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AP Physics Under the Looking Glass

By Sahil Gandhi

In the previous issue, The Chariot began investigating New Hyde Park’s experience with the AP Physics course, since last year was the first time Advanced Regents Physics was not offered. After talking to staff and students, countless new discoveries have been made.

The Chariot interviewed physics teacher Mr. Testa to gain more insight.

Q: How is the AP Physics class going now compared to previous years?

Matthew Testa: This year's physics class is close to on par with previous years, except for last year, and the remote learning situation has added challenges to an already challenging course.

Q: What are the challenges that faced you and your students last year?

MT: The additional difficulty with AP testing during COVID-19, in which some students seemed to get a much harder version of a test than their classmates, has also added to the difficulty of attracting students to take AP courses in general. They [students] think they do not need physics or AP Physics, but this is not the case, as virtually all medical and health related fields now require one year of college physics.

Artwork by Shadia Zayer

Since the course is relatively new at New Hyde Park, students and staff are constantly learning about new developments and what the course can offer.

The Chariot interviewed some of the current students of the physics class as well. This year, nine students are taking the course, compared to approximately 60 students from last year.

“I can say that the class is definitely quite difficult and requires more extra time outside of the classroom compared to other AP classes. However, in the class, almost all the students haven’t taken a regents level physics class before so we are taught first similar to a Regents class and then transition to an AP curriculum. I definitely believe that many students are struggling in the class and it would benefit many if there was an advanced class rather than the two options currently in place,” said junior Mahek Chaudry.

“AP Physics is a really interesting class. As an individual interested and passionate about physics, I’ve tried to ignore the fact that the class was challenging and just tried to work my hardest. I did bad on my quarterly because of two silly mistakes, but I ended the marking period with an average in the high 80s. Also, Mr. Testa is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to be in his class,” said junior Shafee Mahmood.

“I feel comfortable in that class. It’s not as stressful as some of my AP classes. Although it can be challenging sometimes, I do enjoy it. I like challenges so I don’t think doing an advanced Regents course would have made a difference compared to skipping straight to AP Physics. It honestly depends on the student and how much time you put in,” said junior Tyler Kei.


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