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redquilthorse

Question about AP Physics C with PA Homeschoolers

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If you're student has taken AP Physics C Mechanics with Jack Kernion through PA Homeschoolers, what was your experience? This class is really tough for my kid. He is working hard just to get a B. I'm not too worried about the grade, but we are a little concerned about how he will perform on the AP test. Has anyone made a B in this class but still done well on the AP test? If so, did it take a lot of extra studying at the end? Is the class harder than the actual exam? We've thought about hiring a tutor, but the class already takes up a lot of his time. Has anyone done this?

Edited by redquilthorse

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My son took AP Physics C Mechanics at the local public school.  He got a B in the class but a 4 on the exam.  He was amazed that he did so well on the exam since he didn't feel like he knew the physics very well.

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My dd took had Mr. Kernion for AP Physics C : E&M her junior year.  She took it second semester after Mechanics with Mr. Lanctot.  Prior to that she had always studied math using AoPS, so she has strong math skills.  She switched from Lanctot to Kernion and preferred Mr. K.  She got an A+ first semester and an A second, and scored a 5 on both AP physics C exams.  

She took it at the same time as AP calculus BC, APUSH, and AP English, all at PAH.  I don't remember her complaining about it, except about Lanctot, and she was glad she switched at the semester.  (I don't recall her exact complaint about Mr. L.)  HTH.  

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20 hours ago, redquilthorse said:

If you're student has taken AP Physics C Mechanics with Jack Kernion through PA Homeschoolers, what was your experience? This class is really tough for my kid. He is working hard just to get a B. I'm not too worried about the grade, but we are a little concerned about how he will perform on the AP test. Has anyone made a B in this class but still done well on the AP test? If so, did it take a lot of extra studying at the end? Is the class harder than the actual exam? We've thought about hiring a tutor, but the class already takes up a lot of his time. Has anyone done this?

Is there a particular concept that your son is having difficulty with?  Many of the kids I tutor in physics c have a particular concept that they struggle with, and once that concept is mastered, the course is much easier for them.  For example, some of the kids I work with have a really difficult time drawing the free body diagrams.  For other kids, they can easily draw the free body diagrams, but struggle with writing and solving the simultaneous equations.  

 You might want to get a test prep book.  Some of these books may summarize the concepts in a way that is easier to understand when compared to reading the textbook.  A few that I think are good are "5 Steps to a 5", "The AP Physics C Companion, and "APadvantage Physics C"

Good luck.  

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This is a good idea! I hadn’t thought to buy a test prep book this early in the year. 🤦‍♀️ I bet that would help!

i don’t think there is one particular concept, but I’ll talk to him again. We went over his last test together, and he made mistakes like only completing half of the problem (Question asked for total force exerted on a driver of a car and he only calculated horizontal force but forgot vertical), forgetting a negative sign, and using the wrong formula. I’ve asked him to  start doing more practice problems from the book. Hoping that will help. But he already seems to spend a lot of time on the class, so I’m hesitant to add too much more and have his other classes suffer as a result. 

Edited by redquilthorse

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1 hour ago, redquilthorse said:

This is a good idea! I hadn’t thought to buy a test prep book this early in the year. 🤦‍♀️ I bet that would help!

i don’t think there is one particular concept, but I’ll talk to him again. We went over his last test together, and he made mistakes like only completing half of the problem (Question asked for total force exerted on a driver of a car and he only calculated horizontal force but forgot vertical), forgetting a negative sign, and using the wrong formula. I’ve asked him to  start doing more practice problems from the book. Hoping that will help. But he already seems to spend a lot of time on the class, so I’m hesitant to add too much more and have his other classes suffer as a result. 

The bolded could be mistakes, but they could also be due to not understanding the concept.  For example, forgetting a negative sign could be a careless mistake, but it could also be the result of not correctly establishing which direction is negative when setting up the problem.

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I can’t speak to the particular class, but AP Physics C is a hard exam.  I took it longer ago than I care to remember, but the class was a killer due to an awful teacher and a worthless textbook.  I made my dad explain the material every night so I could do my homework.  The thing about physics and engineering school is that you have to do your homework and you have to read the problem.  There was a pretty clear correspondence between grade and time spent on homework daily, not just before the test.  Have him organize his thoughts before he starts and write down what he knows and what he is solving for before he starts working, along with a diagram.  An organized process should help some of the stuff you describe.

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I agree with @Mom2mthj.  Part of his problem check list is that before he writes down the answer to any question, he needs to re-read the question so that he can answer the question that was asked, not what he thinks was asked.  This is a common issue, and one which can be rectified with practice.  Always re-read the question before writing down the answer.  

So many times in AoPS we'll get thick in the weeds of the calculating a solution, and then once in a while I'll pop my head up and ask out loud, "Now what are they looking for?"  

I'll see if I can find info re: avoiding missed negative signs, etc.  

If he's using the wrong physics formula, I'm wondering if he has a deep understanding of what he is studying?

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5 minutes ago, daijobu said:

I agree with @Mom2mthj.  Part of his problem check list is that before he writes down the answer to any question, he needs to re-read the question so that he can answer the question that was asked, not what he thinks was asked.  This is a common issue, and one which can be rectified with practice.  Always re-read the question before writing down the answer.  

So many times in AoPS we'll get thick in the weeds of the calculating a solution, and then once in a while I'll pop my head up and ask out loud, "Now what are they looking for?"  

I'll see if I can find info re: avoiding missed negative signs, etc.  

If he's using the wrong physics formula, I'm wondering if he has a deep understanding of what he is studying?

This is good advice about re-reading the question. I will have him focus on doing this more. It's hard for me to help him because I have NO IDEA what any of it is. I was liberal arts.

One encouraging thing was today he found out that his grade is right around the average for the class. So it's not too bad. And he has decided he is going to do his best and not stress about needing an A in the class. I think he has a good attitude about it. He wants to learn it, and will work at it, but if he doesn't make an A then it won't ruin him. 

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Here is the AoPS advice on how to avoid mistakes:  https://artofproblemsolving.com/news/articles/stop-making-stupid-mistakes

To that I will add:  

  • Line up your equal signs.  Write neatly, with 1 expression on each line (maybe 2 if they are short), and line up the equal signs on the left.
  • If you are combining like terms (not sure how often this happens in physics), underline the terms as you combine them.  Many ppl line through them and there's nothing wrong with that, but it makes it harder to re-read and check your work.  If you underline as you replace them, then that's a quick check that you haven't missed any terms or counted the same term twice.
  • Write neatly and slowly.  Take a little extra time to make your solution look beautiful.  Someone will actually read your FRQ, so at the least you want to give them a reason to give you partial credit.  

I think if your student is having difficulty knowing when to use a particular equation, then he probably needs a tutor or just additional study.  You can help by becoming a college board approved teacher so you can have access to additional old exams for practice.  

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