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Should I take AP Biology or Regular Physics?

Hey there! So I'm at a controversy right now because I don't know if I should take AP Biology or Physics my Junior year of highschool. So I'm taking:
Honors Biology- 9th grade
Honors Chemistry- 10th grade
AP Biology or Physics- 11th grade
AP Bioogy (if I took Physics my 11th year) or AP Chemistry- 12th grade
What I've heard before is that it's better for me to take Physics 11th grade because I'm planning on going into the medical field. But, on the other hand, I want to take AP to get my college credit. Any recommendations? #college #doctor #science #biology #university #higher-education #physics

Thank you comment icon If you're doing well in your honors classes, this shows that you are preparing yourself for AP classes. If you can handle the work in an honors classes, why not take AP classes and take the AP exam during your school year also! If you pass the AP Exams with a 4 or 5, you will earn college credits so that way you do not have to take it again in college! One less extra class to take :) Good luck! Joey

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Patrick’s Answer

Best of the Village

Great question!


AP courses can be a great way to develop a college-level understanding of topics and depending on your scores and eventual school, they might earn you credit towards your degree.


I completely agree that your mathematics skills should be developed before or simultaneously with your physics knowledge. If you are not taking Calculus yet, I recommend waiting on to take physics.


Biology is understandably a very important subject for students interested in medical school. However, at many schools, the foundational emphasis is actually on chemistry. The importance of a solid understanding of chemistry should not be underestimated as you will need lots of chemistry in college (Intro/General/AP Chem, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry).


Either option is good and a strong collection of gateway science courses (chem, bio, phys, calc) while you are in high school should prepare you for college applications and a pre-med academic track once you arrive on college/university campus.


I want to also reinforce what everyone else has said. Pay attention to your teachers when they make attempts to teach you HOW to learn (note taking, study, test taking, time management skills, etc.).


Also, while academic success (grades and classes) is important, both college/university admissions and medical school admissions officers want to see a broad range of academic interests and community/social engagement (clubs, work, volunteering, athletics, creative expression, etc.).

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Estelle’s Answer

I would lean toward taking any AP class that is offered. Those hours can be very valuable and give you flexibility in your college schedule.
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Melinda’s Answer

I would take AP Physics depending on your future major in college if you are interested in Health Sciences or a MSc etc. then you Physics for science degrees are awesome!
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Ollie’s Answer

Great question.


It's best to take physics and calculus at the same time; knowing some calculus converts physics from a memorize-formulas topic into what it should be: an exploration of how things work.


It's best to place out of as many first-year college science classes (with AP scores) as you possibly can. Not only will it save you tuition money, it will allow you to escape some gigantic cattle-drive lecture classes. If you're on a pre-med track those classes can also be insanely (I use the word in a clinical sense) competitive.


So, if you can take calculus and physics together when you're a senior, take AP Biology now. Most importantly: take full advantage of what your high-school teachers have to offer. The teachers you'll encounter as a college freshman probably won't be as dedicated to helping you learn.


Have a great last couple of years of high school.

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Vernon’s Answer

If you are going into the medical field, the AP Biology as a junior and physics (any level) as a senior would be the best sequence. You're going to get plenty of biology of all stripes the minute you enter the pre-med curriculum in college. Physics is more "linear" and structured in the mathematical sense. Pound the math/algebra/calculus all along the way. I taught AP Biology, so I have a bias, but I also taught anatomy in medical school and college.


Mr. Jones is right about teachers teaching you how to learn. Take full advantage of that. Become a super note-taker and always, ALWAYS re-copy lecture notes into a separate binder. You'll thank me for that tidbit every day you have to take an exam.


Do your best to let learning be as broad-based as possible. Take an art or theater class or two in college, just to exercise your creative self. It's important, now more than ever, for a physician or clinician to be flexible and knowledgable about many things.

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