Delve 2011-2012 AP Physics C Syllabus

Course Information

The MIT ESP Delve AP Physics C course for 2011-2012 will be taught by Pavel Panchekha ( and Jeffrey Prouty ( It will teach you all of the material necessary to get a 5 on the AP Physics C test.

Your teachers can be reached over email. A class web page at will list assignments and other materials. You can also reach other students at; your teachers will moderate this list.

Classes will be from 10:00 until 15:00 every Sunday unless other arrangements (usually class cancelations) are pre-arranged. Try to arrive on time, and tell the teachers if you will be late.

The class will not assign a grade: your only grade is you AP score. The class will not police you: you will be treated like an adult, with the attendant responsibilities. The purpose of the class is to prepare you for the AP test, but all of this preparation cannot happen in class. You will need to put in your own time and effort if you want to succeed: you must do homeworks, practice tests, and reviews on your own. We can only show you the door; you must step through it.

We enjoy teaching this course; we hope you will enjoy taking it. If you can provide any feedback, positive or negative, it would help everyone involved. Please be direct, be blunt, and be constructive in your feedback, and we'll do our best to mold the class to your benefit.


Homework will be assigned each day of lecture. On problem session weeks, the implicit homework assignment is to read over quizzes and homework assignments to reexamine and review. Homework usually comes in three sets. "Level 1" problems are mostly drill, aimed at making sure you know the basic facts you should know. "Level 2" problems are usually AP-level, aimed at making sure you can use whatever new facts to solve problems. "Level 3" problems are chosen to be significantly harder but still approachable; they should at least be attempted.

Homework will not be collected or checked. Usually, approximately half the assigned problems will have an answer in the back of the textbook, and students are encouraged to check. If any questions arise, students are always free to ask the teachers questions either over email or after class; at least one of the teachers will always be available after class for at least a half-hour.

After the course covers all of its kinematics material, students are strongly encouraged to buy an AP practice book; good brands are Barrons and Princeton Review (these books can also usually be found in the library; older versions are for all practical purposes identical to new ones). Both of these provide separate Kinematics and E&M practice exams, so after twelve weeks students should start doing practice tests. It's encouraged that students test with time restrictions — for example, trying to do an exam in half the allotted time. This tends to reduce time pressure during the actual test.

Course Schedule

Here's the overview.

  • Kinematics and Forces
  • Momentum and Energy
  • Charge and Circuits
  • Magnetism and Inductance
  • Capacitance and More Circuits

The schedule is basically a rhythm of one day of material (which is usually half a day of lecture, half a day of problems), followed by one day of doing two short topical quizzes. First quiz gives lots of time, slightly harder problems than AP. Second quiz is AP-level problems, but a lot less time.

Every two topics (except the first block, that one's three, because it's so easy) is a larger problem session, which does harder problems (past-AP), does some more speed tests, and does one cumulative exam.

The AP prep day at the end does two full exams in slightly below time.

  • Math review, kinematics
  • Problem session
  • Forces and force diagrams, rotational dynamics, torque
  • Problem session
  • Statics
  • Problem session
  • Larger problem session (squeeze in some oscillations as well)
  • Momentum, impulse, collisions, angular momentum
  • Problem session
  • Energy, energy and forces, potential energy
  • Problem session
  • Larger problem session
  • Charge, fields, potentials
  • Multivariable calculus lecture (if needed; else skip) and Gauss's law
  • Circuits
  • Problem session
  • Larger problem session
  • Moving charges, magnetism, wires, Ampere's law
  • Problem session
  • Inductance
  • Problem session
  • Larger problem session
  • Capacitors
  • Problem session
  • Circuits with capacitors and inductors
  • Problem session
  • Larger problem session
  • AP Prep day, larger problem session

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