- AP Physics C Mechanics is one of the most challenging AP classes due to its rigorous curriculum.
- The course covers fundamental topics such as kinematics, dynamics, and energy, with focus on calculus.
- The average pass rate for AP Physics C Mechanics exams is approximately 74%
- The AP Physics C Mechanics Exam includes both multiple-choice and free-response questions.
- AP Physics C Mechanics has a difficulty rating of 7.4 out of 10 based on a reddit survey by class alumnae.
Is AP Physics C: Mechanics hard?
AP Physics C: Mechanics is considered one of the hardest AP courses by students due to it’s curriculum.
Based on a reddit survey, former students rated the course a 7.4 out of 10 in terms of overall difficulty, placing it as the third most difficult AP course. The top two most difficult courses were AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism, and AP English Literature.
AP Physics C – Mechanics is a relatively small class, with 48,803 entries in 2021 and 46,301 entries in 2022. However, a vast majority of students (97%) who took the class would recommend it to others.
It’s a rigorous course that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s also extremely rewarding for those who are up to the challenge.
What determines the difficulty of AP Physics C: Mechanics?
To assess the level of difficulty of AP Physics C: Mechanics, there are several important factors to consider:
1. Course content
The course covers advanced physics concepts mentioned below with their weightage in the exam.
|Units Covered||Percentage goal for the exam (MCQ)|
|Unit 1: Kinematics||14-20%|
|Unit 2: Newton’s Law of Motion||17-23%|
|Unit 3: Work, Energy, and Power||14-17%|
|Unit 4: Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum||14-17%|
|Unit 5: Rotations||14-20%|
|Unit 6: Oscillations||6-14%|
|Unit 7: Gravitation||6-14%|
Source: College Board
These concepts are more complex than those covered in lower-level physics courses and require a deeper understanding of mathematical and physical principles.
2. Proficiency in Subject Matter
An individual’s aptitude in the subject matter is another factor that contributes to the difficulty of the course. As a calculus-based science course, students who possess a solid math foundation, excel in higher-level math and calculus, and have previous experience in physics may find the course less daunting compared to those who struggle with math and science.
3. Critical Thinking Skills
AP Physics C: Mechanics requires students to develop strong critical thinking skills. Students must analyze and interpret data, apply physics principles to solve problems, and evaluate the validity of their solutions.
They must also be able to think creatively and critically to devise new solutions to complex problems.
AP Physics C: Mechanics exam format
The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam consists of two sections: a multiple-choice section and a free-response section.
|Section||No. of questions||Time allocated to each section||Exam weightage|
|Multiple-choice questions||35||45 mins||50%|
|Free-response questions||3||45 mins||50%|
The multiple-choice section consists of 35 questions and lasts for 45 minutes. The questions assess students’ conceptual understanding of mechanics and their ability to apply physics principles to solve problems.
The free-response section consists of three questions and also lasts for 45 minutes. The questions typically require students to solve complex physics problems using calculus-based methods. The questions may involve a combination of multiple concepts, and students are required to show their work and provide reasoning for their answers.
Overall, the exam assesses students’ proficiency in mechanics, including kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, rotational motion, oscillations, and gravitation.
How does AP Physics C: Mechanics compare to other AP Physics courses?
Here’s a comparison of AP Physics C: Mechanics to other AP science courses:
|Course||Topics Covered||Difficulty Rate||Difficulty Ranking||Mathematical Rigor|
|AP Physics C Mechanics||Kinematics, Newton’s Law of Motion, Work, Energy and Power, Linear momentum, Rotations, Oscillations, and Gravitation||7.4||3||High|
|AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism||Electrostatics, Conductors, Capacitors, Dielectrics, Electric Circuits, Magnetic Field, Electromagnetism||8.1||1||Very High|
|AP Physics 1||Kinematics, Dynamics, Circular Motion and Gravitation, Energy, Momentum, Simple Harmonic Motion, Torque, and Rotational Motion||7.2||5||Medium|
|AP Physics 2||Fluids: Pressure and Forces, Thermodynamics, Electric Force, Field, and Potential, Electric Circuits, Magnetism and Electromagnetic Induction, Geometric and Physical Optics, Quantum, Atomic and Nuclear Physics||6.5||6||Medium|
Is AP Physics C: Mechanics hard to pass?
The passing score for the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam is 3 out of 5. Achieving a passing score indicates that a student has demonstrated a level of understanding and proficiency in college-level physics concepts in mechanics.
As per the College Board data for 2021 and 2022, approximately 73.4% and 73.5% of students who took the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam achieved a score of 3 or higher, indicating a passing score.
The mean score of the subject was 3.41. and 3.38, respectively for those years. However, it’s essential to note that the pass rate can fluctuate each year, and the exam’s level of difficulty may impact the percentage of students who pass.
Importance of passing score:
- It can earn a student college credit, which can save time and money in college. Many colleges and universities offer credit or advanced placement for high AP exam scores, including in physics.
- The passing score can also provide an advantage in college admissions. It demonstrates a student’s ability to perform at a high level in college-level coursework and can make them a more competitive candidate for admission to selective colleges and universities.
Tips and strategies for succeeding in AP Physics C: Mechanics
Here are some tips and strategies that can help students succeed in AP Physics C: Mechanics:
- Think like a physicist: Physics is all about problem-solving, so when approaching a problem, think like a physicist. Break down the problem into its fundamental principles, identify the key concepts, and apply them systematically to reach the solution.
