AP Physics C Mechanics


This physics course will prepare students for the AP Physics C Mechanics exam, which covers the equivalent to a one-semester, calculus-based, college-level physics course. The exam is 90-minutes long with 35 multiple-choice questions, and 3 free-response questions. In order to best prepare students, the course will introduce the physical laws that describe and explain the motion of bodies, analyze the structure of classical mechanics, investigate general scientific procedures as quantitative interplay between experimentation and theory, and critically examine new problems to construct and explain a logical solution utilizing the fundamental laws of mechanics. Students who wish to attend this course should have already learned Calculus.

Course Objectives

Analyze Kinematics to Solve Mechanics Problems

  • Review Displacement
  • Explore Velocity as a Vector and Derivative
  • Explore Acceleration as the Derivative of the Velocity
  • Explore Vectors and Scalars
  • Analyze Kinematics using Calculus to solve problems

Examine Dynamics as a General Approach to Problem Solving in Mechanics Problems

  • Examine Newton's Three Laws of Motion
  • Analyze Newton's Second Law as a problem solving tool
  • Examine Newton's Second Law to solve problems using Integral and Differential Calculus
  • Analyze the Statics of a System

Analyze Momentum Theory and its use in Collision Theory

  • Define Momentum
  • Explore Newton's Second in Momentum Form
  • Define Momentum Conservation and solve relevant problems

Explore the Application of the Energy Paradigm

  • Define Work
  • Examine the Forms of Energy
  • Discuss the Work-Energy Theorem
  • Apply Energy Conversation to problem solving

Examine the Mechanics of Rotational Motion

  • Discuss Rotational Kinematics
  • Define Torque and Newton's Second Law for Rotation
  • Define Angular Momentum
  • Analyze Angular Momentum in terms of Newton's Second Law
  • Analyze Angular Momentum Conversation and apply to problem solving
  • Analyze Newton's Law of Gravity

Discuss Oscillations

  • Define the relevant parameters for Oscillations
  • Analyze Oscillations in terms of Newton's Laws
  • Examine the Energy of Oscillation

Analyze Mechanical Waves

  • Mechanical Waves
  • Sound and Hearing


Although there are a multitude of Physics textbooks available to students, SpringLight recommends that students get either the Physics: Principles with Applications or the Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam.