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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide to AP Physics C Mechanics Exam [Updated for 2024]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

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  • The AP Physics C Mechanics course comprises of 6 topics: Kinematics, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Work, Energy, and Power, Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum, Circular Motion and Rotation, and Oscillations and Gravitation.
  • The AP Physics C Mechanics exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (35 questions, 45 minutes) and free-response (3 questions, 45 minutes).
  • The mean score for the AP Physics C Mechanics exam in 2022 was 3.41 out of 5. This is slightly higher than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP Physics C Mechanics Exam for 2022 was 73.4%. This is slightly higher than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.
  • With AP Physics C Mechanics, some majors that you could choose from include physics, engineering, and mathematics. Some career pathways you could pursue include physicist, engineer, mathematician, and data scientist.

The AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam boasts a passing rate of 73.2% in 2022. It is recognized as a demanding AP Exam, with a difficulty rating of 6.8 out of 10, making it one of the more rigorous exams offered.

Don’t fret! This comprehensive AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam guide is designed to equip you with the essential resources needed to excel in this AP exam. With AP Physics C: Mechanics practice tests, invaluable tips, and effective strategies, you’ll be well-prepared to achieve a stellar score and conquer the exam with confidence.

Let’s dive into the world of AP Physics C: Mechanics and embark on an exciting journey to conquer the complexities of classical mechanics!

What is the AP Physics C Mechanics and its importance?

AP Physics C Mechanics is a college-level course and corresponding exam that covers the principles of classical mechanics, including kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy, and momentum

The course is designed to provide a deep understanding of fundamental physics concepts and develop problem-solving skills.

The importance of the AP Physics C Mechanics exam:

  • Allows students to earn college credit AP Physics C Mechanism.
  • Demonstrates mastery of the subject matter to college admissions officers
  • Provides a rigorous and comprehensive test of students’ knowledge and understanding of classical mechanics
  • Helps students stand out in the college application process and increase their chances of being admitted to top-tier universities
  • Opens up new opportunities and pathways to success in physics and engineering careers.

What will be tested on the 2 AP Physics C: Mechanics exam?

The AP Physics C Mechanics course includes several challenging topics, which are tested on the exam. These topics are listed below, along with their respective weightage in the exam.

Units CoveredPercentage Goal for the Exam (MCQ)
Unit 1: Kinematics14-20%
Unit 2: Newton’s Law of Motion17-23%
Unit 3: Work, Energy, and Power14-17%
Unit 4: Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum14-17%
Unit 5: Rotations14-20%
Unit 6: Oscillations6-14%
Unit 7: Gravitation6-14%
Topics covered in AP Physics C: Mechanics

The advanced physics concepts covered in this course are more intricate than those taught in introductory physics courses, and they demand a more profound comprehension of mathematical and physical principles.

AP Physics C: Mechanics exam format

SectionsNo. of questions Type of QuestionsTime allocated to each sectionExam Weightage
Multiple-choice questions35Questions are either discrete questions or question sets45 mins50%
Free-response questions3Questions will include an experimental or lab-based component45 mins50%
Exam format

Source: College Board

AP Physics C Mechanics Exam Guide
AP Physics C Mechanics Exam Guide

When is the 2024 AP Physics C: Mechanics exam date and time?

The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam for 2024 is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 9 at 12 PM local time. 

Students can take the exam at designated schools or testing centers approved by the College Board. To register for the exam, students must first enroll in the corresponding AP course at their high school and then sign up through their AP coordinator. 

The registration deadline usually falls in the spring, but students should confirm the specific deadline with their AP coordinators. There is a fee associated with taking the exam, but students with financial needs may be eligible for fee reductions or waivers.

Is the AP Physics C Mechanics exam hard?

Is AP Physics C: Mechanics hard? The course is widely recognized as very hard. According to a survey, former students rated the course a 7.4 out of 10 in terms of overall difficulty, making it the third most difficult AP course

Despite its difficulty, a vast majority of students (97%) who took the class would recommend it to others. 

The class has a relatively small enrollment, with 48,803 entries in 2021 and 46,301 entries in 2022

The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam is widely regarded as a very hard test due to the following reasons:

  • It covers college-level concepts in mechanics, which can be challenging for high school students.
  • It requires a strong understanding of calculus, which not all high school students have.
  • The exam includes both multiple-choice and free-response questions, which require different types of problem-solving skills.

It is a rigorous course that demands a significant amount of hard work and commitment, but it is also highly rewarding for those who are willing to put in the effort.

Tips for preparing for the exam AP Physics C Mechanics exam

  1. “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” 

A well-planned study schedule is key to exam success. Determine the exam’s format, topics, and timing, and then create a plan that includes study blocks, breaks, and deadlines.

  1. “Don’t just memorize, internalize.” 

Understanding the material deeply is more important than just memorizing it. Take time to comprehend the concepts, connect them to real-life scenarios, and ask questions when unsure.

  1. “Practice makes perfect.” 

Practice is essential to prepare for an exam. Solve past exams and practice problems to familiarize yourself with the exam’s format, types of questions, and time management.

  1. “Knowledge is power.” 

Utilize all available resources such as textbooks, online materials, lectures, and notes. Gather information from different sources to have a broad understanding of the subject.

  1. “Two heads are better than one.” 

When you face difficulty in a subject, don’t hesitate to seek help from teachers or tutors. They can provide explanations, clarify doubts, and provide valuable insights that can help you ace the exam.

How can Wiingy help with AP Physics C Mechanics exam prep?

In 2022, only 26.4% of the 46,301 students who took the AP Physics C Mechanics exam scored a 5. While 3 is considered the unofficial passing rate, most elite universities, such as Harvard or Princeton, offer AP credit only if you score 5 or higher. 

Getting a 5 is possible if you have the right support in your high school, but that’s rarely the case.

Here at Wiingy, we work with vetted AP Physics C Mechanics tutors with demonstrated expertise and experience in helping students score a 5 on AP exams

Unlike tutor marketplaces, every Wiingy tutor is screened individually and undergoes a comprehensive assessment.

Less than 3% of applicants are selected to become tutors on Wiingy’s platform, ensuring tutors are highly qualified and experienced in teaching AP courses.

Our tutors will work with you 1-on-1 to master the content and skills you need to succeed.

Experienced tutors can provide you with curriculum-specific guides and practice questions and familiarize you with the exam format to help you ace the test.

We know that sometimes you don’t want to pay for private tutoring because it is too expensive. It’s common to see tutoring costs between $100 to $150 per hour.

Wiingy’s rates are very affordable, starting from just $28 per hour, much lower than the average AP tutoring offered by other platforms.

One more advantage of studying with us is that we don’t require you to sign up for any packages or yearly subscriptions. You can sign up for as little as a single lesson and add more lessons as per your requirements.

While we try to match you with the perfect tutor as per your needs, we know that sometimes even the best tutors might not be the right fit for you. That’s why we offer you the Perfect Match Guarantee, which means that if you are not satisfied with your tutor for any reason, you can request a free replacement at any time. 

Sign up with Wiingy AP AP Physics C Mechanics Tutoring today and achieve your goal of scoring a 5 on your AP Test!

