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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You’ll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports that launched in August, you won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching a new AP Physics 1 course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit a subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP Physics 1 unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Physics 1 course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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Designing Your AP Physics 1 Course


The AP Physics 1 course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory yearlong algebra-based college course in physics that includes a laboratory component. Your course should include topics in both classical and modern physics as indicated in the course and exam description.

Schools’ AP Physics 1 courses are typically designed to be taken by students after the completion of a first-year high school physics course. Knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is necessary. Graphing calculators are recommended (but not required) for use during the course and during the free-response section of the exam. Students are encouraged to keep copies of their laboratory work for use in determining college credit or placement.


Getting to Know the Course and Exam

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.

AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description

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.



Course Requirements

Use these resources to design your AP Physics 1 syllabus.


Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP Physics 1 curricular requirements:

  • The students and teacher have access to college-level resources including college-level textbooks and reference materials in print or electronic format.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the big ideas.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills related to the science practices:
    • Science Practice 1: Modeling
    • Science Practice 2: Mathematical Routines
    • Science Practice 3: Scientific Questioning
    • Science Practice 4: Experimental Methods
    • Science Practice 5: Data Analysis
    • Science Practice 6: Argumentation
    • Science Practice 7: Making Connections
  • The course provides students with opportunities to apply their knowledge of AP Physics concepts to real-world questions or scenarios (including societal issues or technological innovations) to help them become scientifically literate citizens.
  • Students spend a minimum of 25% of instructional time engaged in a wide range of hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory investigations to support learning required content and developing science practices throughout the course.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to record evidence of their scientific investigations in lab reports/notebooks (print or digital format) and present evidence of their scientific investigations through oral, written, and visual presentations.


AP Physics 1 resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level physics textbook (in print or electronic format) for individual use inside and outside the classroom. The textbook is supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has a copy of the most recent edition of a college-level physics textbook or other appropriate materials to support instruction.
  • The school ensures that students have access to scientific equipment/materials, all necessary resources, and adequate time to conduct hands-on, college-level physics laboratory investigations as outlined in the teacher’s course syllabus.

The list below shows examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Physics 1. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by the College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit.

The specified editions of the following textbooks meet the AP Physics 1 resource requirement. Earlier editions of these textbooks or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP curricular requirements if published within the last 10 years. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Physics 1 classroom, please consult the AP Physics Teacher Community.

These materials have been reviewed by Learning List. Inclusion on this Example Textbook List indicates some alignment to the course framework, however, it does not indicate that the material is aligned to 100% of the course framework. Learning List’s detailed alignment reports identify the specific learning objectives and practices to which each material is and is not aligned to help teachers use these materials more effectively. See the Learning List reviews of these materials or contact Learning List for more information.

  • Cutnell, John D., Kenneth W. Johnson, David Young, Shane Stadler. Physics (Physics 1). 10th edition. Wiley.
  • Ingram, Douglas and David Anderson. OpenStax College Physics for AP® Course 1. 1st edition. OpenStax.
  • Serway, Raymond A. and Chris Vuille. College Physics (AP Edition) 11th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning