AP® Physics 1 Units
A Guide to AP Physics 1 Topics & Concepts
The College Board® has made some changes to the number of AP® Physics courses they offer. There are now a total of three courses available, the first of which is AP Physics 1. It is the foundational course in AP Physics that is necessary for students who want to take up AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C in the future.
In this article, we’ll go over the AP Physics 1 curriculum. We’ll take a look at each of the AP Physics 1 units that you can expect to learn. In addition to this, we’ll also deep-dive into the AP Physics 1 topics and concepts that each of these units will teach you. With this, you will soon have a good understanding of what is taught as part of the AP Physics 1 course.
AP Physics 1 Course Overview
The AP Physics 1 course curriculum consists of two primary elements: science practices and course content.^{1} As you progress through the course, you will learn foundational physics principles. This course is designed to be equivalent to a first semester introductory course in physics at the college level.
Science practices form an integral part of the course and are prescribed to help you develop key skills to help with your study of physics. The course material consists of the main themes of study—the Big Ideas—and the units of instruction. Each unit is based on one or more of the Big Ideas and teaches a set of science practices.
There are a total of 7 AP Physics 1 units.^{2} Each unit teaches an array of AP Physics 1 topics and concepts to provide a well-informed introduction to the world of physics. And again, science practices are interwoven into each unit from the very beginning. (Note: This information is valid through Spring 2024 exams, as The College Board has announced that AP Physics 1 will experience an update to its units and topics that will go into effect for Fall 2024 exams.)
By the end of the course, students should be ready to take the AP Physics 1 exam. The questions in this exam assess a student’s knowledge of the concepts in the course as well as their science practice skills. Each unit and science practice has its own weighted score on the AP Physics 1 exam.
Let’s start by understanding what science practices are and the skills they develop.
AP Physics 1 Science Practices^{1}
Within this course, students engage with seven AP Physics 1 science practices, fostering crucial skills for effective study and practice of physics. These science skills significantly contribute to accurately interpreting and addressing questions in the AP Physics 1 exam.
Every AP Physics 1 unit teaches one or more science practices. Many of these practices are repeated throughout the course so students can become familiar with them. By the end of the course, students should not only be able to use these science practices on the exam, but also in their future study and practice of physics.
In Fall 2024, the AP Physics 1 science practices will remove any specific links between learning objectives and science practices, signifying a shift towards a more flexible assessment approach that allows for a broader range of questions that can test any learning objective with any science practice.
Here’s a detailed introduction to the 7 AP Physics 1 science practices (Spring 2024 only):
Modeling
(MCQ: 28-32%; FRQ: 22-36%)
Throughout this science practice, students learn to use models and representations to help solve scientific problems and explain various physics-related phenomena.
Skills you will learn:
- 1.1. Learn to create models and representations of natural or man-made systems.
- 1.2. Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems.
- 1.3. Learn to improve given models and representations of natural and man-made systems.
- 1.4. Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively.
- 1.5. Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain.
Mathematical Routines
(MCQ: 16-20%; FRQ: 17-29%)
This science practice enables students to use the right mathematical routines to solve given scientific problems.
Skills you will learn:
- 2.1. Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection.
- 2.2. Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines.
- 2.3. Learn to use mathematical routines to arrive at estimations of quantities describing natural phenomena.
Scientific Questioning
(MCQ: N/A; FRQ: N/A)
Develop the skill of scientific questioning to further investigate the concepts taught in the course. This science practice is not tested on the exam.
Skills you will learn:
- 3.1. Learn to pose scientific questions.
- 3.2. Learn to improve scientific questions.
- 3.3. Learn to evaluate scientific questions.
Experimental Methods
(MCQ: 2-4%; FRQ: 8-16%)
With this science practice, students learn how to plan, collect, and use data to answer a given scientific question.
Skills you will learn:
- 4.1. Learn to identify and justify the usage of a particular set of data required to answer a given scientific question.
- 4.2. Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question.
