Many pupils are unable to connect an ammeter in a circuit correctly

Electricity and Magnetism


Many pupils are not confident using an ammeter to measure the electric current at a named point in a circuit diagram. This can be particularly challenging for students if the desired point in the diagram does not correspond to a specific wire in the real circuit.

Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

For more information, see the University of York EPSE website.

Resources to Address This

  • Using Ammeters (11-19)

    Source - Practical physics/  Electric circuits and fields/ Simple electric circuits / ...

    This practical activity gives students the opportunity to practice using ammeters to measure the current at various points around a simple electric circuit.

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  • Measuring electric currents (11-14)

    Source- SPT / El01PN05

    The electric current in one part of a circuit is measured with an ammeter, which gives a reading in ampere.  To take the measurement, a gap is made in the circuit and the ammeter is connected into that gap, so that the charged particles moving around the circuit must pass through the meter.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • McDermott, L. C. and Shaffer, P. S. () Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity. Part I: Investigation of student understanding. American Journal of Physics, 60 (11),


    Review sheet

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