drpossible

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Apr 15, 2012
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I took Biology honors as a freshman and am taking Chemistry honors as a sophomore. I am going to be a junior next year but I have to decide on my AP classes very soon. So far, I'm taking AP US for sure.

So, my two options are: take AP Bio and AP US next year OR take AP Chem, AP US and AP Literature.
If I take Lit, I'm not going to take Bio because the combination of those three is just too much. I am not concerned about any one of those courses individually, but I'm not sure about all of them together. So, how does Chem compare to Bio in terms of work load and difficulty? Which option would you go with? I am planning on majoring in Bio in college because I want to go to medical school. Thanks.
 
May 9, 2012
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Pre-Medical
Firstly before you consider taking any AP courses you must decide if you are ready to take on a college level course. It is nothing compared to honors or advanced classes, you have to be ready for a big change in the difficulty of the coursework. You also have to be prepared to do your work, read and study because if you don't you won't succeed in the class and you will be wasting your time. I took the Chemistry, US history, and literature courses and it was a serious struggle to keep up with the classes. Chemistry is no simple subject, it is very complex and if you didn't do well in basic chem ten my advice is not to take the class. For US history be prepare for lots of reading, research and memorization because that's really all the class is. The class I think you should definaty consider taking is the English AP course because no matter what job or profession you're in you are going to be required to be competent in both reading and writing. As for biology, since you plan on majorig in it in college I would wait to take the course because even if you do well on the AP test colleges will not exempt you from classes pertaining to your major. Don't just take the obvious necessary classes though, be a well rounded student in various subjects such as art and speech. Also get involved in your local hospital and get some hands on experience because that's he best type of learning and experience you can get. I hope this is some information that can be of use to you.
 

MarlboroSmooth

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May 9, 2012
14
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Texas
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Firstly before you consider taking any AP courses you must decide if you are ready to take on a college level course. It is nothing compared to honors or advanced classes, you have to be ready for a big change in the difficulty of the coursework. You also have to be prepared to do your work, read and study because if you don't you won't succeed in the class and you will be wasting your time. I took the Chemistry, US history, and literature courses and it was a serious struggle to keep up with the classes. Chemistry is no simple subject, it is very complex and if you didn't do well in basic chem ten my advice is not to take the class. For US history be prepare for lots of reading, research and memorization because that's really all the class is. The class I think you should definaty consider taking is the English AP course because no matter what job or profession you're in you are going to be required to be competent in both reading and writing. As for biology, since you plan on majorig in it in college I would wait to take the course because even if you do well on the AP test colleges will not exempt you from classes pertaining to your major. Don't just take the obvious necessary classes though, be a well rounded student in various subjects such as art and speech. Also get involved in your local hospital and get some hands on experience because that's he best type of learning and experience you can get. I hope this is some information that can be of use to you.
Very good advice here. The difference in workload isn't going to significant between the two classes, so here's what I'd recommend.

1. Literature- Getting the college credit for this should be secondary to learning to how articulate your thoughts, and think critically about what you're reading. The focus on grammar and syntax will absolutely be beneficial beyond high school, and following this up with Advanced Composition in college would be my choice.
2. Bio- Even if you don't get college credit for this course, it's nice to have a good background in biology. At the very least, it will save you from having to worry about that course in college while you're dealing with finals.
3. History- Like Kand said, this is going to be a lot of memorization. You'll be going over timelines and briefly explaining why that event was significant. It's nice to know as much about history as you can, however, I had to write a research paper in mine, and I found that practicing my skills in research and learning how to cite sources properly saved my ass in most of my courses in college. Most high schools have at least some subscriptions to databases, and it's certainly worth it to learn how to use these effectively. The workload's not going to be anything to worry about, but the course sure is beneficial.

The bottom line- The workload between chemistry and biology isn't going to be significantly different, and I'd recommend working on your background in biology.
 
Aug 3, 2011
38
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California
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Pre-Medical
Both require good memory. From what I have heard, chemistry has more of a math component to it. I took AP bio, but I never took Chem. I'd recommend AP Bio because aside from evolution it was somewhat interesting.
 

Prncssbuttercup

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I guess my point of view is from my experience and that of my friends:
Friend took AP chem, skipped gen chem 1 in college, started off in gen chem 2; was completely lost, had a heck of a time catching up.
If you take AP bio and skip bio 1 in college, it probably isn't going to be a big deal since that is a 1 semester course anyway, not a yr long sequence... I would say skip AP chem, take AP bio...
 
