How long is, and how many sections comprise, the AP Physics exam?
The AP Physics exam is 3 hours long (plus break between sections) and has two 90 minute sections.
What type of sections come on Test Day?
Section 1 is a multiplechoice section.
Section 2 is a freeresponse section.
What percent of the total score does each section comprise?
Exactly 50% of the total score is contributed from each section.
How many questions total, and what type, are there in section I?
70 questions total in section I.
All of the section I questions will be multiplechoice, and cover the entire range of physics content.
How many questions total, and what type, are there in section II?
67 questions total in section II.
Section II consists of longer and shorter free responses. Long free responses are estimated at 17 minutes each, and short free responses at 11 minutes each.
How long are the sections?
Both sections are 90 minutes.
Is there a penalty for guessing on the multiple choice portion?
No penalty for guessing.
All questions on the AP Physics test are worth the same value: 1 raw point if correct, 0 raw points if incorrect.
How is the Free Response section scored?
The free response section is scored at the annual AP Reading held during the first two weeks in June. Specially appointed college professors and experienced AP teachers evaluate freeresponse answers and set standard score values.
What is the score range and what does that correlate to?
5 Extremely well qualified*
4 Well qualified*
3 Qualified
2 Possibly qualified
1 No recommendation**
*Most schools accepting AP credit will offer full credit for either a 4 or a 5 score.
**No schools accepting AP credit will offer full credit for a score of 1.
What is the average (50th percentile) score of students in 2012?
Mean score in 2012 was a 2.93.
Note: many schools do not accept a score of 3 for full college credit, as that is too close to the mean national score.
How does the final score get determined?
During scoresetting sessions composite scores are translated into AP scores by setting boundaries for each score based on a statistical technique called equating.
Equating relates an AP Exam from one year to an AP Exam from another year by looking at how well AP students performed on a set of multiplechoice questions that is common to both exams.
When can I use a calculator, and what kind can it be?
Only during section II.
Calculators are not permitted on the multiplechoice section.
Any standard multifunction calculator, or graphing calculator may be used.
The memory does NOT have to be cleared prior to or after the exam, though a proctor may ask to verify that no additional equations/data are stored there.
What calculators are NOT permitted on the AP test, for any reason, on any section?
Calculators that are not permitted are
 PowerBooks and portable/handheld computers;
 electronic writing pads or peninput/stylusdriven devices (e.g., Palm, PDAs, Casio ClassPad 300);
 pocket organizers; models with QWERTY (i.e., typewriter) keypads (e.g., TI92 Plus, Voyage 200);
 models with paper tapes;
 models that make noise or “talk”;
 models that require an electrical outlet; cell phone calculators.
 Calculators may not be shared between students.
How much time does the AP anticipate a question from section I should take to answer?
6090 seconds to answer a multiplechoice question.
If finishing exactly on time, each question will average to be 77 seconds.
The section II questions can be broadly chosen, but what two types of questions must appear?
Of the section II questions:
At least one will be a longer free response question, based primarily on content not tested in the multiple choice section.
At least one will be a shorter free response question, based on content that may have shown up in the multiple choice section.
What are the equation tables, and when can they NOT be used?
Equation tables contain the common equations used in physics. They are printed both near the front cover of the exam booklet and on the green section II inserts provided.
The equation tables are NOT permitted for use with the multiplechoice section. You may not bring your own equation table.
How much Physics content does the AP expect is known prior to taking the exam?
There are 18 general Physics categories, and 60 subject areas with multiple subtopic points in each.
The following cards highlight the main bulk of material that is expected to be known.
What percent of the test is dedicated to Kinematics, and what general topics does it test?
Kinematics comprises 7% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Vectors and Vector Algebra
 Displacement, Velocity, Acceleration
 Coordinates and Components
 Motion in 1 and 2 dimensions
What percent of the test is dedicated to Newton's Laws, and what general topics does it test?
Newton's Laws comprises 9% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 First Law (static equilibrium)
 Second Law (singly particle dynamics)
 Third Law (systems of 2+ objects)
What percent of the test is dedicated to Work, Energy and Power, and what general topics does it test?
Work, Energy and Power comprises 5% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 WorkEnergy Theorem
 Forces and Power
 Potential Energy and Conservation of Energy
What percent of the test is dedicated to systems of motion and momentum, and what general topics does it test?
System of motion and momentum comprises 4% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Impulse and Momentum
 Conservation of Linear Momentum
 Collision Types
What percent of the test is dedicated to Rotation and Circular Motion, and what general topics does it test?
Rotation and Circular Motion comprises 4% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Uniform motion
 Torque and Rotation
What percent of the test is dedicated to Oscillation and Gravitation, and what general topics does it test?
Oscillation and Gravitation comprises 6% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Simple harmonic motion
 Springs and Pendulums
 Newton’s law of gravity
 Orbits of planets and satellites
What percent of the test is dedicated to Fluid Mechanics, and what general topics does it test?
Fluid Mechanics comprises 6% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Hydrostatic pressure
 Buoyancy
 Fluid flow
 Bernoulli’s equation
What percent of the test is dedicated to Temperature and Heat, and what general topics does it test?
Temperature and Heat comprises 2% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Mechanical Equivalent of Heat
 Heat Transfer and Thermal Expansion
What percent of the test is dedicated to Kinetic Theory and Thermodynamics, and what general topics does it test?
Kinetic Theory and Thermodynamics comprises 7% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Ideal gases
 Kinetic model and Ideal gas law
 Laws of thermodynamics (first and second)
What percent of the test is dedicated to Electrostatics, and what general topics does it test?
Electrostatics comprises 5% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Charge and Coulomb’s law
 Electric field and electric potential
What percent of the test is dedicated to Conductivity, and what general topics does it test?
Conductivity comprises 4% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Electrostatics with conductors
 Capacitors and Capacitance
What percent of the test is dedicated to Electric Circuits, and what general topics does it test?
Electric Circuits comprises 7% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Current, resistance, power

Steadystate direct current circuits with
batteries and resistors only  Capacitors in circuits
What percent of the test is dedicated to Magnetic Fields, and what general topics does it test?
Magnetic Fields comprises 4% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Forces on moving charges
 Forces on currentcarrying wires
 Fields of long currentcarrying wires
What percent of the test is dedicated to Electromagnetism, and what general topics does it test?
Electromagnetism comprises 5% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Faraday's Law
What percent of the test is dedicated to Wave Motion, and what general topics does it test?
Wave Motion comprises 5% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Traveling waves
 Wave propagation
 Standing waves
 Superposition
What percent of the test is dedicated to Optics, and what general topics does it test?
Optics comprises 10% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Interference and diffraction
 Dispersion and the electromagnetic spectrum
 Reflection and refraction
 Mirrors and Lenses
What percent of the test is dedicated to Atomic and Quanta, and what general topics does it test?
Atomic and Quanta comprises 7% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Photons and the photoelectric effect
 Compton scattering and xrays
 Atomic energy levels
 Waveparticle duality
What percent of the test is dedicated to Nuclear Physics, and what general topics does it test?
Nuclear Physics comprises 3% of the test.
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/apphysicscoursedescription.pdf
 Nuclear reactions
 Mass–energy equivalence