AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exam: 2021 Results
The following data reflect the 19,944 students worldwide who took either the paper or the digital AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exam prior to June 12.
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism score distributions, 2019 vs. 2021
The following table enables comparisons of student performance in 2021 to student performance on the comparable full-length exam prior to the covid-19 pandemic.
Out of these 19,944 students, 2 answered every question correctly, earning every point possible.
The May 3 In-School Paper Exam
The largest exam date for AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism was May 3, so the following information is specific to the exam version administered on that date.
- Course Units:
- AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism students demonstrated strongest mastery of Unit 3, Electric Currents. 18% of students earned virtually all possible points related to this unit.
- The most challenging unit was Unit 4, Magnetic Fields; 10% of students answered no questions about this unit correctly.
- Science Practices:
- AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism students’ strongest skills were demonstrated on questions related to Science Practice 1, Visual Representations; 14% of students answered all of these questions correctly. Students were nearly as strong on questions related to Science Practice 6, Mathematical Routines.
- The most challenging questions related to Skill Category 5, Theoretical Relationships; 7% of students answered none of these questions correctly.
- AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism students generally scored best on Question 2, Experimental Design, Kinematics, earning slightly more points on it than on Question 1, RC Circuits.
- Question 3, Electromagnetic Induction, was generally the most challenging component of this year’s exam for students.
The Digital Exams
To support student access, different testing modes —paper and digital —were essential. To protect exam security, many different exam versions were necessary. Accordingly, to provide students with similar opportunities for success regardless of which version they took, each version of the exam had to be analyzed separately by psychometricians to identify its unique difficulty level so that standards for scores of 3, 4, and 5 could then be separately identified for each exam version. Analyses focused on:
- Differences in the testing mode (paper or digital). For sections of the exam that proved easier to take digitally, the digital versions require more points for each AP score. For sections of the exam that proved easier to take on paper, the paper exam requires more points for each AP score.
- Differences in the difficulty of specific questions. When exam questions prove easier, more points are required for each AP score, and when exam questions prove more difficult, fewer points are required on one version than another.
- The net result for this year’s AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exams is that most of the all multiple-choice digital versions were slightly more difficult than the traditional paper versions and one of the digital versions was slightly easier than the paper versions. Accordingly:
- Students taking one of the slightly more difficult digital versions needed to earn 1–2 fewer points to earn a score of 3+, depending on their version, than students who took the paper exam on May 3.
- Students taking the slightly easier digital version needed to earn 3 more points to earn a score of 3+ than students who took the paper exam on May 3.