# Your Guide to the AP Physics C Course and Exam

16/03/202413 minute read

Are you thinking about taking Advanced Placement (AP) Physics C? In this blog post, we'll explore what AP Physics C entails, the skills you'll develop, and how you can ace the upcoming exams.

AP Physics C is about the fundamental principles of the universe. The course is divided into two sections: “Mechanics” and “Electricity and Magnetism.”

The AP Physics C Exams are administered every May after completing the AP Physics C at your high school. Two different exams are offered:

1. AP Physics C: Mechanics
2. AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

You can take one or both of these exams. If you score high enough, you could earn college credit!

In this AP Physics C Guide you'll find:

• Subject Overview
• Exam Overview
• Exam Scoring
• Exam Prep Tips

## AP Physics C Subject Overview

AP Physics C is divided into two sections: “Mechanics” and “Electricity and Magnetism.”

AP Physics C: Mechanics is your introduction to kinematics, Newton’s laws, systems of particles and linear momentum, rotation, oscillations, and gravitation.

In AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, you’ll learn about electrostatics, conductors, capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism.

Throughout the course, you’ll see these concepts in action with hands-on lab work, and you’ll solve problems using calculus.

### Skills you’ll learn in AP Physics C

• Understanding and explaining pictures and diagrams of physical situations.
• Coming up with a hypothesis and designing an experiment to test it
• Creating graphs and diagrams to show data.
• Studying information displayed on a graph.
• Solving physics problems with math.
• Developing and supporting a scientific claim with evidence.

The content of the AP Physics C course is outlined below:

##### AP Physics C: Mechanics Course Content
UnitTopics CoveredOn The Exam
Unit 1: Kinematics- Kinematics in one dimension and in two dimensions14% - 20% of exam score
Unit 2: Newton's Laws of Motion- Newton’s first, second, and third laws or motion - Circular motion17% - 23% of exam score
Unit 3: Work, Energy, and Power- Work–energy theorem - Forces and potential energy - Conservation of energy - Power14% - 17% of exam score
Unit 4: Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum- Center of mass - Impulse and momentum - Conservation of linear momentum, collisions14% - 17% of exam score
Unit 5: Rotation- Torque and rotational statics - Rotational kinematics - Rotational dynamics and energy - Angular momentum and its conservation14% - 20% of exam score
Unit 6: Oscillations- Simple harmonic motion, springs, and pendulums6% - 14% of exam score
Unit 7: Gravitation- Gravitational forces - Orbits of planets and satellites6% - 14% of exam score
##### AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Course Content
UnitTopics CoveredOn The Exam
Unit 1: Electrostatics- Coulomb’s Law - Electric field and electric potential - Electric potential due to point charges and uniform fields - Gauss’s Law - Fields and potentials of other charge distributions26% - 34% of exam score
Unit 2: Conductors, Capacitors, Dielectrics- Electrostatics with conductors - Capacitors - Dielectrics14% - 17% of exam score
Unit 3: Electric Circuits- Current, resistance, and power - Steady-state direct-current circuits with batteries and resistors only - Gauss’s Law17% - 23% of exam score
Unit 4: Magnetic Fields- Forces on moving charges in magnetic fields - Forces on current carrying wires in magnetic fields - Fields of long current carrying wires - The Biot-Savart Law and Ampère’s Law17% - 23% of exam score
Unit 5: Electromagnetism- Electromagnetic induction (including Faraday’s Law and Lenz’s Law) - Inductance (including LR circuits) - Maxwell’s equations14% - 20% of exam score

Before taking AP Physics C, it’s expected that you’ve already taken calculus or are taking calculus at the same time as the course.

The course is equivalent to a semester-long, introductory calculus-based physics course in college. Be sure to save your lab notebooks and reports! Colleges may ask to see them before giving you credit.

What if you want to take AP Physics C, but your school doesn’t offer it? No problem. You can learn everything you need to ace your AP Physics C exam with Crimson's online AP Physics C course.

#### Prerequisites and Equivalencies

Before taking AP Physics C, it’s expected that you’ve already taken calculus or are taking calculus at the same time as the course.

The course is equivalent to a semester-long, introductory calculus-based physics course in college. Be sure to save your lab notebooks and reports! Colleges may ask to see them before giving you credit.

