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AP Physics C self-study

mister9amister9a Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
edited May 2008 in AP Tests Preparation
A couple friends and I are planning to self-study for the AP physics C exam next year, which is our senior year. My friends are taking IB physics (non-calc based) this year and have the two top grades in their class. I have some experience with newtonian dynamics, but no familiarity with E&M.

We are all very good at calculus, all of us in calc AB, and all of us near or at the top of our class. We will be taking calc BC next year.

Do you think this would be a good decesion? Do you think we could succeed at it? Would it be worth it for the college credit?
Post edited by mister9a on

Replies to: AP Physics C self-study

  • tapedDucktapedDuck Registered User Posts: 705 Member
    Mechanics is easy but EM will be harder
  • It'sGr82BeAGatorIt'sGr82BeAGator Registered User Posts: 513 Member
    You probably need to devote more time to E&M to succeed since most of the concepts are new compared to mechanics. As for calculus, most of the math is just algebra and geometry (some integrals are just too complicated to compute). A majority of the time, it's pretty obvious when to use calculus, such as when a question like "Let B(x), W(x) or a(x) be some function" shows up, it usually means you either integrate or differentiate.
    The hard part is of course getting the concepts down.
    Familiarizing yourself with the exam also helps a lot.
    And if you plan to go into any sciences or engineering, physics c would be useful credit to have, depending on the college.
  • googol123googol123 Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    I self-studied C, mech really isnt different from B at all. EM was hard, do as much practice as you can and familiarize yourself with different prob types.

    Anyways, dont take BC after AB. The C portion of the exam really doesnt contain much at all compared to the "B" portion. (2 chapters in a reg calc book). Polars, parametrics, and Taylor's Theorem that's about it. You can always self study it and take the BC exam. Even if you fail the C portion, you still can do fine on the AB subscore portion.
  • srrinathsrrinath Registered User Posts: 2,363 Senior Member
    wow you chose the hardest ap to self study.

    but if you really are as good as physics as you say you are, it shouldn't be a problem.
  • ct1220ct1220 Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    Calc AB is a good enough class to be taken concurrently with Physics C (a few in my class are doing that). So for the calculus, you'll be fine. I suggest you get a good textbook to just read through and work on problems. I used Serway & Beichner's "Physics for Scientists and Engineers" and have found it to be an amazingly good book. The examples are also very similar to physics C free response questions (some of them identical, by chance I would assume, since there really aren't that many different kinds of questions you can come up with). My teacher this year sucked major ass so I basically self-studied off of that book and have been extremely well off
  • ct1220ct1220 Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    as for the exam itself, it's 50% multiple choice 50% free response; 35 multiple choice questions and 3 FRQ questions, each worth 15 points. the multiple choice sections test basic concepts and in my opinion, the questions are very easy. extremely easy compared to the free response questions (not saying that the free response questions are hard, but just that the mc's are much easier). usually, a 65% on the physics C exams would guarantee a 5 (in the past the % needed has been much lower), but say it was 65% just to be safe. if you got 100% on the multiple choice section, then you'd only need to get 30% correct on your FRQ section. that'd mean you'd only need to get 14 points out of a total of 45 points.

    So I wouldn't worry too much about the exam itself. Just try to learn as much as you can and enjoy it, because it's rare that you get to learn something so in-depth as Physics C in high school
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