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Important Updates

2021 Exam Information
AP Physics 1 Exams will be offered on paper in early May and late May, and as a digital exam in early June. Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Physics 1 Exam will be full length and measure the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description (CED), giving students the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

The paper exams will follow the typical multiple-choice and free-response format given in the CED. The digital exam will take the same amount of time, but will contain more multiple-choice questions and fewer free-response questions. On the digital exam, students will answer free-response questions with a keyboard, rather than by hand. The digital exam app will include any symbols students would need to type their responses. Students taking digital exams will not be asked to draw or graph as part of their response – rather, these skills may be assessed by asking students to provide explanations about given diagrams or other stimuli. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

Educators and students will be able to practice answering a representative sample of multiple-choice and free-response questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available in early April. The best practice for the digital version of the 2021 AP Physics 1 Exam remains the existing multiple-choice and free-response questions.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 1 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

Exam Coverage Update
Note: Starting with the 2021 exam, Units 8–10 will no longer be tested in AP Physics 1. Units 1-7 will be represented on the AP Physics 1 exam in approximately similar proportion to their relative weights as indicated in the course and exam description.

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

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information, download the AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description (CED).

Encourage your students to visit the AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based student page for exam information.

Exam Dates

  • Event
    • WED, MAY 5, 2021, 12 PM LOCAL

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 1

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • Mon, May 24, 2021, 12 PM Local

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 2

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • WED, JUN 9, 2021, 4 PM EDT

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 3

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  

Exam Format

The AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam has consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

Note on 2021 exams: There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 1 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The AP Physics 1 digital exam will include:

  • More multiple-choice questions than the paper exam
  • Fewer free-response questions than the paper exam

Free-response questions will consist of familiar tasks that could appear on a traditional AP Exam, but they will be answerable with a regular computer keyboard and won’t require drawing or graphing. The digital exam app will include any symbols students would need to type their responses. All responses must be typed directly into the exam app. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

Educators and students will be able to practice multiple-choice and free-response questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available in early April.

Early May and Late May Exams (Paper) Early June Exam (Digital)

Section I: Multiple Choice

50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • Questions are either discrete questions or question sets, in which students are provided with a stimulus or a set of data and a series of related questions.
  • The section includes 5 individual multi-select questions (2 options are correct).

Section I: Multiple Choice

50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • Questions are either discrete questions or question sets, in which students are provided with a stimulus or a set of data and a series of related questions.
  • The section includes 5 individual multi-select questions (2 options are correct).

Section II: Free Response

5 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • This section contains 5 free-response questions of the following types:
    • Experimental Design (1 question)
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question)
    • Short Answer: Paragraph Argument (1 question)
    • Short Answer (2 questions)

Section II: Multiple Choice and Free Response

50% of Exam Score

 


Multiple Choice (25% of Exam Score):

25 Questions | 45 Minutes


Free Response (25% of Exam Score):

2 Questions | 45 Minutes

  • This section contains 2 free-response questions of the following types:
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question)
    • Short Answer: Paragraph Argument (1 question)

AP Calculator Policy

A four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is allowed on both sections of the exam.

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

2020 (Last Year’s) Free-Response Questions

Last year’s free-response questions are available in the AP Classroom question bank for teachers to assign to students as homework or in class, and do not require secure assessment using the LockDown Browser.

Sign in to AP Classroom to access resources including personal progress checks and a question bank with topic questions and practice exams aligned to the current course and exam.

To preserve the large number of new FRQs for teacher use, only teachers have access to the 2020 FRQs. If you are a higher education faculty member interested in seeing questions, please fill out this request form.

2019 Free-Response Questions

For free-response questions (FRQs) from the 2019 exam, along with scoring information, check out the table below.

Be sure to review the Chief Reader Report. In this invaluable resource, the chief reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the AP Reading leadership to explain how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.