Format of the New Exam

This year, the AP Physics 1 exam will look different than you were expecting. As we’re all on quarantine 😷 due to COVID-19, the College Board has decided to update the format and content of the test to fit an online testing format.

You’ll have 45-minutes to take the exam online and it will only cover units 1-7. If you have already studied content from units 8, 9, or 10, don’t stress! It’s all worth knowing. 

These units are on the exam. Click the unit to see the study guide! (new unit guides coming soon!)

1 - 🏃🏻‍♂️ Kinetics

2 - 🌀 Dynamics

3 - 🚀 UCM & Gravity

4 - ⚡️Energy

5 - 🏌🏻‍♂️Momentum

6 - 🎸 Simple Harmonic Motion

7 - 🎡 Rotational Motion

Not on the Exam:

8 - 💡  Electrostatics 9 - 🔋  Circuits 10 - 🔉Sound & Mechanical Waves

What will be on the test?

  • Two FRQs

    • Q1 = 25 minutes and will be 60% of your score
      • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (QQT)
    • Q2 = 15 mins and will be 40% of your score
      • Paragraph Argument Short Answer

  • Other info:
    • You should print or open the AP Physics 1 formula sheet
    • Calculators are allowed, but not required

When is the exam and how do I take it?

May 14 @ 4p Eastern! Wherever you are in the world, this is the time you’ll take the test. Unless you have been approved for the make-up date in June, but only your school can request that. You’ll take the test online. There will be a practice simulation posted by College Board within the next few weeks.

How do I prepare for the exam?

With so many school closures and the stress of a global pandemic, this review season will be different than usual. If this is your first AP exam, welcome! Don’t worry, it’s not usually this chaotic. 

We’ve put together this plan for you to follow between now and May. This will cover all of the units and leave you time to practice questions before test day. Some classes may have done units out of chronological order throughout the year, which is ok. The units don’t have to be taught in order. If you are learning new material on your own and need some help, use the chat bubble on http://fiveable.me. We’ll answer any questions you may have. 

What resources does this study plan use?

All of the required resources are free. You’ll need to create a free Fiveable account to jump in. We’ve also linked a few other websites, articles, and YouTube videos that you can access for free. Some of the suggested resources include paid products. There are some documentaries that you can find on streaming sites with a paid membership and we’ll also list streams and practice questions that require a paid cram pass on Fiveable.


Pre-Work: Set-Up your study environment

Before we begin, take some time to get organized. Remote learning can be great, but it also means you’ll need to hold yourself accountable more than usual. 

🖥 Create a study space. Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space. 

📚 Organize your study materials. Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get your self set up!

📅 Plan designated times for studying. The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.

🏆 Decide on an accountability plan. How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!


🏃🏻‍♂️ Unit 1: Kinematics

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways:

Unit 1 is focused on the basics of motion. Describing how an object moves in a straight line, and projectile motions. Also, key ideas such as slopes and areas of a graph are used to change from displacement to velocity to acceleration and back. While this topic does stand on its own fairly well, you’ll often see projectile motion questions attached to the end of an FRQ from a different unit.

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


🌀 Unit 2: Dynamics

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways:

Unit 2 focuses on why of motion. Describing what makes an object move or change its motion. Key concepts include Newton’s 3 Laws, especially his 2nd Law, friction and trigonometry. This unit is one of the big 5 topics that usually (always?) show up in FRQ sections. The skills learned in Unit 2 also are foundational to success in future units.

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


🚀 Unit 3: Uniform Circular Motion & Gravity

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways:

Unit 3 takes the ideas learned from Unit 2 and applies them to objects moving in a circular path with a constant speed. Combining this with Newton’s Law of Gravity, lets us solve problems involving planetary orbits and satellites, as well as describing changes in weight when we move from one location to another. Similar to Unit 1, these concepts are often embedded into other FRQ and rarely are asked in stand alone questions.

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


⚡️ Unit 4: Energy

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways:

Unit 4 is another vital unit in terms of the AP exam. The skills and ideas learned here will show up again and again in Unit 5-7. In addition, there is ALWAYS a FRQ that is solvable by using the energy concepts. Key concepts that you need to be comfortable doing include: applying the Law of Conservation of Energy to a variety of problems, defining systems, and calculating the work done to or done by a system.

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


🏌🏻‍♂️ Unit 5: Momentum

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways: 

Unit 5 introduces the idea of the Law of Conservation of Momentum. This lets us describe and calculate masses, velocities, and energies before and after collisions or explosions. This unit draws on many of the skills learned in Unit 4, especially the concept of kinetic energy. Be sure you know how to apply the conservation laws. As far as FRQs go, momentum questions can be stand-alone, but are often incorporated into questions involving forces (Unit 2) or energy (Unit 4).

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


🎸 Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways: 

Unit 6 focuses on the concept of periodic motion, a motion that repeats over and over with in a set time. Two commonly used examples of this are a mass oscillating on a spring and a pendulum swinging with a small angle. In analyzing these two systems, we’ll draw on Forces (Unit 2), Energy (Unit 4) as well as some trigonometry. Be sure you know how to calculate period and frequency as well. Regarding FRQs, SHM topics are often embedded into questions regarding Energy, but could be done as a stand-alone as well.

 

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:


🎡 Unit 7: Rotation

🌶️ Join the live cram stream: Review live with Peter Apps. 🎥 Sign up here!

Big takeaways: 

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the last unit on this year’s AP exam! Unit 7 takes all the concepts we’ve covered so far in Units 1-6 and applies them to solving problems involving rotating objects. You’ll need to be able to calculate angular distance, velocity and acceleration (Unit 1), torques (Unit 2, Unit 3), Rotational Kinetic Energy (Unit 4), Angular Momentum (Unit 5), and Period / Frequencies (Unit 6). Because there are so many connections to the previous units, FRQ’s from Unit 7 are robust enough to stand on their own, and will often only focus on a small subset of the skills from this Unit. Often times, these subsets are either Torque & Forces, or Energy. Some of the other skills such as Angular Momentum can be combined with the planetary motion questions from Unit 3.

Definitely do this:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

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