Drawing Circuits

Simple Circuits

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

It is important to note: What is commonly called a ‘battery’ in everyday language is referred to as a ‘cell’ in physics. The term ‘battery’ is used when you have multiple cells combined. So, in your circuit, if you only have a single cell, use the word ‘cell.’ If you have multiple cells, you can use the word ‘battery.’

We call each part of a circuit a ‘component,’ which means that in the diagram above, both the lamp and the cell are components of 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

Below are some electrical circuit symbols that are important to remember.

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

  • Keep in mind that 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, straight lines are used to represent wires.


For a circuit to work, it has to be complete, meaning all the wires 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. In contrast, when the switch is closed (on), the lamp lights up because the circuit is complete.