- 4.3. Learn to implement the data collection plan to collect the required data to answer a given scientific question.
- 4.4. Learn to evaluate the source of collected data to answer a given scientific question.
Data Analysis
(MCQ: 10-12%; FRQ: 6-14%)
Throughout this science practice students learn to analyze data and evaluate the provided evidence.
Skills you will learn:
- 5.1. Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set.
- 5.2. Learn to use data analysis to improve measurements and observations.
- 5.3. Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question.
Argumentation
(MCQ: 24-28%; FRQ: 17-29%)
This science practice teaches students how to effectively use scientific explanations and theories.
Skills you will learn:
- 6.1. Learn to justify claims with substantial evidence.
- 6.2. Learn to explain scientific phenomena using evidence that is gathered using various science practices.
- 6.3. Learn to explain why certain scientific explanations may be improved or changed.
- 6.4. Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena.
- 6.5. Learn to explore and evaluate possible other scientific explanations for a given situation.
Making Connections
(MCQ: 10-16%; FRQ: 2-9%)
Through this science practice, students develop the necessary skills required to use their knowledge across scales, concepts, and representations to make valid connections.
Skills you will learn:
- 7.1. Learn to make connections across spatial and temporal scales with regard to certain phenomena and models.
- 7.2. Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains.
5 Big Ideas in AP Physics 1^{2}
Simply put, the big ideas are the foundational themes upon which each AP Physics 1 unit is built. This helps develop an understanding of the various concepts taught throughout the course. Each Big Idea is repeated throughout the course in various units so students can see how various concepts are interlinked.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these big ideas.
Big Idea 1: Systems (SYS)^{1}
Every system and object has internal structures, and each displays properties like mass and charge.
The units based on this big idea are: Dynamics, and Circular Motion & Gravitation
Big Idea 2: Fields (FLD)^{1}
Interactions can be explained using fields found in a particular space.
The units based on this big idea are: Dynamics, and Circular Motion & Gravitation
Big Idea 3: Force Interactions (INT)^{1}
Forces can be used to articulate inter-object interactions.
The units based on this big idea are: Kinematics, Dynamics, Circular Motion & Gravitation, Energy, Momentum, Simple Harmonic Motion, and Torque & Rotational Motion.
Big Idea 4: Change (CHA)^{1}
Changes in systems are caused by inter-system interactions.
The units based on this big idea are: Kinematics, Dynamics, Circular Motion & Gravitation, Energy, Momentum, and Torque & Rotational Motion.
Big Idea 5: Conservation (CON)^{1}
Constraints in changes caused due to interactions are a result of constraint laws.
The units based on this big idea are: Energy, Momentum, Simple Harmonic Motion, and Torque & Rotational Motion.
Now that you have a better understanding of the science practices and ideas that form the basis of all AP Physics 1 units, let’s break down each unit and the topics you will learn.
AP Physics 1 Units and Topics^{1}
AP Physics 1 currently has a total of 7 units in the course.^{2} Each unit is further divided into smaller sections known as AP Physics 1 topics that allow for easy learning. These topics will teach you foundational physics concepts related to the main unit. Effective Fall 2024, these units and topics will be updated.^{5} In this section, we’ll look at each of these units, their weights in the final AP Physics 1 exam, and their related topics.
Units and Topics (Spring 2024 exam only)
(Note: In Fall 2024, the AP Physics 1 will undergo significant changes to align with the College Board’s revised course framework. With the addition of an eighth unit on Fluids from AP Physics 2 to AP Physics 1, students can expect an expanded curriculum. Notably, there will be an integration of connections between rotational and translational motion, inclusion of specific learning objectives related to power, and the incorporation of equations for objects in simple harmonic motion.)
