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Is AP Physics C: E & M Hard/ Worth Taking?

3 min readโ€ขjanuary 13, 2021

Riya Patel

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Thinking about taking AP Physics C:E&M? Image Courtesy of Unsplash

Wondering if you should take AP Physics C: E&M? Although you might've heard that this class is one of the hardest ๐Ÿ˜ณ classes offered in high school, you're unsure about the difficulty and worth of the course. Well, you're in the right place, and we're here to help ๐Ÿคฉ

Overview of AP Physics C: E&M

If you're unsure about whether or not to take AP Physics C E&M, you should try looking over the course curriculum and exam structure to see what the course looks like.

Course Content ๐Ÿ“š

UnitExam Weighting
Unit 1: Electrostatics26%-34%
Unit 2: Conductors, Capacitors, Dielectrics14%-17%
Unit 3: Electric Circuits17%-23%
Unit 4: Magnetic Fields 17%-23%
Unit 5: Electromagnetism14%-20%
The AP Physics C: E&M Course and Exam Description consists of various "science practices" that the students will practice throughout the year.

Science Practices ๐Ÿงช

SkillDescriptionExam Weighting (MCQ)Exam Weighting (FRQ)
1. Visual RepresentationsAnalyze and/or use representations of physical situations, excluding graphs.14โ€“23%4โ€“9%
2. Question and MethodDetermine scientific questions and methods.3โ€“6%6โ€“11%
3. Representing Data and PhenomenaCreate visual representations or models of physical situations.Not assessed in the multiple-choice section13โ€“20%
4. Data AnalysisAnalyze quantitative data represented in graphs.14โ€“17%8โ€“13%
5. Theoretical RelationshipsDetermine the effects on a quantity when another quantity or the physical situation changes.25โ€“32%20โ€“24%
6. Mathematical RoutinesSolve problems of physical situations using mathematical relationships.14โ€“20%20โ€“24%
7. ArgumentationDevelop an explanation or scientific argument.14โ€“20%11โ€“18%
Now that you've seen the common themes in the course, let's take a deeper look at the course's difficulty!

Is AP Physics C: E&M Hard?

AP Physics C: E&M deals with concepts surrounding electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetic induction, making it the harder one of the two AP Physics C courses offered for a couple of reasons.

1. Use of Integral and Differential Calculus ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Because this course requires the application of both integral and differential calculus, this course can seem extremely difficult for those who have no experience with these areas of math. To be successful in AP Physics C: E&M, we highly recommend taking AP Calculus BC beforehand.

2. Application of Differential Equations โœ๏ธ

The application of differential equations to a physical object, or concept, can seem frustrating and mindboggling. It usually takes a while and a ton of practice to get used to.

3. Wide Range of Questions Asked โ‰๏ธ

The AP Physics C: E&M exam requires you to fully understand the concepts rather than just memorize them as numerous topics could show up on the test! As you can see, this course will require a lot of effort and practice to truly master the material, so you will need to stay on top of every assignment you get ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Is AP Physics C: E&M Worth Taking?

There are so many reasons why one would want to take AP Physics C: E&M. Here are a few!

Course Material ๐Ÿ“

If you took a look at the "course content" and "science practices" and found some topics that you're eager to learn about, you should definitely take this course to pursue your interests!

Future Career ๐Ÿ’ผ

This class is also well worth taking for those of you who plan to go into medicine ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš•๏ธ This is because AP Physics C: E&M will fulfill the medical school requirement of taking calculus-based physics. You might also want to take this class if you look forward to going into engineering or higher-level physics!

College Credit & Majors ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป

Since AP Physics C: E&M is one of the most difficult high school courses offered, most colleges will provide you with credit for taking it. AP Physics C: E&M is actually one of the first courses you take in a calculus-based physics track ๐Ÿคฏ
This class is well worth taking for those of you who are majoring in STEM because AP Physics C: E&M serves as a prerequisite for engineering and higher-level physics, such as quantum physics. Because the AP Physics C: E&M course provides college credit for a wide variety of career fields and majors, it is definitely worth taking ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ

Key Thoughts ๐Ÿ”‘

Although AP Physics C: E & M is one of the hardest AP courses offered, you should take it, as it's engaging and will help you with prerequisites for your future career and college pathway! Good luck ๐Ÿฅณ ๐Ÿ’•

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