AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

Learn all about the course and exam.

About the Course

Explore concepts such as electrostatics, conductors, capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism. You’ll do hands-on laboratory work and in-class activities to investigate phenomena and use calculus to solve problems. Note: Save your lab notebooks and reports; colleges may ask to see them before granting you credit.

Skills You'll Learn

  • Interpreting and describing visual representations of physical situations

  • Coming up with a hypothesis and designing an experiment to test it

  • Creating graphs and diagrams to represent data and physical situations

  • Analyzing data shown in a graph

  • Determining the relationship between physical qualities

  • Solving physics problems using mathematical relationships

  • Developing and supporting a scientific claim with evidence

Equivalency and Prerequisites

College Course Equivalent

A semester-long, introductory calculus-based college course in physics.

Recommended Prerequisites

You should have taken calculus or be taking calculus at the same time as this course.

Exam Dates

About the Units

The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. Your teacher may choose to organize the course content differently based on local priorities and preferences.

Course Content

You’ll begin your study of the electric force with an exploration of electric charges.

Topics may include:

  • Coulomb’s Law
  • Electric field and electric potential
  • Electric potential due to point charges and uniform fields
  • Gauss’s Law
  • Fields and potentials of other charge distributions

On The Exam

26%–34% of multiple-choice score

You’ll explore how electric charge can move through an object and the factors that affect the way charge moves.

Topics may include:

  • Electrostatics with conductors
  • Capacitors
  • Dielectrics

On The Exam

14%–17% of multiple-choice score

You’ll build on your knowledge of electrical components to investigate the nature of electric circuits and explore current, resistance, and power.

Topics may include:

  • Current and resistance
  • Current, resistance, and power
  • Steady-state direct-current circuits with batteries and resistors only
  • Gauss’s Law

On The Exam

17%–23% of multiple-choice score

You’ll begin your exploration of magnetism by learning how magnetic fields are generated, how they behave, and how they relate to electricity.

Topics may include:

  • Forces on moving charges in magnetic fields
  • Forces on current carrying wires in magnetic fields
  • Fields of long current carrying wires
  • The Biot-Savart Law and Ampère’s Law

On The Exam

17%–23% of multiple-choice score

You’ll build on what you’ve learned about charges, currents, and electric and magnetic fields to explore electromagnetic forces and their properties.

Topics may include:

  • Electromagnetic induction (including Faraday’s Law and Lenz’s Law)
  • Inductance (including LR circuits)
  • Maxwell’s equations

On The Exam

14%–20% of multiple-choice score

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See Where AP Can Take You

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism can lead to a wide range of careers and college majors

Career Areas 66
Majors 18

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