Drawing Circuits

Simple Circuits

When drawing a simple circuit, it will typically include a battery, a lamp and at times a switch, connected to each other. Something similar to the diagram below.

It is important to note! Although what is at the top in the image above is usually called a battery, in physics we call this a cell. As a battery is more than one cell, if you have multiple cells in your circuit, you can use the word battery but if you only have a single cell, use the word cell.

We call each part of a circuit a component. Which means that in the diagram above, the bulb and the cell are both components in our circuit.

If you always drew circuits like this, it would take too long and it can be difficult to draw. Instead, each circuit component is given a symbol, which makes it easier to draw circuits.

Below are some common symbols you will be required to use:

Electrical circuit symbols

Let’s look at an example of a simple circuit below.

  • Keep in mind, this circuit includes a switch

We can replace the circuit components with circuit symbols to create a much simpler diagram, which you can see below.

When drawing circuits, we use straight lines for wires.


For a circuit to work, it has to be complete. All the wires in the circuit must connect the components properly. Using a switch can allow you to connect and disconnect a circuit. If there is a gap in the wire, the circuit is incomplete and the lamp does not light up. This is the purpose of the switch.

When the switch is open (off), the lamp does not light up because the circuit is incomplete and when the switch is closed (on), the lamp lights up because the circuit is complete.