AP Chemistry or Physics??

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Suzie, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    My son's school just voted on going to a 7 day period to a 5 day period, therefore he will not be able to take both AP Chemistry and Physics his senior year.
    Which would be more beneficial for applying to academies? Does it matter? He has had 1 year of Chemistry, and will be taking AP Calculus his senior year, along with other courses that he can't switch out.

    Thank you!!
    Suzie
     
  2. Pachrian

    Pachrian Parent

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    Maybe your son can take either class at the local Community College?
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I would suggest taking the course he will enjoy more. By taking AP Chem, the first six weeks or more of USNA Chem will be review. If he takes AP Physics, he'll enjoy some of the same advantage in youngster Physics. He's unlikely to validate either w/o college-level courses. Both will serve him well and neither will be an advantage/disadvantage over the other in terms of admissions.
     
  4. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    Have him take the AP Chemistry, since one is under more stress plebe year, it will be a little easier on your son. As usna1985 said, " the first six weeks or more of USNA Chem will be review." However, from what I've been told on these boards, if your son can validate the regular Chemistry, but not completely validate, the one you are placed into is actually easier. If he can and wants to, he could also in conjunction self-study AP Physics (which will be easier senior year in conjunction with calculus). Am surprised they don't have a required year of physics, but hey, I guess all schools are different.
     
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    BTW, I was assuming the OP's son has already taken chemistry and now is taking a second year, which may have been a faulty assumption. If the choice is between an initial year of Chem and an initial year of Physics, definitely take Chemistry. I wouldn't want to go into plebe year never having taken any Chemistry, if I could at all help it.
     
  6. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    O.K., I probably should know this....but....what does "validate" mean??

    He has taken 1 Year Chemistry (right now JR year)
    His HS only offers:
    -AP Chemistry
    -Physics (does not offer AP physics)

    This is a rural High School which really is 15 years behind!! I cannot understand why they are going to a 5 period day, which eliminates classes....
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Validate means to earn the right not to take a required or elective course at USNA because you have already mastered the material. If you validate Calc I, you will be placed in Calc II. You can validate multiple semesters of a language, meaning you can start at a higher level or can validate all of your language (for Group 3 majors) such that you don't need to take it. Some courses can be validated based on AP test scores; for other courses, you need to pass a validation test. Which is which is available at usna.edu -- and then go to "academics" and look for a link regarding validation.

    It's typically hard to validate Chem based only on h.s. courses. It is not uncommon for h.s. students to validate Calc I, English (at least one semester), language (1-4 semesters), History (one semester), and possibly other courses. However, if you don't validate any courses, that's fine, too. You simply take the normal curriculum.
     
  8. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    Thank you for the explanation and I found the link at USNA.EDU.....Always learning in this process!!!

    It sounds like AP Chem would be a wise choice.

    Thanks again,
    Suzie
     
  9. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

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    I'm with Pachrian. My son has taken two semesters of Chem, Pre-Cal and is currently taking Calulus and Physics at the community college. It has been a great experience for him in many ways. Of course, it might be too late for Suzie's son to get into a class this semester, but for anyone who wants extra classes that they can't get at their high school, dual-credit is the way to go!
     
  10. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    For the high school class graduated 2006 at least at our super large public high school - the AP Physics test only covered 6 months of college instruction....while the AP chem covered a full year.

    When my now-Firstie mid was signing up for her senior high classes she insisted on taking the Physics, telling me she would take the Chem at USNA. ( Already had an LOA, so she was lucky about that knowledge early on) I told her that might not be a good idea, as I had heard Chem at USNA was the toughest class for Plebes. She was undeterred, however and took AP Physics - passed the class and I honestly don't know if she got any USNA credit. But she did start USNA with no Chem classes.

    How did things turn out? Well, at the Plebe Recognition events, I recall sitting with another USNA family ( both my hubby and this dad were USNA grads with Plebe girls )...we discussed Chemistry. I mentioned my girl killed herself to get the first C grade ( never saw a B in high school either) of her life. The dad informed me HIS girl flunked Chem and had to retake it over summer! Suddenly my mid's C grade looked mighty fine.

    So just remind your kiddo that whatever they decide to do....Plebe year academics will challenge them in ways unknown. That's the whole plan for leadership training at USNA.

    Good luck!
     
  11. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    peskemom: What plebe recognition events???
     
  12. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    That year we were able to attend the Plebe Sea Trials, which the current Supe has stopped. We also saw morning PEP, another event no longer attended by parents. Plus as USNA alum there were several special activities for us with Plebes. Then there was the very public and wonderful Herndon ceremony, touring Bancroft and time on the Yard with the Parade.
     
  13. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    Peskemom.....I love your story!!! I think AP Chemistry is definitely the way to go...especially since our HS only has regular Physics..not even "AP".

    Our community college only offers Physics as an online class....don't know if that would be a good choice.....although Physics is more of a plug and chug class if you are good at math, IMO. I think if he does not have physics he will be ok, he will have AP Calculus. It really sounds like the more you have in Chemistry will be better for USNA!! I would have never made it at USNA....Chemistry always baffled me!!! Give me Calculus or Physics anyday...but not Chemistry!!!:eek:

    Thanks,
    Suzie
     
  14. xrunmariarunx

    xrunmariarunx Member

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    CHEM. Take CHEM. it'll help during plebe year.
     
  15. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    My current Mid was able to take both AP Chem and AP Physics during HS. If a Plebe-to-be can only take one of them, I would encourage considering the following factors in making the decision:
    - I would not recommend taking physics (especially not AP level) unless the student has calculus as either a pre-req or co-req. My now-Mid had a very hard time with AP physics until her calculus class covered a number of the topics. There's a reason that Physics isn't taught until Youngster year at USNA.
    - Is the HS teacher of either class (AP chem vs physics) a significantly better teacher? Our HS had a teacher change in AP chem between my Mid's year and the next. Every member of my Mid's class did well on the AP exam (all scored 3 or above, 14 of 16 scored 4 or 5). The next year.....even very bright students struggled to earn 3's.
    - Unless there is a good reason (i.e. teacher) to take physics, I suggest taking the AP Chem. You'll need it sooner, and if you are able to score a 5 on the AP exam, you'll have a good chance to validate at least one semester of chem at USNA.
     
  16. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Chem. I failed 1st Sem Plebe Chem. It sucked a lot. Physics is cake. Load up on calc as well and it will make things much easier. Core classes suck.
     
  17. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Plebe chemistry is one of the toughest freshman chemistry courses in the country. It is watched closely as it is where most plebes will first encounter academic problems. Don't brush off a poor grade - respond by speaking with your prof and see if EI is warranted. Sometimes it is difficult to respond appropriately, especially for students who never experienced academic problems before.

    A friend of mine whose son was a cadet at WP had a group of friends home for Thanksgiving one year and they all were studying for a physics exam they knew was waiting for them the next week. One of the cadets whined that he always had good grades in school and never had to study so hard in his life. One of the other cadets called him on it and noted that none of them ever had to sweat grades before, but they all were studying over a holiday weekend, so suck it up! It's true.
     
  18. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    1964BGO....I've heard this for years and our own experience confirms that USNA Chem is the toughest in the country...but do you have any solid reason why? besides the fact that these young adults are asked to tackle a FULL load of military drill and a FULL load of physical training AND a full load of academics all at the exact same time?

    If all they had were a standard 16-20 units of USNA courses without the fulltime military/physical requirement components....that Chem class would STILL be the Plebe backbreaker?

    It continues to be very interesting to watch others I know who are taking very similiar math/engineering classes at non-USNA schools moan and groan about their tough classes. I have to bite my lip when my niece, a very bright girl at a prestigious school and a Mech.Eng. major - tell me her classes are 'tough'. All I can think of: "you have NO idea what your cousin and the thousands of others just like her at USNA/USMMA/USAFA, etc. are being asked to do.."

    Our Service Academy students blow us all away. God bless each and every one of 'em.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  19. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    For starters, the Chemistry department used to not (probably still doesn't) curve tests. I think it is run by the devil himself.
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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