Unit 1 – Kinematics
Exam Weighting: 12–18%^{2} | Class Periods: 19–22
Unit 1 initiates students into the study of motion, forming the basis for the entire course. The primary focus lies in comprehending acceleration and utilizing diverse forms of representation to scrutinize scientific information concerning object movement. The unit delves into kinematics, instructing students on illustrating motion, encompassing both uniform and accelerating scenarios, utilizing narratives, graphs, and mathematical methods. Students engage in predicting motion, validating assertions with evidence, and cultivating core scientific methodologies. Here are the topics, big ideas, and science practices for this unit:
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 3: INT | 1.1 | Position, Velocity, and Acceleration | 1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
Big Idea 4: CHA | 1.2 | Representations of Motion | 1.2 | Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
2.3 | Learn to use mathematical routines to arrive at estimations of quantities describing natural phenomena. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. |
Unit 2 – Dynamics
Exam Weighting: 16–20%^{2} | Class Periods: 21–24
Unit 2 introduces students to the concept of force, illustrating interactions between objects. It falls within the field of dynamics and utilizes forces as a means to comprehend diverse physical occurrences. Expanding upon the foundation set in Unit 1, students grasp the representation of interactions between objects and forces, using a range of mediums such as graphs and equations in this unit. Students also learn about mastering force equations and deriving novel expressions from fundamental principles.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 1: SYS | 2.1 | Systems | 1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
Big Idea 2: FLD | 2.2 | The Gravitational Field | 1.2 | Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
2.3 | Learn to use mathematical routines to arrive at estimations of quantities describing natural phenomena. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
Big Idea 3: INT | 2.3 | Contact Forces | 6.1 | Learn to justify claims with substantial evidence. |
6.2 | Learn to explain scientific phenomena using evidence that is gathered using various science practices. | |||
Big Idea 1: SYS | 2.4 | Newton’s First Law | 4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. |
Big Idea 3: INT | 2.5 | Newton’s Third Law and Free-Body Diagrams | 1.1 | Learn to create models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
6.1 | Learn to justify claims with substantial evidence. | |||
6.2 | Learn to explain scientific phenomena using evidence that is gathered using various science practices. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 3: INT | 2.6 | Newton’s Second Law | 1.1 | Learn to create models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 4: CHA | 2.7 | Applications of Newton’s Second Law | 1.2 | Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
2.3 | Learn to use mathematical routines to arrive at estimations of quantities describing natural phenomena. | |||
5.3 | Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. |
Unit 3 – Circular Motion and Gravitation
Exam Weighting: 6–8%^{2} | Class Periods: 8–10
Unit 3 expands the understanding of the physical world by employing models and representations to enhance the grasp of motion, specifically concerning gravitational and inertial mass. This module underscores the utilization of previously acquired knowledge and encourages innovative applications of these principles. While solving numerical problems remains important, this unit places a higher emphasis on utilizing mathematical representations to craft fresh models that more effectively elucidate natural phenomena.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 2: FLD | 3.1 | Vector Fields | N/A | |
Big Idea 3: INT | 3.2 | Fundamental Forces | 7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
Big Idea 3: INT | 3.3 | Gravitational and Electric Forces | 2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. |
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 2: FLD | 3.4 | Gravitational Field/Acceleration Due to Gravity on Different Planets | 2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. |
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
BIg Idea 1: SYS | 3.5 | Inertial vs. Gravitational Mass | 4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. |
Big Idea 4: CHA | 3.6 | Centripetal Acceleration and Centripetal Force | 5.3 | Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question. |
Big Idea 3: INT | 3.7 | Free-Body Diagrams for Objects in Uniform Circular Motion | 1.2 | Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
Big Idea 3: INT | 3.8 | Applications of Circular Motion and Gravitation | 1.1 | Learn to create models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. | |||
