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After reading this section you will be able to do the following:

  • Explain what a series/parallel circuit is and what components are needed to complete it.
  • Construct a series/parallel circuit.

When we have a circuit in which some of the components are in series and others are in parallel, we have a series/parallel circuit.

Try building a series/parallel circuit

Notice in this series/parallel circuit that the resistors R1, the switch, the battery, and the ammeter are in series with each other while resistors R2 and R3 are in parallel with each other. We might also say that the R2/R3 combination is in series with the rest of the components in this circuit. This is a very common circuit configuration. Many circuits have various combinations of series and parallel components.

If we apply Ohm’s law to any of these series or parallel circuits, we can calculate the current flowing at any point in the circuits.


  1. Some circuits contain series and parallel components. These are called series/parallel circuits.