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AP Physics C

molliegymmolliegym Registered User Posts: 748 Member
edited November 2008 in AP Tests Preparation
So I'm currently taking AP Physics B (and loving it). I was a little disappointed when I found out we wouldn't be using calculus in the course (my school just calls it AP Physics, not AP Physics B). AP Physics C isn't offered at my school, but I am really interested in it. Would it be too hard to self-study AP Physics C? I really want to learn the material. One kid in my grade who took AP Physics (B) last year self-studied for the AP Physics C exam and probably got a 5 (this kid took AP Calculus AB/BC in 9th grade and is now taking Abstract Algebra, I think, but I don't know how, cuz he's run out of math courses actually offered by the school). He said it's not too hard to self-study for AP Physics C, but I'm not sure. Any opinions?

Btw, I'm currently taking AP Calculus AB/BC.
Post edited by molliegym on

Replies to: AP Physics C

  • baselinerbaseliner Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    I'm self-studying Physics C, and it is more than possible if you have some background knowledge for phyiscs. I am using PR and it seems to be the best.
  • molliegymmolliegym Registered User Posts: 748 Member
    What's PR?
  • ansaransar Registered User Posts: 2,071 Senior Member
    Princeton Review
  • couyangcouyang Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    can you take both the Physics B test and the Physics C test? I know they are on the same day, but can you take the absentee test for one of them and get 2 ap tests done?
  • baselinerbaseliner Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    Yes you can i think
  • jsd472jsd472 Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    Physics C doesn't really use calculus. They use a few very simple derivatives and integrals in basic kinematics (while almost always using constant acceleration) and E&M topics like induction. When a physics course, especially an introductory one like physics C, is called "calculus-based," it's (in my experience at least) a strong exaggeration. The Barron's book has problems harder than the AP exam, so instead of becoming bored equating kinetic energy with some relatively simple potentials a million times, you can actually learn something. Both AP Physics classes are jokes. It's a stretch to even consider them to be actual physics classes. Perhaps with the exception of languages, just about any AP test can be self-studied. They're definitely not as hard as the college board would like everyone to believe, hence this idea that hours and hours of studying are required to get a 5. (there's a huge curve on physics C too; I think something around 50 to 60% can get a 5)
  • baselinerbaseliner Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    A very enlightening message, jsd472..
    are you going to appear for the exam or have you already done so in the past?
  • molliegymmolliegym Registered User Posts: 748 Member
    Okay, so it doesn't seem like it'd be too hard to self-study for Physics C. However, since my school doesn't offer Physics C as a class, I don't think they offer the exam; how would I take the exam for Physics C? At another school? Or would I be able to take it at my own school (even though I'd probably be the only one interested, or maybe one other kid)?

    Which book is better, PR or Barrons? Or should I just get both?

    How far in advance should I start studying? Should I start studying now, or would I be okay to start studying in January (once my apps are all in)?
  • fignewtonfignewton Registered User Posts: 1,414 Senior Member
    I think PR is a very good book for self-study AP C, I'd recommend it over Barron's. And yes, there _is_ real calculus, even some introductory vector calc in E&M. If you have the time, it can help you understand the AP B material better as well.
  • jsd472jsd472 Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    By appear for the exam do you mean to take it?
  • daman11daman11 Registered User Posts: 904 Member
    no he means magically appear like a magic trick
  • jsd472jsd472 Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    That doesn't make any sense. What do you mean?
  • RamnedRamned Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    I'm doing a self study for both AP Physics C exams. Couple things I find wrong with the advice so far.
    1) Buy a college Physics TEXTBOOK not a review guide, if you are actually serious about it. I bought Fundamentals of Physics. Buy review guide as well, but only as a practice source.
    2) It takes alot of work if you intend to get a 5 on the exam while only studying alone. You have to have perserverance to read the chapters, pore over sample problems, and do several problems (I do 25) per chapter. A 1-2 hour commitment every night.

    Physics C I have noticed does not use calculus extensively, but it is "calculus-based." Meaning not that all of the problems require you to know calc (some do) but that the principles you learn are based on calc. This means that you will learn alot of proofs of equations.

    If you are going into physics or engineering DO IT! Be committed though! Especially since you are in lots of AP math / sciences. In your situation, AP Physics C would not be too bad. Most parallel B concepts, but there are some exceptions. Such as center of mass or Maxwell's Equations, etc. I recommend the challenge. Or even study for 1 C exam (Mechanics)
This discussion has been closed.