Science Credit Options for Upperclassmen


Emily Breach

Feeling the Pressure: Junior Walker Smith takes junior Liam Kornacki blood pressure during a lab in AP Biology.

Emily Breach, Dispatch Reporter

Course selection season is rapidly approaching, so it’s a good time to start considering what you hope to get from your schedule next year and what interests you hope to pursue.

A common question sophomores and juniors ask themselves when it is time to fill out their course selection sheet for the upcoming school year is: What science course to enroll in? After you’ve filled up your two credit requirements with a biology and chemistry credit, it can be difficult to choose which course will be best for you going forward from the eleven options available.

In this review, I plan on going over some popular options, as well as some lesser known but equally amazing course offerings. Below, I discuss five weighted science credit options. In my review, I include some of my personal favorite courses, as well as those my classmates have recommended.

AP Biology is one of my favorite courses I’ve taken here at Bowie. It’s the course that sparked my interest in science and inspired my decision to study science in college. In AP Bio, If you do your homework and work hard, a good grade is almost guaranteed. Mrs. Davis is awesome; she’s truly passionate about the material she is teaching and she takes the time to get to know each and every one of her students. This course is unique because it’s structured in a way were you take lecture notes for homework and do labs and case studies in class. I enjoyed this learning style since it provided me with a better understanding of the material through collaborative and hands-on-learning. By the end of the course, I felt prepared for the AP exam.

If you’re interested in satisfying a STEM endorsement, a physics credit is a necessity. Additionally, if you plan on attending a four-year college, it’s likely that your university will want you to take physics in high school. Although you can take physics either junior or senior year, I recommend taking it junior year. AP Physics 1, taught by Mr. Meitz requires a fair amount of studying before a test, but the homework load otherwise isn’t bad. The homework consists of finishing up labs that you don’t complete in class and doing 10-20 practice problems in order to prepare for the test. However, you must be motivated in order to be successful in this course, which is why I would recommend taking it junior year because it seems a general trend that student’s motivation declines after college applications senior year. Overall, this course is great for people who like math and want to gain a better understanding of the way things work in the world around them.

Which of these courses have you taken?

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If you’re interested in pursuing a career in science, I’d highly recommend applying for  Scientific Research and Design. This course allows you to conduct college-level research alongside a professor at UT. During the first semester of the course, you spend time learning about the background of your research project, and during the spring, you spend every day in the lab running experiments. Although the first semester of material is heavily biology based and at times challenging, Ms. Beatty does an excellent job at making the information accessible to any audience, even if you haven’t taken AP Biology. You can also take this course for two years, so if you’re ever confused there’s always a second-year student who can help out. In SR&D, you will gain valuable research experience that many students don’t acquire till their first year of college.

Another option is Anatomy and Physiology. Although I haven’t taken this course myself, my friends have given it great reviews. If you aren’t a big fan of notetaking and long lectures, Anatomy is the class for you. Although you take notes in class, a good portion of class time is dedicated to lab work and activities. The homework load overall is pretty light and most of the test prep involves memorizing the names of different anatomical structures. This course is a great option if you hope to pursue a career in the medical field. Additionally, this course can enrich your understanding of other courses such as AP Biology, since you spend each unit of the course studying different body systems.

My final course recommendation is Medical Microbiology. Although I haven’t taken Med Micro, after completing the course my friend expressed her sadness at the fact that she couldn’t take the course again next year because of how much she enjoyed it. Med Micro is a course that explores the study of bacteria and diseases. It includes college-level laboratory experience involving the growing of bacteria, bacteria identification, and experiment design. If you’re willing to work hard in class to complete work, homework is minimal and is usually just finishing up a lab report. Similar to Anatomy and Physiology, if you’re planning on going into the medical field this is a great course to take.

These are just a few of the many excellent science course offerings available at Bowie. If you’re still unsure of what course you want to take, I recommend talking to your current science teacher or your counselor.