AP Physics C: Mechanics

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About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Physics C: Mechanics Exams will be offered on paper in early May and late May, and as a digital exam in early June. Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam will be full length and measure the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description (CED), giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

The paper exams will follow the typical multiple-choice and free-response format given in the CED. The digital exam will take the same amount of time, but will consist of double the number of multiple-choice questions as the paper exam, and no free-response questions.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics C: Mechanics only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

The AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam will test your understanding of the scientific concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to use calculus when solving problems related to kinematics, linear momentum, and more.

You can use a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator throughout the exam, and you will be provided with tables of commonly used physics equations and formulas. These tables are shared by both Physics C courses.

Exam Duration
1hr 30mins

Exam Dates

  • Mon, May 3, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam.

  • Mon, May 24, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam.

  • Wed, Jun 9, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics C: Mechanics only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The digital AP Physics C: Mechanics exam will include twice as many multiple-choice questions as the paper exam, and will not include free-response questions.

You will be able to practice multiple-choice questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available in early April.

Early May and Late May Exams (Paper) Early June Exam (Digital)

Section 1: Multiple Choice
35 Questions | 45 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

The multiple-choice section includes individual, single questions as well as sets of questions that refer to the same diagram or data presentation.

 

Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe visual representations of physical situations
  • Formulate a testable scientific question or hypothesis and design an experiment to test it
  • Analyze data shown in a graph
  • Determine the relationship between physical qualities
  • Solve physics problems using mathematical relationships
  • Develop and support scientific claims with evidence

Section 1: Multiple Choice
35 Questions | 45 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

This section includes individual, single questions as well as sets of questions that refer to the same diagram or data presentation.

 

Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe visual representations of physical situations
  • Formulate a testable scientific question or hypothesis and design an experiment to test it
  • Analyze data shown in a graph
  • Determine the relationship between physical qualities
  • Solve physics problems using mathematical relationships
  • Develop and support scientific claims with evidence

Section 2: Free Response
3 Questions | 45 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • For the free-response section, credit for answers depends on the quality of the solutions and responses shown, so be sure to show your work.
  • Some questions specifically ask you to justify your answer or to write a scientific explanation which includes a claim, evidence, and reasoning. This analysis may generally be in the form of writing, equations, calculations, diagrams, or graphs.
  • One of the three questions in this section will include an experimental or lab-based component.
  • Questions may test your ability to:
    • Interpret and describe visual representations of physical situations
    • Formulate a testable scientific question or hypothesis and design an experiment to test it
    • Create graphs and diagrams to represent data and physical situations
    • Analyze data shown in a graph
    • Determine the relationship between physical qualities
    • Solve physics problems using mathematical relationships
    • Support scientific claims with evidence

Section 2: Multiple Choice
35 Questions | 45 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

This section includes individual, single questions as well as sets of questions that refer to the same diagram or data presentation.

 

Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe visual representations of physical situations
  • Formulate a testable scientific question or hypothesis and design an experiment to test it
  • Analyze data shown in a graph
  • Determine the relationship between physical qualities
  • Solve physics problems using mathematical relationships
  • Develop and support scientific claims with evidence

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Digital Practice Now Available

Updated April 8

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Physics C: Mechanics students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has shortened MCQ sections:
    • Section I: 5 multiple choice, 5 minutes, followed by a shortened 5-minute break
    • Section II: 4 multiple choice, 5 minutes
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, with no break.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and an MCQ answer key for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder, you will answer all multiple-choice questions directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or calculations, but students cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
  • The AP Physics C Equation Sheet can be accessed with the Reference button in the upper right button bar of the application. The interface and layout are different in the digital testing application than in the paper exam booklet, so you should take a look when you take digital practice.
  • A four-function, scientific or graphing calculator is allowed on the exam. However, you’ll need to bring your own calculator because the digital testing application does not include one.
  • As a reminder, you cannot go back to questions you’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Preparation

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