1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What kind of grades would a future physicist tend to have in high school?

  1. Jun 21, 2017 #1
    I am aware that the grades would vary from country to country and school to school, but what kind of grades (particularly in physics and mathematics) do people who go on to become physicists (experimental or theoretical) generally tend to have in their last year of high school?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2017 #2
    They tend to have whatever the best possible grade in the respective school system is. Not necessarily, i.e. not all of them. But usually, i.e. most of them.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2017 #3

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Don't worry about your high school grades too much. While they can help you get scholarships and get into certain colleges or programs, it's what you do during college that matters the most. Just do your best and make sure you're looking into what you need to do every semester to get to where you want to go. That means getting decent grades, meeting with advisors at least once or twice a semester, looking into internships and research opportunities, and keeping your eyes and ears open for any other opportunities that come by.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2017 #4

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Good ones.

    Now, if this isn't a satisfactory answer, think about what would be, and see if you can clarify.
     
  6. Jun 22, 2017 #5
    I was thinking more along the lines of specific grades, preferably percentages, as I assumed "good ones" would be pretty obvious.
     
  7. Jun 22, 2017 #6
    My view is that the answer to this question tends to depend on a few things:

    1. How good do your high school grades need to be to earn a Bachelors Degree debt free? This is highly dependent on a number of situational details and is not universal. Physicists do not (usually) make a lot of money, and starting a graduate program with a lot of debt is a bad plan.

    2. How good do your high school grades need to be to be truly prepared for the more challenging college courses? Grades are gifted in many high schools these days, so even As and Bs in math and science may not mean you are really prepared for challenging courses in math and physics.

    3. Did earning those grades help you develop a solid work ethic? Being an undergrad in Physics is much harder work than most high school graduates are prepared for. Are you an exception?

    In the US, high school grades stopped being an objective standard of learning, work ethic, or preparation for college a long time ago.
     
  8. Jun 22, 2017 #7
    Well, I have a buddy whose high school grades included C's in math (and he didn't get past algebra), but he's now a PhD student at a top 5 physics program in the US, if you're looking for uplifting anecdotes.
     
  9. Jun 22, 2017 #8
    Thanks for all of the great answers!
     
  10. Jun 22, 2017 #9

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I doubt that anything like a historical survey is available. By the time someone gets a PhD, nobody really cares what their high school grades were. But to get to a PhD, you want to do as well as you possibly can at each stage.
     
  11. Jun 22, 2017 #10

    Choppy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    There are exceptions, but most of the physicists I know did very well in high school physics and mathematics classes - and most other classes for that matter. For some it was easy. Others had to apply themselves a little more. But one of the common traits was a passion for the subject, and the willingness to do more than just what was asked in the class.

    There's no threshold. And if you're wondering about how you would ever become a physicist given that you got a B on a midterm, or something like that, try not to worry about the grade as much as the reasons why you're not performing as well as you would like. Another common trait of academic success tends to be the willingness to re-evaluate oneself and work constructively on areas of weakness.
     
  12. Jun 22, 2017 #11
    Thanks again for the answers everyone, this is my first post and I was unsure how it would turn out.

    My marks are generally quite good, especially in physics and mathematics (I got a 99% in both calculus 110, which my high school offers in partnership with a local university, and physics 30, along with a mid 90's average among other classes), but I was just curious as to how they compare to others that have gone through it all already.

    I stress about my future quite often, as the majority of the people I am around don't really understand my interest in science and technology, and was hoping to perhaps get a better look at whether or not I'm cut out for a career in physics.
     
  13. Jun 22, 2017 #12

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    His college grades WERE ABOVE C's including in "Algebra" and other Mathematics when he studied in the university, and he DID GO FAR PAST ALGEBRA in order to earn PhD.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2017 #13

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    The last part: Your friends cannot decide FOR YOU. You need to decide for yourself. You are spending time around some of the wrong people.
     
  15. Jun 22, 2017 #14
    The friends that I actually spend time with are supportive, I was talking more about family and family friends.
     
  16. Jun 22, 2017 #15

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm unsure if I misunderstood you earlier, but much like what I said, at least your family cannot make the decision for you about what major field YOU should study. Getting good education and career advice from them will also be a problem. Your fiends although SUPPORTIVE, are likely not experienced enough to give YOU the best advice. They will most likely not try to steer you wrong, but they simply do not know enough yet to give you the best advice. Good grades in Math and Physics are good. What else do you know about yourself? Interests? Skills? Things you know how to do? Things you made or have repaired?
     
  17. Jun 23, 2017 #16
    The point I was making was obviously that a high school screw up isn't the end of the world.

    << Post edited slightly by Mentor >>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2017
  18. Jun 23, 2017 #17

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    That is the same point I was making. High school is one chance to make some gains. College is the next chance to make some gains.
     
  19. Jun 23, 2017 #18

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That sounds excellent to me. Were you thinking that you need 100's in everything? :wideeyed:
     
  20. Jun 23, 2017 #19
    Oh, gotcha.
     
  21. Jun 23, 2017 #20
    Kind of, yeah. I haven't really discussed my marks with many people, especially not any physicists/other professionals.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: What kind of grades would a future physicist tend to have in high school?
Loading...