AP Physics C Course Outline

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The following course basically forms the first part of the college sequence and serves as the foundation in physics for students majoring in the physical sciences or engineering. The given sequence is parallel to or headed by mathematics courses that contain calculus. The Methods of calculus are used wherever required in laying down the physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. The sequence is very intensive and analytic than that in the B course. More focus is placed on solving a wide variety of challenging and competing problems, some of them requires calculus. The core and subject matter of the C course is principally mechanics, electricity and magnetism with approximately equal focus on these 2 areas. The C course comprises the first part of the sequence, sometimes which in college is a very intensive one-year course but with a laboratory content often extends over one and one-half to two years.

In the Physics C course, it requires around ½ year of dedication to mechanics. Use of calculus in the solving of problems and in derivations is expected to increase as the course progresses. In the second half year of the C course, the primary focus is on classical electricity and magnetism. Calculus is allowed to be used freely in formulating principles and in problem solving.

Many colleges and universities have now included additional topics in C course such as wave motion, thermal physics, optics, alternating current circuits or special relativity, Although wave motion, optics, and thermal physics are the most commonly included, there is a little similarity among such offerings and the following topics are not included in the Physics C examination. Development Committee recommends that supplementary material be clubbed to a Physics C course whenever possible. Many teachers have found to do this late in the year is a good time, after the AP Exams have been given.

Please make a note: Various topics are covered in Physics C than in Physics B, they are covered with greater intensity and with analytical and mathematical sophistication also covering calculus applications.

Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

The course will focus on the topics quoted below:

  • Electrostatics (30%)
  • Conductors, capacitors, dielectrics (14%)
  • Electric circuits (20%)
  • Magnetic Fields (20%)
  • Electromagnetism (16%)

Physics C: Mechanics

The course will focus on the following topics:

  • Kinematics i.e.. Vectors, vector algebra, components of vectors, coordinate systems, displacement, velocity, and acceleration (18%)
  • Newton's laws of motion (20%)
  • Work, energy, power (14%)
  • Systems of particles, linear momentum (12%)
  • Circular motion and rotation (18%)
  • Oscillations and gravitation (18%)

AP physics questions: Step-by-step solutions to real exam problems.