- Master the basics: Physics is built on a foundation of core concepts and equations. It’s essential to master the basics before moving on to more complex problems. So, make sure to review and practice the fundamentals regularly.
- Visualize the problem: Physics problems often involve complex visualizations. Train your mind to visualize the problem accurately, and use diagrams, graphs, and other visual aids to help you understand the concepts.
- Use calculus as your ally: AP Physics C: Mechanics is a calculus-based course, and calculus is a powerful tool to solve complex problems. So, make sure to brush up on your calculus skills, and use calculus to your advantage to solve problems efficiently.
- Practice, practice, practice: The more practice problems you solve, the more confident you’ll be on exam day. So, practice as many problems as you can, and try to solve them in a timed setting to simulate exam conditions. Also, seek feedback from your teacher or tutor to identify areas of improvement.
- Enroll in private tuition classes: One effective strategy for succeeding in AP Physics C: Mechanics is to enroll in private tuition classes. Wiingy’s 100+ AP Physics tutors will help you build a strong foundation in AP Physics C: Mechanics and help you practice for the exam. Book a free session today to get matched with your perfect tutor.
In addition to covering course material, Wiingy’s experienced tutors provide personalized assistance to students with their homework, exam preparation, and assignments. This personalized attention can help students identify and address their weaknesses, improving their overall performance in the course.
Moreover, Wiingy’s private tuition classes offer students flexibility in scheduling, allowing them to study at their own pace and convenience. This can be particularly beneficial for students who are juggling multiple courses or extracurricular activities.
Furthermore, Wiingy’s online platform provides students with access to a range of study materials, including practice problems, video lessons, and interactive quizzes. This comprehensive study package can help students build a strong foundation in mechanics and prepare effectively for the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam.
Overall, Wiingy’s Physics C Mechanics course can be an excellent resource for students who want to achieve success in AP Physics C: Mechanics. By providing personalized attention, flexible scheduling, and comprehensive study materials, Wiingy can help students achieve their academic goals and prepare for a successful future in STEM fields.
Importance of studying AP Physics C: Mechanics
Studying physics, and specifically, AP Physics C: Mechanics, can provide a wide range of benefits for students.
- Develops problem-solving skills: Physics is a subject that requires students to think critically and creatively to solve complex problems. By studying physics, students can develop problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of fields.
- Develops critical thinking skills: Physics also requires students to think critically and analytically to understand complex concepts and theories. By studying physics, students can develop critical thinking skills that are essential for success in many careers.
- Prepares for future STEM careers: Physics is a foundational subject for many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. By studying physics, students can develop a strong foundation in STEM fields and prepare for future careers in fields such as engineering, computer science, and physics research.
- Provides college credit and admissions advantages: Achieving a passing score on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam can provide students with college credit, which can save time and money in college. It can also provide a competitive advantage in college admissions by demonstrating a student’s ability to perform at a high level in college-level coursework.
- Enhances understanding of the natural world: Physics is a subject that helps students understand the natural world and the underlying principles that govern it. By studying physics, students can develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the world around them.
In conclusion, AP Physics C: Mechanics is a challenging course based on the available data. The pass rates for the exam in 2021 and 2022 were approximately 73.4% and 73.5%, respectively, with mean scores of 3.41 and 3.38. While the pass rates indicate a decent success rate, it’s important to consider the potential yearly fluctuations in pass rates due to varying exam difficulty.
Despite being a relatively small class with 48,803 entries in 2021 and 46,301 entries in 2022, an overwhelming majority of students (97%) who took the class would recommend it to others. According to a reddit survey, former students rated AP Physics C: Mechanics with a difficulty rating of 7.4 out of 10, making it the third most challenging AP course
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is AP Physics C Mechanics harder than AP Physics 1?
Yes, AP Physics C Mechanics is generally considered more difficult than AP Physics 1 with a difficulty rating of 7.4 out of 10. Physics C Mechanics is calculus-based, covers more advanced topics, and requires a deeper understanding of physics principles. AP Physics 1, on the other hand, is algebra-based and covers a broad range of introductory physics concepts.
What is AP Physics C: Mechanics equivalent to?
AP Physics C: Mechanics is equivalent to a first-semester calculus-based college physics course, typically taken by students majoring in engineering, physics, or other STEM fields. The course covers topics such as kinematics, dynamics, energy, and momentum at an advanced level, preparing students for further study in physics or engineering.
What is the hardest unit in AP Physics C: Mechanics?
The hardest unit in AP Physics C: Mechanics may vary for different students depending on their strengths and weaknesses. However, some of the more challenging topics in the course include rotational motion, which involves understanding concepts such as torque and angular momentum; and oscillations and waves, which cover topics such as harmonic motion and resonance. These topics require a deep understanding of physics principles and strong math skills.
Which AP Physics is the hardest?
AP Physics C courses are generally harder than the other AP Physics courses. AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism is generally considered the hardest AP Physics course. It covers advanced topics such as electromagnetism, circuits, and Maxwell’s equations, and requires strong math skills, including calculus. The course is often taken by students majoring in physics or engineering and is considered challenging even for those with a strong physics and math background.
What is the pass rate for AP Physics C: Mechanics?
According to the College Board, the pass rate for AP Physics C: Mechanics varies from year to year. In 2021 and 2022, 73.5% and 73.4% of students who took the exam received a score of 3 or higher, indicating that they passed. It is important to note that the difficulty of the exam can affect the pass rate.