Do physics students in pre‐service training to be high‐school teachers hold correct scientific views which will eventually allow them to plan and implement instructional strategies which, in turn, will lead their future students to achieve a scientific concept of energy? The results of a cross‐age study of college students dealing with this issue are discussed. The energy conceptions of the physics students were analysed by means of a two‐part written questionnaire which was presented to them in their first day of class. The most important findings of this study can be summarised as follows. Physics students in pre‐service training for high school teachers: (1) are considerably anthropocentric in their associations, their choice of pictures and their alternative conceptions; (2) hold a number of different alternative conceptions when describing physical situations, instead of the accepted scientific concept; (3) mostly think that energy is a concrete entity and not an abstract idea; (4) mostly do not accept the idea of energy degradation; and (5) mostly confuse the concepts of energy and force.
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