Choosing between Physics C Mechanics or Physics C E&M

Here’s a table overview of the differences between AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism:

AspectAP Physics C MechanicsAP Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism
FocusConcept of motion and forcesConcept of Electricity and Magnetism
Topics covered– KinematicsNewton’s Law of Motion
– Work, Energy, and Power
– Linear momentum
– Rotations
– Oscillations 
– Gravitation
– Electrostatics
– Conductors, Capacitors, and Dielectrics
– Electric Circuits
– Magnetic Field
– Electromagnetism
Mathematical skills requiredCalculus-Based skillsMore advanced calculus-based skills
Course DifficultyVery hard (7.4/10 overall rating in terms of difficulty)Hardest (8.1/10 overall rating in terms of difficulty)
LabsLabs focused on mechanics conceptLabs focused on electricity and magnetism concept
College credit eligibilityCan qualify for college creditCan qualify for college credit
Recommended forStudents interested in engineering, physics, or related scienceStudents interested in pursuing a career in electrical engineering or related fields.
Physics C Mechanics vs Physics C E&M

When choosing between the two courses, students should consider the following factors:

Factors to considerDescription
Interest in the subject matterConsider which branch of physics interests you more: mechanics or electromagnetism. Mechanics focuses on the motion and behavior of objects, while electricity and magnetism deal with electric charges and magnetic fields.
Math proficiencyBoth courses require strong mathematical skills, but Electricity and Magnetism may require a stronger background in calculus. Consider your comfort level with math and the level of calculus you have completed.
College major or career goalsBoth courses are relevant to careers in engineering, physics, and related fields, but Electricity and Magnetism may be more applicable to fields such as computer science and electrical engineering.
Prior ExperienceStudents who have taken AP Physics 1 may find it easier to transition to Electricity and Magnetism, as they will have already covered some of the foundational topics.
Course and exam difficultyBoth courses are challenging, but Electricity and Magnetism is widely considered to be more difficult. Students who want to challenge themselves may opt for this course, while those who prefer a more manageable workload may choose Mechanics.
Factors to consider

Ultimately, the decision between AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism should be based on your interests, strengths, and future goals. Both courses are challenging but rewarding, and with dedication and hard work, you can succeed in either one.

Conclusion

As you embark on your AP Physics C: Mechanics journey, remember that this exam covers crucial topics such as kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy, and rotational motion.

With a passing rate of 73.2% in 2022 for the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam, it’s evident that success is within reach. The difficulty rating despite being 7.4 is accompanied by a recommendation rate of 96%.

Embrace the opportunity to delve into the captivating realm of classical mechanics and demonstrate your understanding of the laws governing the physical world. Your hard work and dedication will pave the way for a rewarding and successful AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam experience.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is AP Physics C: Mechanics harder than 1? 

Yes, AP Physics C: Mechanics is generally considered more challenging than AP Physics 1. The course covers advanced topics in mechanics, such as calculus-based kinematics and dynamics, while AP Physics 1 covers basic concepts in physics.

How long is the AP Physics C Mechanics exam?

The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes long. The exam consists of two sections, multiple-choice and free-response, and is divided into two parts. The multiple-choice section lasts for 45 minutes and consists of 35 questions. The free-response section also lasts for 45 minutes and consists of three questions, each requiring a detailed and thorough response.

How hard is the AP Physics C Mechanics exam?

The AP Physics C: Mechanics exam is considered one of the hardest AP exams. It covers advanced topics in mechanics, requires a strong foundation in calculus, and demands problem-solving skills. Students who take this exam should expect to encounter challenging questions that test their knowledge, skills, and ability to apply concepts to real-world scenarios.

AP Physics C Mechanics exam date 2024? 

For the year 2024, AP Physics C Mechanics Exam is scheduled on May 14, Tuesday at 12:00 PM local time.

Which is harder AP Physics C or 2? 

AP Physics C is more difficult than AP Physics 2. AP Physics C is a calculus-based course that covers advanced topics in mechanics and electricity and magnetism, while AP Physics 2 is an algebra-based course that focuses on fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, and modern physics.

References

  1. https://examstudyexpert.com/is-ap-physics-c-hard-easy/
  2. https://www.bestcolleges.com/test-prep/ap/physics-c-mechanics/
  3. https://www.albert.io/blog/is-ap-physics-c-hard/
  4. https://reports.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/2021-ap-student-score-distributions_1.pdf
  5. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-score-distributions-by-subject-2022.pdf

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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