According to the dictionary, physics is “the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy”. Those who study physics study mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structures of atoms.

Physics is an ever-evolving science, since its formalization 400 years ago, we continue to make discoveries and develop new theories over the years. New information not only brings answers to previous questions, but it helps us create new questions about our environment.

One of the main goals in physics is to define the most fundamental measurable quantities in the universe. Once such measurable quantities (velocity, electric field, and kinetic energy) are defined, their patterns and correlations are studied in physics. Physicists use words, equations, graphs, charts, diagrams, and models to express the relationships and what the relationships mean about the physical world around us.

If you are interested in how the world works, you will surely find an interest in learning physics. Physics also serves as a foundation for a wide variety of other sciences including chemistry, astronomy, and biology.

Students can find physics classes through their local high school, university, or even through private tutoring lessons.

Physics students living outside of Chicago, in other major cities like Boston, the options for physics classes are very similar.

Regular and Honors Physics in Chicago

Chicago public school offers regular and honors physics courses for their high school students. Physics is a required course for high school graduation, all students must complete at least one year of physics to qualify for a high school degree.

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Hiring a private physics teacher can help cut back on the hours you spend studying physics. (Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash)

Learning physics in high school will help improve your education in the future since physics plays such an important role in the understanding of other major sciences like chemistry and biology.

Most high school physics classes cover:

  • laws and applications of motion, forces, and gravity
  • processes of work and energy and the laws of thermodynamics
  • light and sound waves function
  • electricity and magnetism
  • scientific method

Alongside these physics topics, teachers will also review algebra and other math so that students may apply it to questions in physics.

Honors physics classes cover the same curriculum as the regular classes but more in-depth and usually at a faster pace. Honors courses also weigh half a point more than a regular class when represented on the GPA scale. Honors classes also look better on a transcript when you are applying to colleges.

Very similar regular and honors structures are set up in neighboring cities like New York and Philly.

If you are currently enrolled in these classes but feel as though you need extra help, you might want to consider hiring a private physics tutor. Tutors can help students by providing reviews and additional examples. Private tutoring also provides a student with the time to ask any questions they may have. A private teacher can also help review calculus and other math needed to understand certain theories.

AP Physics

Some of Chicago’s high schools offer an additional choice for physics classes, the third option is an AP course through the College Board.

The AP Program offers AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, and AP Physics C in addition to other sciences.

AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 are algebra-based and do not need any math prerequisites above Algebra II.

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A passing exam grade in an AP class can be used as a prerequisite for a college Phys course. (Photo by moren hsu on Unsplash)

AP Physics 1 explores the concepts of fundamental physics like motion, force Newtonian mechanics, gravity, energy, and momentum. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of physics.

AP Physics 2 follows AP Physics 1. AP Physics 1 is a prerequisite to AP Physics 2. The content of the classes is more advanced physic skills including fluid dynamics, electric currents, magnetism, and quantum physics.

Students who enroll and pass this AP program will earn college credit to be used in higher education for free. 

Separate from AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 is AP Physics C which requires that students have a basic understanding of calculus. The student must have prior knowledge of calculus or at least be able to take the course concurrently.

AP Physics C is broken down into Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism. Most US high schools teach these courses in the same year.

AP Physics C - Mechanics touches similar topics as Physics 1 but the depth of the knowledge is deeper and typically more difficult. Mechanics covers kinetics, Newton’s law of motion, work, energy, power, linear momentum, circular motion and rotation, oscillations, and gravity. 

AP Physics C - Electricity and Magnetism touches on electrostatics, conductors, capacitors, dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism. All topics are already covered in AP Physics 2 but in much more detail and while using more advanced math.

Whichever class you decide to go with, if at any point you feel like you would benefit from some extra knowledge or review, there are plenty of tutors that are experienced in working with students taking these AP courses. Make sure that you let your prospective tutors know which course you are currently taking and ask if they know the curriculum and the exam.

A tutor can provide a student with supplemental education. Tutors can help answer any material not covered in the original lesson as well as provide time to answer questions the student might have. A private teacher will also make sure to go over math or calculus material needed for exams and quizzes.

Through the AP program, students will not only learn about the science of physics, but they will also learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills which they can use during college or future jobs.

Physics At A University in Chicago

For students out of high school, physics classes can be found at local universities. Universities like the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois Chicago offer students undergraduate and graduate physics degrees.

These schools are both located in the Chicago metro area.

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A degree in physics can be a prerequisite for a job in physics research. (Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash)

University Of Chicago

The University of Chicago is located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. UChicago's Department of Physics offers an undergraduate major and minor in physics. A major in the subjects emphasizes experimentation and covers all topics necessary for graduate studies in physics and other sciences. A minor at UChicago, helps students understand the basics of science and provide sufficient flexibility so that students can focus on their major fields of study.

Although UChicago does not offer a terminal master's program they do offer one for students seeking a Ph.D. in experimental and theoretical physics. If accepted into this program students are expected to participate in a certain number of hours of research as well as take part-time jobs teaching lower-level courses.

You can read through any physics class prerequisite on the Phys department profile.

University Of Illinois Chicago

This public research university offers physics programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. You can view their class offering on their website.

While the University Of Illinois Chicago maintains a strong commitment to the education of each student, the university also believes that the application of the knowledge learned in the classroom is also just as important. That is why they offer such a variety of research opportunities for their physics students. At UIC, “undergraduates conduct hands-on research, publish in scientific journals, and are mentored by faculty on the cutting edge of their fields.". Graduate students participate in teaching opportunities and general research programs.

A graduate degree in physics can open doors for those looking to work in scientific research or higher education teaching.

Some universities require a student to complete prerequisites before higher-level classes.

Other universities across the US in cities like Los Angeles and Houston offer similar programs.

Price Of Physics Lessons

The average price of physics lessons in Chicago is $25. Tutors provide students with hours of supplemental help with general or specific physics knowledge. They can help improve a class grade or overall confidence in a subject.

You can find tutors in Chicago through Superprof. On the platform, you can read through reviews from past students and view costs per lesson on each tutor's profile.

You can even sign up for a free trial class on Superprof!

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Investing in a tutor can provide a student with different ways to view questions and hopefully advance in the subject. (Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash)

Teacher costs may vary depending on the experience level of the instructor, the location of the class, and the topics needed to be covered in the lessons.

More experienced tutors such as those that have master’s degrees or multiple years of experience will likely charge more for their services. This is because they are certified to teach a larger variety of subtopics within physics.

The location of your private tutoring session will also alter the price of a lesson. Class prices may be different in Rogers Park than they are in Portage Park. Online tutoring sessions eliminate the cost of transportation for both the student and the tutor, therefore making online classes one of the most cost-effective options within private tutoring.

The level of physics that the student is taking will also determine the price of a lesson. This is because there are different topics covered in the curriculums for regular, honors, And AP classes. Students in AP classes need an instructor that has experience working in the College Board format.

You can find similarly priced physics lessons across the US.

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