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
6.2 | Learn to explain scientific phenomena using evidence that is gathered using various science practices. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
Unit 4 – Energy
Exam Weighting: 20–28%^{2} | Class Periods: 22–25
Unit 4 introduces the foundational concept of conservation in physics and the notion of work as the catalyst for energy transformation. Similar to the above units, students use familiar and novel models and depictions to analyze physical situations, but with a focus on force and energy. As students’ understanding of energy deepens, particularly in relation to kinetic, potential, and microscopic internal energy, they begin to establish connections across different scales, concepts, representations, and academic disciplines like physics, chemistry, and biology.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 5: CON | 4.1 | Open and Closed Systems: Energy | 6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. |
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 3: INT Big Idea 4: CHA | 4.2 | Work and Mechanical Energy | 1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
Big Idea 5: CON | 4.3 | Conservation of Energy, the Work-Energy Principle, and Power | 1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. |
1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. | |||
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
Unit 5 – Momentum
Exam Weighting: 12–18%^{2} | Class Periods: 14–17
Unit 5 delves into the interaction between force, time, and momentum by engaging students in calculations, analyzing data, conducting experiments, and making predictions. This unit enriches students’ understanding of forces and stimulates a reconsideration of misunderstandings linked to Newton’s third law. Moreover, students establish connections between the conserved quantities of momentum and energy. Beyond solving mathematical equations, students gain knowledge about momentum conservation and collision results.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 3: INT | 5.1 | Momentum and Impulse | 2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. |
4.1 | Learn to identify and justify the usage of a particular set of data required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
Big Idea 4: CHA | 5.2 | Representations of Changes in Momentum | 1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. |
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
Big Idea 5: CON | 5.3 | Open and Closed Systems: Momentum | 6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. |
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 5: CON | 5.4 | Conservation of Linear Momentum | 2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. |
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
3.2 | Learn to improve scientific questions. | |||
4.1 | Learn to identify and justify the usage of a particular set of data required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
4.4 | Learn to evaluate the source of the data collected to be used to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
5.3 | Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
Unit 6 – Simple Harmonic Motion
Exam Weighting: 4–6%^{2} | Class Periods: 4–7
Unit 6 uses familiar tools, methods, and models utilized throughout the course to analyze simple harmonic motion. Students uncover the consistency of fundamental physics principles in new scenarios. Energy bar charts and free-body diagrams will become more prominent as students aim to identify suitable models for specific situations. This unit clarifies misconceptions about aspects like amplitude and period relationships to enhance students’ understanding of simple harmonic motion.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 3: INT | 6.1 | Period of Simple Harmonic Oscillators | 2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. |
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
6.2 | Learn to explain scientific phenomena using evidence that is gathered using various science practices. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 5: CON | 6.2 | Energy of a Simple Harmonic Oscillator | 1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
Unit 7 – Torque and Rotational Motion
Exam Weighting: 12–18%^{2} | Class Periods: 14–19
Unit 7 signifies the culmination of mechanical physics by introducing students to torque and rotational motion. Despite the heightened complexity, the consistent application of analytical tools in this unit builds on the units covered in AP Physics 1. While exploring torque and rotational motion, students encounter diverse methods for conceptualizing and modeling forces. Unit 7 emphasizes estimating quantities, characterizing natural phenomena and assisting students in comparing torque resulting from different forces across different contexts.
