The AP Physics C (S309) course ordinarily forms the first part of the college sequence that serves as the foundation in physics for students majoring in the physical sciences or engineering. The sequence is parallel to or preceded by mathematics courses that include calculus. Methods of calculus are used wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. The sequence is more intensive and analytic than that in the B course. Strong emphasis is placed on solving a variety of challenging problems, some requiring calculus. The subject matter of the C course is principally mechanics, and electricity and magnetism, with approximately equal emphasis on these two areas. The C course is the first part of a sequence which in college is sometimes a very intensive one-year course but often extends over one and one-half to two years, with a laboratory component.


Topics Covered

In the typical Physics C course, roughly one-half year is devoted to mechanics. Use of calculus in problem solving and in derivations is expected to increase as the course progresses. In the second half-year of the C course, the primary emphasis is on classical electricity and magnetism. Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems. See the topic outline for each area:
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Newtonian Mechanics (50%)
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Electricity and Magnetism (50%)


Students who enroll in this course must be motivated, capable of advanced problem solving, and willing to do work outside the classroom (homework!) and over intersessions (if the required work in not completed). The work load will be heavy and students will be expected to maintain high productivity. Students must have demonstrated ability in previous mathematics and science courses. Students must be recommended by their present mathematics or science teacher. This course is not just for high achievers or students with natural ability; hard-working students with an interest in physics should find success in this course. Students will be exposed to calculus in the Physics C portion of the class (but don't let this scare you, I will explain everything!).

The material presented for instruction in this course is also derived from other high school and college texts. Texts include:
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Physics for Scientists and Engineers (Serway)
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College Physics (Sears, Zemansky, and Young)
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College Physics (Stanley)
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Fundamentals of Physics (Halliday, Resnick, and Walker)
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Physics (Halliday, Resnick, and Krane)
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Physics (Hecht)
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Physics (Wolfson and Pasachoff)
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College Physics (Davis)
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Contemporary College Physics (Jones and Childers)
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University Physics (Young and Freedman)
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Physics (Cutnell and Johnson)
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Physics: A Contemporary Perspective (Knight)
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Physics (Serway and Faughn)
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How Things Work (Bloomfield)