To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP Physics 1 Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.
New AP Resources
This August, we’re introducing AP Classroom, with a suite of new resources designed in collaboration with AP educators that will help give students personalized feedback throughout the year. These include in-depth unit guides, personal progress checks and a dashboard to measure student progress, and a question bank of real AP questions.
AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description—Fall 2019
This is the core document for this course and is updated for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.
AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through classroom study, in-class activity, and hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory work as they explore concepts like systems, fields, force interactions, change, conservation, and waves.
Laboratory Requirement and Lab Notebooks
Laboratory experience must be part of the education of AP Physics students and should be included in all AP Physics courses. Colleges may require students to present their laboratory materials from AP science courses before granting college credit for laboratory, so students are encouraged to retain their laboratory notebooks, reports, and other materials.
Your updated course and exam description (CED) for the 2019-20 school year more clearly outlines all required course content and skills and defines how they will be assessed on the exam.
Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on six big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of physics. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students to make connections across domains through a broader way of thinking about the physical world.
The AP Physics 1 framework is organized into 10 commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.
Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
|Unit 1: Kinematics||10%–16%|
|Unit 2: Dynamics||12%–18%|
|Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation||4%–6%|
|Unit 4: Energy||16%–24%|
|Unit 5: Momentum||10%–16%|
|Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion||2%–4%|
|Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion||10%–16%|
|Unit 8: Electric Charge and Electric Force||4%–6%|
|Unit 9: DC Circuits||6%–8%|
|Unit 10: Mechanical Waves and Sound||12%–16%|
The updated AP Physics 1 framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called science practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like physicists.
Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
Exam Weighting (Free-Response Section)
|1. Modeling||Use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems||28%–32%||22%–36%|
|2. Mathematical Routines||Use mathematics appropriately||16%–20%||17%–29%|
|3. Scientific Questioning||Engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course||N/A||N/A|
|4. Experimental Methods||Plan and implement data-collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question||2%–4%||8%–16%|
|6. Data Analysis||Perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence||10%–12%||6%–14%|
|7. Argumentation||Work with scientific explanations and theories||24–28%||17–29%|
|8. Making Connections||Connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains||10–16%||2–9%|
AP and Higher Education
Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.
This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.
Meet the current Development Committee for AP Physics 1.