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Important Updates

Course Coverage Update
Colleges agree that Units 8–10 can be removed from AP Physics 1 since they are covered in AP Physics 2; accordingly, Units 8–10 will no longer be tested in AP Physics 1, effective this year.

New AP Course Pacing Guide
This pacing guide (.pdf/200.2 KB), designed for classrooms that have only completed approximately 25% of typical course content by January, can help students develop their knowledge and skills by May. If your students are ahead of this pace, you’ll be able to incorporate additional days or weeks to spend more time on challenging topics, practice course skills, or begin reviewing for the exam. Please note, as per the coverage update above, that the pacing guide covers only Units 1–7.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Course Overview

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.

Course Content

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.

 Unit
 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%

Science Practices

The 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.

 Science Practice
 Description
 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 Development Committee for AP Physics 1.