AP Physics C: Mechanics

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AP Physics C: Mechanics is an Advanced Placement science course that studies Newtonian mechanics. It one of the AP Physics courses offered in some U.S. secondary schools.

Course content[edit]

It is supposed to be equivalent to an introductory college course in mechanics for physics or engineering majors.[1] The course modules are:[1]

  • Kinematics
  • Newton’s laws of motion
  • Work, energy and power
  • Systems of particles and linear momentum
  • Circular motion and rotation
  • Oscillations and gravitation.

Methods of calculus are used wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. Therefore, students should have completed or be concurrently enrolled in a calculus class.[1]

This course may be combined with AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism to make a unified Physics C course that prepares for both exams. In this scenario, Mechanics is taught first because Electricity and Magnetism requires much of the knowledge gained in the Mechanics course.

AP test[edit]

The course culminates in an optional exam for which high-performing students may receive some credit towards their college coursework, depending on which college or university they attend.[2]

Registration[edit]

The AP examination for AP Physics C: Mechanics is separate from the AP examination for AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. Before 2006, test-takers paid only once and were given the choice of taking either one or two parts of the Physics C test.

Format[edit]

The exam is configured in two categories: a 35-question multiple choice section and a 3-question free response section.[1] Test takers are allowed to use an approved calculator during the entire exam.[3] The test is weighted such that each section is worth fifty percent (50%) of the final score.[1] Additionally, tables of equations, information, and constants are provided for all portions of the exam as of 2015. This is one of the shortest AP exams, with total testing time of 90 minutes.[1]

The topics covered by the exam are as follows:[4]

Topic Percent
Kinematics 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%

Grade distribution[edit]

The grade distribution for 2010–2016 was:

Score 2010 2011 2012[5] 2013[6] 2014[7] 2015[8] 2016[9] 2017[10]
5 26.9% 26.5% 31.3% 28.5% 30.8% 27.5% 30.2% 34.7%
4 25.2% 24.3% 26.5% 26.0% 26.1% 28.6% 27.4% 27.8%
3 20.7% 22.2% 18.9% 20.2% 19.0% 20.7% 18.5% 16.1%
2 14.7% 14.2% 12.9% 14.2% 13.3% 12.3% 13.9% 13%
1 12.5% 12.8% 10.4% 11.2% 10.8% 10.9% 10% 8.4%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f AP® PHYSICS C: MECHANICS (PDF), College Board, December 2016, retrieved January 30, 2017 
  2. ^ "Credit & Placement". AP Students. The College Board. 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  3. ^ "AP Physics C: Mechanics – Calculator and Table Policies". AP Students. College Board. 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Topic Outline". College Board Tests. The College Board. 2013. Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ Packer, Trevor. "2012 AP Exam Score Distributions". Total Registration. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  6. ^ AP Physics C – Mechanics, Student Score Distributions – Global Distributions – May 2013 (PDF), The College Board, 2013, retrieved January 30, 2017 
  7. ^ Packer, Trevor. "2014 AP Exam Score Distributions". Total Registration. 
  8. ^ Packer, Trevor. "2015 AP Exam Score Distributions". Total Registration. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Total Registration. "2016 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  10. ^ Total Registration. "2017 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 

External links[edit]