Big Ideas Explored | Topic | Science Practices | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
Big Idea 3: INT | 7.1 | Rotational Kinematics | 1.5 | Learn to study multiple representations and identify key elements in natural phenomena within a domain. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
Big Idea 3: INT | 7.2 | Torque and Angular Acceleration | 1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. |
2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
2.3 | Learn to use mathematical routines to arrive at estimations of quantities describing natural phenomena. | |||
4.1 | Learn to identify and justify the usage of a particular set of data required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
5.3 | Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. | |||
Big Idea 4: CHA | 7.3 | Angular Momentum and Torque | 1.2 | Learn to describe created models and representations of natural or man-made systems. |
1.4 | Learn to use models and representations to analyze and solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. | |||
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
3.2 | Learn to improve scientific questions. | |||
4.1 | Learn to identify and justify the usage of a particular set of data required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
4.2 | Learn to strategize a plan for data collection that is required to answer a given scientific question. | |||
5.1 | Learn to analyze data and identify patterns or relationships within the data set. | |||
5.3 | Learn to study data sets and evaluate the evidence outcome in relation to a given scientific question. | |||
Big Idea 5: CON | 7.4 | Conservation of Angular Momentum | 2.1 | Learn to identify the right mathematical routine to use to solve a given problem and justify your selection. |
2.2 | Learn to accurately use given quantities describing a particular natural phenomena in mathematical routines. | |||
6.4 | Learn to use scientific theories and models to make substantiated claims and predictions about natural phenomena. | |||
7.2 | Learn to connect foundational concepts in and across domains. |
AP Physics 1 Labs Outline^{1}
The integration of labs aligns with the objectives and learning goals of the AP Physics 1 course. Engaging in lab activities provides students with a valuable opportunity to enhance and hone their understanding of the subject. There are a total of 7 labs in the curriculum, and these include experiments on 1D and 2D kinematics, Newton’s second law, circular motion, conservation of energy, impulse, momentum, harmonic motion, and rotational motion. These lab investigations enable students to:
- Participate in the seven scientific practices
- Craft experiment blueprints
- Formulate predictions
- Gather and scrutinize data
- Employ mathematical procedures
- Construct interpretations
- Share research outcomes
To learn about these lab experiments in detail and to understand more about their significance in the AP Physics 1 curriculum, read our article on AP Physics 1 labs.
Now that you know everything about the AP Physics 1 course and exam description, it's time to start studying. Use UWorld’s AP Physics 1 practice test to prepare with hundreds of exam-like questions to understand what to anticipate on the exam. Our in-depth answer explanations can help you focus on your weak areas and get you closer to your target score.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the hardest topic in AP Physics 1?
Based on the last available detailed breakdown shared by the College Board, the most challenging topic on the exam was Science Practice 2, which focuses on Mathematical Routines.^{3} This practice involves the application of mathematical principles to solve physics problems. Specifically, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in algebraic manipulation, equation solving, and the interpretation of graphical representations.
How much of each unit is on the AP Physics 1 exam?
The following are the weights of each unit^{2} on the AP Physics 1 course through Spring 2024:
- Unit 1: Kinematics (12%–18%)
- Unit 2: Dynamics (16%–20%)
- Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation (6%–8%)
- Unit 4: Energy (20%–28%)
- Unit 5: Momentum (12%–18%)
- Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion (4%–6%)
- Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion (12%–18%)
Starting in Fall 2024, there will be the introduction of new units and topics, accompanied by adjustments in weightings.
What are the most important topics in AP Physics 1?
Unit 4, focused on Energy, constitutes a significant portion of the test (20%-28%), surpassing all other units. Notably, the next highest unit, Unit 2: Dynamics, accounts for 16%-20%. Therefore, cultivating a strong understanding of Units 4 and 2 could have a substantial positive impact on your overall score.
Which AP Physics 1 topics aren't in SAT Physics?
The College Board discontinued SAT Subject tests, including “SAT Physics” as of January 2021.^{4} The College Board made this decision to simplify the college admissions process and reduce redundancy with Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
References
- ^{1} (2020, Fall). AP Physics 1: Course and Exam Description . College Board. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from
https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-physics-1-course-and-exam-description.pdf -
^{2} (2023). AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based. College Board. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from
https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-physics-1-algebra-based -
^{3} (2021, July 27). AP Physics 1 Exam: 2021 Results. College Board All Access. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from
https://allaccess.collegeboard.org/ap-physics-1-exam-2021-results -
^{4} (2021, January 19). College Board Will No Longer Offer SAT Subject Tests or SAT with Essay . College Board. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from
https://blog.collegeboard.org/January-2021-sat-subject-test-and-essay-faq - ^{5} (2024, Fall). AP Physics 1: Course and Exam Description . College Board. Retrieved November 20, 2023, from https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-physics-1-course-framework-effective-fall-2024.pdf