May 26, 2011
922
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Massachusetts
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Most medical schools won't take AP credit. So, you'll still have to take general biology and general chemistry regardless of what AP you take. Personally, I think AP Chem may be more beneficial since you'll have a background in college chemistry to work off of (coming from an AP Chem student, though, so I'm biased). But, rather than debate which one to take, why not take one this year and the other next year to have experience in both?
 
May 9, 2012
19
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Pre-Medical
I took both: Bio in sophomore year and Chem in junior year. I definitely found AP Bio a lot easier than AP Chem because I'm better at memorization (the majority of Bio) than logic.

AP Biology is basically the memorization of a bunch of vocabulary words. I definitely found it interesting and very enjoyable, but some of my friend thought it was horribly boring. On the other hand, AP Chemistry had more analytic thinking because you had to have the right concept and then apply the correct equation. Chem was a lot more work for me, but it might have just been the difference in teaching style between my two teachers.

While I did well enough on both AP tests to place out of General Biology and Chemistry, I'm only comfortable placing out of Bio. I found the AP Chemistry test a lot harder than the AP Biology test, and although I still remember a lot about the body and cell functions, I can't remember much about chemistry at all.
 

Conflagration

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I've taken six AP classes, I'm graduating this year. I'm an AP Scholar, with potential to get the AP Scholar with Distinction ranking.

AP Human Geography gave me a hard time, I haven't the slightest why. (sophomore year)
AP Biology wasn't bad, it was a lot of committing to memory, which is easily done. (junior year)
AP United States History is brute memorization. (junior year)
AP Language and Composition was rough initially, but I do much better in English now. (junior year)
AP Chemistry was difficult, it made me really think about my career choices, but I don't regret the class and I don't regret my career choices either. (senior year)
AP Statistics is pretty easy if you pay attention. Personally, I got a D in Pre-Calculus Honors but I got an A in this class. (senior year)

APHG- 2
APB- 4
APLAC- 4
APUSH- 5
APC- (Projected 4)
APS- (Projected 5)
 
Oct 28, 2010
188
2
In Soviet Russia...MCAT take you!
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Pre-Medical
Most medical schools won't take AP credit. So, you'll still have to take general biology and general chemistry regardless of what AP you take. Personally, I think AP Chem may be more beneficial since you'll have a background in college chemistry to work off of (coming from an AP Chem student, though, so I'm biased). But, rather than debate which one to take, why not take one this year and the other next year to have experience in both?
I'm not sure I agree with that. If the OP is going to be a bio major in college, he'll be taking plenty of upper division bio courses. I can't imagine a medical school looking down on an applicant for not having taken gen bio if they've taken molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, etc. With gen chem, on the other hand, that may be more of a problem since you're not going to want to take physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, etc. to make up for testing out of gen chem. My advice would be to go with AP bio.
 
May 26, 2011
922
2
Massachusetts
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm not sure I agree with that. If the OP is going to be a bio major in college, he'll be taking plenty of upper division bio courses. I can't imagine a medical school looking down on an applicant for not having taken gen bio if they've taken molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, etc. With gen chem, on the other hand, that may be more of a problem since you're not going to want to take physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, etc. to make up for testing out of gen chem. My advice would be to go with AP bio.
True. I'm looking mostly at PA schools, and general biology is one of the requirements. I'm not the best resource since I haven't even been in college yet, so listen to the others. Also, which one are you most interested in? That's also something to consider.
 
OP
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drpossible

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Apr 15, 2012
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I do know what AP courses are like, I've taken 3 so far. I probably will end up taking both AP bio and chem, I just need to decide which one to take first. The way its looking now, I'm probably not going to take AP english and just stick with bio and us.
 

ineed2stpsmurfn

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do the ap chem. That way, when you get to college you won't get blasted by the difficulty that is chem 2 to a freshman... Chemistry is much better when you have prior experience with it, trust me. General biology is easy, the hard thing about it is putting in the time required. Plus, having the biology already is pointless.. you'll still have to study just as hard to get the exact same grade for g bio.


edit: don't take both. Just drop ap bio.. its that ap chem you really want to take.