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Important Updates

AP Physics C: Mechanics Updates and New Resources for 2019-20  

To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.

Download the new course and exam description (CED)

New AP Resources
AP Classroom is now available. Designed with AP educators, it helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access AP unit guides with aligned resources, topic questions, personal progress checks, the progress dashboard, and your question bank.

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Course Overview

AP Physics C: Mechanics is a one-semester, calculus-based, college-level physics course, especially appropriate for students planning to specialize or major in one of the physical sciences or engineering. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through classroom study and activities as well as hands-on laboratory work as they explore concepts like change, force interactions, fields, and conservation.

Laboratory Requirement and Lab Notebooks

Laboratory experience must be part of the education of AP Physics C students and should be included in all AP Physics courses. Colleges may require students to present their laboratory materials from AP science courses before granting college credit for laboratory, so students are encouraged to retain their laboratory notebooks, reports, and other materials.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students to make connections across domains through a broader way of thinking about the physical world.

The AP Physics C: Mechanics framework is organized into seven commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you’ll have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Unit
 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 Unit 1: Kinematics  14%–20%
 Unit 2: Newton’s Laws of Motion  17%–23%
 Unit 3: Work, Energy, and Power  14%–17%
 Unit 4: Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum  14%–17%
 Unit 5: Rotation  14%–20%
 Unit 6: Oscillations  6%–14%
 Unit 7: Gravitation  6%–14%

Science Practices

The new AP Physics C: Mechanics framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called science practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like physicists.

 Skill  Description  Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)  Exam Weighting (Free-Response Section)
 1. Visual Representations  Analyze and/or use representations of physical situations, excluding graphs.  14–17%  4–7%
 2. Question and Method  Determine scientific questions and methods.  3–6%  6–11%
 3. Representing Data and Phenomena  Create visual representations or models of physical situations.  Not assessed in the multiple-choice section  13–20%
 4. Data Analysis  Analyze quantitative data represented in graphs.  14–17%  8–13%
 5. Theoretical Relationships  Determine the effects on a quantity when another quantity or the physical situation changes.  25–34%  20–24%
 6. Mathematical Routines  Solve problems of physical situations using mathematical relationships.  14–20%  20–24%
 7. Argumentation  Develop an explanation or scientific argument.  14–20%  11–18%

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Physics C.