BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In May, students took the Advanced Placement Physics C exam and received their scores over the summer. For the first time in school history, every student who took the Mechanics exam received a perfect score of five on the exam. What contributed to their great success?

AP Physics C, taught by Dan McGovern, is a course taken by students who have completed AP Physics 1 or AP Physics 2, as well as have completed or are concurrently taking a calculus class to enroll in AP Physics C. In his AP Physics C class, Mr. McGovern instructs a flipped classroom. Unlike traditional teaching methods, a flipped classroom allows students to learn the lessons at home and complete work problems during class. He introduced this teaching method in 2015, posting videos on his website and refining them over the years. 

According to Mr. McGovern, this teaching style contributes to the students’ success. The flipped classroom works because we provide a program in Physics 1 and Physics 2 that gives students such a depth of understanding that when you apply math to it, the leap to AP Physics C is not difficult at all.” Physics 1 and 2 are largely conceptual classes, which AP Physics C builds upon by introducing calculus. Due to the success of these courses, most students only need to work on tying in their physics knowledge with complex math. The flipped classroom allows just that, as students complete the hard problems in class and can ask Mr. McGovern or their peers for help. 

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Last year nine students enrolled in AP Physics C. Low enrollment required the class to be merged with a small AP Physics 1 class. Despite having two different physics courses during one class period, Mr. McGovern ensured the students that they would do well. For his AP Physics C class, he prepared them for both the Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism exam, which is sometimes taught separately at other schools. All nine of his AP Physics C students received a five on the Mechanics exam, and five of the nine students took the Electricity & Magnetism exam, also receiving fives. These students received college credit for their scores, which allows them to skip an introductory college Physics class. 

McGovern knows how much work it takes to succeed in his class. He said of his students, “They worked really hard last year. Their success really goes to show the dedication and the desire that those nine students had. I am incredibly proud of what they were able to achieve.” 

AP Physics C may be one of the most challenging AP courses, but that does not stop Governor Livingston students from succeeding on the AP exam.