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Are you searching for a 5️⃣ in AP Physics C: Mechanics? This exam is one of the toughest AP exams, but if you get a 5, there are immense benefits! In 2020, 40.9% of exam takers scored a 5. Here are a few tips to become part of that percentage 🤫
1. Know the Exam Format 📖
Before starting your preparation for the exam, it is important to know what is tested. Here’s an overview!
Section 1: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) 👆
Section 2: Free Response Questions (FRQ) 📝
Here is also a quick breakdown of what units are on the test:
Information from apcentral.collegeboard.org
|Unit||Topics||On the Exam|
|Unit 1: Kinematics||Kinematics in one dimension
Kinematics in two dimensions||14%–20% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 2: Newton's Laws of Motion||Newton’s laws of motion: first and second law
Newton’s laws of motion: third law||17%–23% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 3: Work, Energy, and Power||Work–energy theorem
Forces and potential energy
Conservation of energy
Power||14%–17% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 4: Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum||Center of mass
Impulse and momentum
Conservation of linear momentum, collisions||14%–17% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 5: Rotation||Torque and rotational statics
Rotational dynamics and energy
Angular momentum and its conservation||14%–20% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 6: Oscillations||Simple harmonic motion, springs, and pendulums||6%–14% of multiple-choice score|
|Unit 7: Gravitation||Gravitational forces
Orbits of planets and satellites||6%–14% of multiple-choice score|
As you look at the course content breakdown, you can see that there are some units you should prioritize over others. For example, since 17%-23% of the multiple-choice score focuses on Unit 2: Newton’s laws of motion, you should make sure you nail that section down 🔨
2. Don't Procrastinate (Study All Year)! ✏️
Prioritizing the AP exam throughout the year is important!
AP Physics C: Mechanics is one of the hardest AP courses, so preparation throughout the year is a must to get that 5! Start practicing the concepts early, and don’t procrastinate and cram the day before the exam 😖
Throughout the year, as you learn the units, try and practice these concepts a little more until you gain mastery. Your unit exams will help you in applying these concepts and practicing early on!
In short, if you study a little bit every day, you'll be one step closer to that 5, and it'll be worth it 😊
3. Practice, Practice, and Practice ✍️
As I said earlier, start practicing! Be consistent and set a timeline for yourself 📆 Through this, you’ll be able to be more comfortable with the exam’s format, especially the timing. Make sure you use questions and prompts from previous exams so that you’re able to build upon your knowledge of the material. This will help you review everything you know and have learned in terms of physics!
4. Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses 🔍
To do exceptionally well on this exam, you will need to know how you learn and what's best for you. As you learn, make sure you analyze both your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Know the FRQ Rubrics 📑✔️
Having a basic understanding of the FRQ rubric helps you greatly on the AP Physics C: Mechanics test, as the 3 FRQs are 50% of your test score. Make sure that you understand and can apply every aspect of this rubric on your test, as well as practice tests, to ensure you can get the highest score that you are capable of achieving. This is also very important as it is the same rubric that AP readers use to grade, which determines your score!
Some of these tips can help you start as you prepare for your AP exam! Remember to keep a schedule and balance your studying, as well as practice using real College Board tests and rubrics. Although this will seem intimidating at first, if you don’t procrastinate and start the review process from the beginning of the year, you’ll achieve your goal 🥳 You can definitely get that 5, but always keep in mind that the end score doesn't define you! Good luck, you got this 🤩