How do I Choose the Best Physics Course?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 March 2018
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Choosing the best physics course will depend on a variety of circumstances. Students can take physics for a number of reasons. They might be college students majoring in physics or engineering. Alternately, they could be college students majoring in another area of science or trying to meet a general education science requirement. High school students may take physics too, and they may have some choices about what type of physics class to take at the high school level.

The student majoring in physics, engineering, or another science will need to check with academic counselors, advisors or professors to find out which physics course they need to take first, and which courses they’ll have to take later. In the first two years of classes in a major, students usually have to adhere to taking certain basic classes so they are ready for more advanced studies.

What these classes are called and exactly what focus they have can depend on each university’s program. It’s therefore very important that people find out the requirements they must meet in freshman and sophomore year so that can easily progress to junior and senior year studies. When arriving at the upper grades, students may indeed have more than one physics course to choose from, and they usually need additional advice to determine which ones make the most sense depending on the focus of their studies.


The student who is not a science major generally has an easier time picking a physics course. There may be introductory level courses, which give good general information and introduce the major themes and theories of the subject. Sometimes introductory course are designed for non-science majors. These can be fascinating to take and are usually not as rigorous, as those designed for science majors.

Students in high school may take physics in their senior year, though this is not always a requirement. Anyone planning a career in science should take it. Many high schools offer two levels of study; they may offer a basic physics class and an advanced placement (AP) class. The main advantage to the AP class is that provided a student passes the class and the AP test for the class, he will receive college credits. This essentially means the student enters college having already taken an introductory physics course.

There are reasons not to take the AP class. It’s much more difficult, and students are often in their senior year when they want a break. Not being able to pass the class would be problematic, as it would lower grade point average. Most students require recommendation from previous teachers and a certain grade level before admitted into the AP courses. So it may not be possible or desirable to take any but the introductory physics course at the high school level, and even this is not always required.



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