What if you want to take AP Physics C, but your school doesn’t offer it? No problem. You can learn everything you need to ace your AP Physics C exam with Crimson's online AP Physics C course.

## AP Physics C Exam Overview

The College Board tells you exactly what you’ll need to know for the AP Physics C exam.

For detailed information on this course and exam, including a breakdown of each unit and sample exam questions, download the College Board’s free AP Physics C Course and Exam Description.

### AP Physics C Exam Sections

Two exams are offered for AP Physics C. You can take one or both of these exams.

The AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam takes place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at 12 p.m. local time. It lasts 90 minutes total and consists of two sections.

The AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exam takes place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at 2 p.m. local time. Like the Mechanics exam, it lasts 90 minutes total and consists of two sections.

The structure of both exams is this:

#### Section I: Multiple Choice

• 35 questions, 45 minutes.
• Includes individual questions as well as sets of questions that refer to the same diagram or data.

#### Section II: Free Response

• 3 questions, 45 minutes
• Credit for free-response answers depends on the quality of the solutions and responses shown, so be sure to show your work!
• Some free-response questions will ask you to justify your answer with a claim, evidence, or reasoning. You can do so in the form of writing, equations, calculations, diagrams, or graphs.
• One of the three questions in this section will include an experimental or lab-based component.

## AP Physics C Exam Scoring

Both AP Physics C Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible. The scoring breakdown is as follows:

• Multiple Choice: 50% of the total exam score
• Free Response: 50% of the total exam score

Once all raw scores are calculated, they are converted into scores on a scale of 1 to 5. Converting the scores takes the difficulty of each exam into account and allows for fair comparison of scores across different years.

The average AP Physics C Exam score varies from year to year. In 2023, the average score on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam was ​ 3.4. The average score on the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism exam was 3.49.

In addition to looking at the average scores, it’s helpful to consider the overall score distributions. On the Mechanics exam, 73.5% of students scored a 3 or higher:

• 26.4% of students scored a 5
• 26.3% of students scored a 4
• 20.7% of students scored a 3
• 14% of students scored a 2
• 12.5% of students scored a 1

On the Electricity and Magnetism exam, 70.2% of students scored a 3 or higher:

• 33.6% of students scored a 5
• 23.5% of students scored a 4
• 13.1% of students scored a 3
• 17.9% of students scored a 2
• 11.9% of students scored a 1

Trying to decide whether you should submit your AP Physics C exam score along with your college application? Check out this article.

## How to Prepare for the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam

The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam covers a huge range of information. To maximize your score, start preparing sooner rather than later! Here are some expert tips to help you prepare effectively:

1. Download the AP Physics C: Mechanics Course and Exam Description from the College Board.
2. Download the AP Physics C Tables and Equations List, which you can use on either exam.
3. Download College Board’s AP Guide Quantitative Skills in the AP Sciences, which helps you develop skills like gathering data and using evidence to support claims.
4. Familiarize yourself with the AP Exams Calculator Policy.
5. Thoroughly review each unit covered in the course. Make sure you have a solid understanding of key concepts
6. Practice answering multiple-choice questions to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam.
7. Consider taking advantage of Crimson's online AP tutoring services to get personalized support from experienced tutors.

## How to Prepare for the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exam

College Board The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam covers a huge range of information. To maximize your score, start preparing sooner rather than later! Here are some expert tips to help you prepare effectively:

1. Download the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Course and Exam Description from the College Board.
2. Download the AP Physics C Tables and Equations List, which you can use on either exam.
3. Download College Board’s AP Guide Quantitative Skills in the AP Sciences, which helps you develop skills like gathering data and using evidence to support claims.
4. Familiarize yourself with the AP Exams Calculator Policy.
5. Read exam questions and scoring information from past exams here.
6. Thoroughly review each unit covered in the course. Make sure you have a solid understanding of key concepts
7. Practice answering multiple-choice questions to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam.
8. Consider taking advantage of Crimson's online AP tutoring services to get personalized support from experienced tutors.

## Conclusion

Now you know what to expect from AP Physics C. This course will give you crucial physics skills like interpreting visual representations of physical situations and solving complex physics problems. It will also help you understand the underlying principles of mechanics, electricity, and magnetism.

To succeed in this course and on the exam, take advantage of the resources available to you. This includes practice questions, review guides, and tutoring services.

With dedication and preparation, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism exams with confidence. Best of luck on your physics journey!