but I'm not sure what science classes I want to take for 11th/12th grade. I was also considering taking AP Chem in 11th grade and AP Physics (Mechanics) in 12th, would this be a better idea? Either way, I'd be taking Physics without any prior experience.

    I talked briefly with an AP Physics teacher at my school, who told me that I could take AP Phys (Mech) next year as long as I was good with math and taking a Calc course next year. She said that there were people in her class who hadn't taken regular Physics. Still, would this plan be alright? Class registration deadline is tonight, and I'm kind of running out of time... any input would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2016 #2
    It comes down to the quality of that pre-calc and chemistry course, as well as how good your physical science course was if you had one.

    Also consider how much time you have. Five AP courses and a lot of extracurriculars leaves less time for extra effort than 2 AP courses and a focus on academics.

    I've seen a lot of students ace honors pre-calc and be woefully unprepared for college level physics and calculus.

    Make a plan to do ALEKS pre-calc before the first day of classes, and I would be much more confident in your success.

    Grades in high school courses mean absolutely nothing in terms of real preparation for college level classes. Too many grades are gifted or boosted to make parents happy and avoid negative feedback. ALEKS does not lie.
  4. Feb 19, 2016 #3
    Thank you for the advice, I'll be sure to look into ALEKS!

    Yeah I'm not really loaded with APs; AP Calc and AP Phys are my only AP classes next year. Also I'm planning to go over basic physics over the summer so I at least have some idea of what's going on.
  5. Feb 20, 2016 #4
    In my program, you're actually required to take AP Physics Mechanics after taking Calc AB, with it being your first physics class, so I assume that prior physics knowledge isn't needed.
  6. Feb 21, 2016 #5


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    If you have the math background you should be fine, especially since the course only covers mechanics. Usually they cover one semester of mechanics and one of E&M so students can take both tests. I think people generally should retake intro in college anyway if there is an honors version available.
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