Not too easy. Not too difficult.
If I could rate this course 10 stars out of 5, I would. This course is an excellent introduction to physics as a whole, and Mr. Patterson is an excellent teacher. I walked in the first day not knowing any physics at all, and this class changed my method of thinking and my attitude about physics. I had always wanted to be an engineer, and AP Physics 1 was the best primer I could have asked for. This class was no cake walk, and I appreciated Mr. Patterson's ability to shed light on tough concepts as well as maintain the application-based learning style that characterizes the world of physics. I would recommend this class wholeheartedly to anyone seeking a profession in physics, and I would strongly recommend taking at least AP Physics 1 if not AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C before walking out of high school. No matter what field one enters, physics is everywhere, and the spatial and conceptual thinking that physics fosters is a boon to everyone everywhere.
The concepts behind this course are paramount to success. For the past few years, the AP style of physics has changed from number-crunching to exploration of the conceptual background of physics itself. For example, the concept of conservation of energy is extremely important, and is one of the main focuses of the course. It isn't so much important that one calculates correctly, although it still retains its importance, as it is that one understands why the numbers were created and where each number comes from. The calculations are generally algebraic math, so the physical crunching is a cinch. What matters more is that one understands the setup so that the right answer can be determined. That is what I learned in this course. AP Physics 1 taught me, most importantly, the method by which one creates equations, derives equations from others, and understands why the equations work the way they do. Some units, such as simple harmonic motion and electrics, were very interesting to me, but the heart of these units always gravitated back to the spatial understanding of physics itself, and that was the most important highlight of the course.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
If I could sum up the entire course into two pieces of advice, I would say, "Always do your homework and never be afraid to ask questions." Physics is essentially spatial mathematics, and mathematics is centered around practice, practice, and more practice. Always do the practice problems, and if something does not click as easily, do more problems. Physics, and by extension mathematics, is like a musical instrument; one must practice in order to improve. I experienced the entire spectrum of involvement through my peers: those who participated, and those who did not. Those who were active and participatory always performed better, no matter their talent or capability. This leads into my next point: Do not be afraid to participate and ask questions. Asking questions is the best way to learn, and physics is something that must constantly be learned. As one traverses the class, it is of vital importance that each concept is grasped, because, just like math, physics is a cumulative subject, and each succeeding facet builds on itself. If one rung of the ladder is missing, climbing past it becomes very difficult. If a question can create that rung, do not hesitate to ask the question. I asked questions all the time, and I am all the better for it.