Before a student can consider an Advance Placement, such student will have to peruse four options in total namely –
* AP Physics 1 – Based on algebra and is all about Newtonian Mechanics. Also included in the coursework is mechanical waves and the basics of circuits.
* AP Physics 2 – Based on algebra. Concerned with magnetism and electricity, thermodynamics, optics, and fluids.
* AP Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism – As stated, is concerned with magnetism and electricity.
* AP Physics C – Mechanics – Concerned with Newtonian concepts, oscillations, and kinematics.
That said, it can be seen that the C series explore mathematically rigorous branches of Physics. It may be tough to select the right course and test even when it is stated that an AP class is a potential college credit and every end-of-year exam.
Before rushing into selecting any of the options, you must be able to answer some questions:
1. List of Career and Academic Plans?
It is important to answer this question because it will guide you to know where you are headed. You may start by listing your career goals and matching them with your ‘potential’ college major. In some colleges, there are ‘find your future’ tools which aid the understanding of how the physics exams can be applied in real life cases. In addition to that, Physics is a course which is a required ingredient in the STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – fields. For students who want to study Engineering or Architecture, AP Physics C is relevant.
Furthermore, make a list of your school of choice and determine how they view respective AP credits. For example, Iowa State University (ISU) calculates as such:
* A score of ‘5’ in AP Physics 1 equals 5 credits in Physics 111: General Physics
* A score of ‘5’ in AP Physics 2 equals 5 credits in Physics 112: General Physics
2. How Much Do I Know About My Choice of Institution’s Requirements?
Every college also has requirements for your choice of course. In ISU, Physics 111 and physics 112 are not counted towards a degree except Physics 221 and Physics 222 whereas the former is required for General Biology.
If you are the type of student who is struggling with Physics based on Calculus, you should opt for AP Physics which is based on algebra. This is important because failure may mar your dream of applying for a particular degree.
The criteria of your selected school must be well-known as well. Harvard University, for example, may switch AP scores for college-level credit. In addition, Harvard University may not require introductory courses.
3. How Prepared – Ready or Not?
Do not underestimate the effect of your class workload on the choice of the exam. To do well in AP Physics C, you must have background knowledge of Calculus-based Physics right from high school. Although, there are some students that have aced the exam by their strong willpower and mathematical skills. But this doesn’t work for everyone. If it may help, seek help from your AP Physics tutors for the right guidance.
4. How Well Do I Know What to Expect?
According to AP Physics exam trend, you should expect free-response and multiple-choice sections. Both Physics 1 and 2 tests are offered on consecutive days and will span about three hours. For the C series, there is a short break between each exam and will require about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete each. Since there are equations and constants in every test, calculators are required in the exam.
The part of the C series exam which covers a wider scope of the subject is the free-response section. Your reasoning ability is put to test in Physics 1 and 2 whereas the C series is an assessment to determine your ability to solve problems with the equations.
5. One Test or More?
This question can only be answered by your level of preparation and need. You will take both C series if you want to pursue any degree in Physics or Engineering. The relationship between all C series exams is an evidence of their close similarity and pairing.