AP Physics vs. AP Bio

Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
32
Hi everyone,

I'm a junior in the process of selecting courses for next year and have come to the point where I must choose a science: AP Biology, AP Physics (Mechanics), or AP Physics (Electricity and Magnetism). Being that I am performing well in AP Chemistry this year, I'd like to take a science that would further display my scientific ability to admissions officers. Regarding AP Biology, I am confident that I would excel in this class and earn good grades based on my performance in freshman biology and the fact that I thoroughly enjoy biology. I also aspire to be a physician in the Navy Medical Corps, so a strong foundation in biology is something I think would help me on this career path. However, I'm concerned that AP Biology is too much of a "squishy" science, and that the Academy would prefer to see something that deals with some more quantitative subject matter. For this reason, I am considering taking one of the AP Physics courses. What are your recommendations regarding which course I should take, and, if AP Physics, which one would you suggest? Thanks so much.
 

USNA_Dad2019

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
53
Take AP Physics, either version, both if it fits in your schedule. Lean toward the Mechanics path if you can't take both. They would both look better to admissions than AP Biology. If your goal is to be in the Med Corp, you will need to major in something like Chemistry at the Academy. They don't offer a biology major, which is common for Med School applicants. Taking AP Biology is one of the "squishy" sciences and the quantitative subjects like Physics look better on your application, so you pretty much answered your own question. Good luck!
 

Harleyboys98

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Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
72
I have a similar question! I am a sophomore this year picking courses for my junior year. I'm curious to know, should I take AP chemistry or AP Physics next year? Thanks:)
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
32
Why not take both?
I definite would take both AP Biology and AP Physics if I were able, given the testimonies I have heard from students on the value of both classes. However, I am planning on taking AP Spanish Language and AP European History as well, which count as electives and only allow me one spot for a science class.
 

socalmomof3

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Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
66
I have a similar question! I am a sophomore this year picking courses for my junior year. I'm curious to know, should I take AP chemistry or AP Physics next year? Thanks:)

My son who is currently a youngster at USNA, took AP Chemistry his junior year and AP Physics his senior year.
 

5Day

5-Year Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,731
Both chemistry and physics are required courses at USNA and NROTC so for a better foundation to succeed At the SA or college physics and chemistry would be my preference. For admissions I doubt there is a difference, but the more AP classes the better.
 

nuensis

10-Year Member
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
839
Definitely Physics over Bio. If you validate Physics, you'll be set up for success Med Corps or not. If you validate Bio, it won't help your matrix. I would take E&M, simply because Mechanics is pretty straightforward. If I had seen the E&M material before in high school I definitely would've had a better time in Physics II instead of the desperate struggle it was.

USNA won't help you in terms of accommodating Med Corps preparation into your academic schedule. You'll be taking Chemistry (or whatever major, doesn't necessarily have to be Chem) and overloading Bio classes to get what you need to be competitive for MCAT and med school applications. There's an ECA that helps mids prepare, but that too is on your own time. USNA does send hopefuls to Walter Reed, USNS Comfort/USNS Mercy, or some other medical related 1/C summer training to get some exposure.

Nuke draft always looms. If you get an interview, you will go to the interview. If you pass the interview, you will be a Nuke, and any other service assignment you thought you might've wanted is off the table.

If you're dead set on Medical Corps, USNA is not the best place. Look into HPSP, HSCP, FAP: https://www.navy.com/joining/benefits/education-opportunities/graduate-professional.html#specialized
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
32
Definitely Physics over Bio. If you validate Physics, you'll be set up for success Med Corps or not. If you validate Bio, it won't help your matrix. I would take E&M, simply because Mechanics is pretty straightforward. If I had seen the E&M material before in high school I definitely would've had a better time in Physics II instead of the desperate struggle it was.

USNA won't help you in terms of accommodating Med Corps preparation into your academic schedule. You'll be taking Chemistry (or whatever major, doesn't necessarily have to be Chem) and overloading Bio classes to get what you need to be competitive for MCAT and med school applications. There's an ECA that helps mids prepare, but that too is on your own time. USNA does send hopefuls to Walter Reed, USNS Comfort/USNS Mercy, or some other medical related 1/C summer training to get some exposure.

Nuke draft always looms. If you get an interview, you will go to the interview. If you pass the interview, you will be a Nuke, and any other service assignment you thought you might've wanted is off the table.

If you're dead set on Medical Corps, USNA is not the best place. Look into HPSP, HSCP, FAP: https://www.navy.com/joining/benefits/education-opportunities/graduate-professional.html#specialized
Thank you for the advice, I think I'm going to take AP Physics E & M. I'm not really dead set on being an officer in the Medical Corps, it's just the career path I am primarily interested in. If the Navy didn't want me to go into the Med Corps or thought I would do better in another field, I would go wherever they need me.
 

xyz321

Member
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
206
Good luck in your future. I think you should take the class you are interested in! While AP biology is not quantitative, I would not call it "squishy" either. Certainly the academies are not the easiest path to the med corps, but a few people do make it each year!
 

Candidate2022

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Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
21
I'm pretty sure that the academy does not have a biology major but have very excellent physics and math departments. In my opinion, if you would want to maybe get ahead if you get in, take a physics course. In the end it is your decision.
 

Candidate2022

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
21
I'm pretty sure that Med. Corps is restricted line so it will be harder to get into but definitely feasible. A friend of mine at the academy says that they accept anywhere from 6-12 midshipmen for the med corps.
 

usna1985

15-Year Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
6,541
They take about 12 per year into the Medical Corps. It is SUPER competitive. This is not to discourage you but rather to make sure you will be happy in a warfare community if med school doesn't work out. If your overwhelming desire is to be an MD, you're better off somewhere other than USNA. There are other Navy programs where the chances of becoming an MD are much higher.
 
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