2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Can I take the AP Physics exam outside of my school to satisfy the requirements for Engineering at a University?

I want to major in Biomedical Engineering, but since many colleges require physics, I am in a predicament. Will universities be fine with me just taking the ap physics exam, or would they prefer that I take the actual ap physics course at my high school? If my high school does not have space for me to take ap physics, does anyone know where else I can take the course online?

🎉 First post
Let’s welcome @Assassian1441 to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.

Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

4 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

When universities have a physics requirement, the expectation is that you are taking a physics class for the specified amount of time—whether that is an AP class, a regular class at your highschool or a dual enrollment class at a local college or university. Some colleges may accept a high AP score (a 4 or a 5) for credit or for placement into a higher level of physics, but the class-time and course work is what they are looking for!

If your highschool doesn't offer AP Physics (or any other physics course that would fulfill that pre-requisite), check out dual enrollment opportunities. Your local community college or university will probably offer something that works. You may also be able to take AP Physics online. Talk to your guidance counselor to find out what your highschool or state offers. (For example, in Florida, you can take tons of online AP courses for free through FLVS).

2 years ago[edited]

Short Answer: No. That's a no go.

Detailed Answer: Taking a 2 hour AP exam is not the same thing as sitting in class for a year, doing the labs, homework, reading and projects. Therefore, taking AP physics as an exam only doesn't replace the Physics requirement for the few competitive colleges you are thinking of applying to. So if you apply to MIT, Caltech and their HS course work requires you to take 1 year of physics, that means you take the class, not the exam. The exam is not a surrogate replacement for taking the actual class.

I copied this from MIT:

Our General Institute Requirements demand that all students must take (or place out of, through an Advanced Standing Examination) the following:

Two semesters of calculus

Two semesters of calculus-based physics

One semester of chemistry

One semester of biology

It says 2 semesters of calculus based physics, nothing about taking an AP physics exam.

At Caltech:

Science Preparedness

Applicants should be aware that the Caltech Core Curriculum includes coursework in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Therefore, in order to be academically prepared for this curricular rigor, applicants should be able to demonstrate to the Undergraduate Admissions Committee a proficient readiness to study these subjects throughout their undergraduate career.

Again, this implies that you take the physical class, there is no mention of replacing any core requirement with an AP exam.

If you can't take AP Physics at your high school, then you should look into taking it at your local community college either in person or online. Or look for an accredited online HS to take it online. There are some like the UC Scout program. You can take AP Physics 1, 2 and C online here. And they are reasonably priced versus other programs.


Good luck.

2 years ago

For fulfilling a physics requirement, any physics class should be fine; you don't necessarily have to take the AP Physics class. For getting college credit however, you will have to give the AP Physics exam.

2 years ago

The university wants you to take the ap physics course and pass it not the ap physics exam. Physics honors class will work too if your school offers that. But as for online courses, you would have to ask someone at the engineering college for the university.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works