AP PHYSICS 1The Exam

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Important Updates

New Course and Exam Description (CED)
In response to teacher feedback, the 2017 AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description (.pdf/6.7MB) is now a standalone document that is clearer and easier-to-use.The 2017 edition no longer combines AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2. While the scope, sequence, and course content for AP Physics 1 has not changed, the content outline in this edition is now arranged by topic and presented in a tabular format to more clearly show the relationships between big ideas, enduring understandings, learning objectives, and essential knowledge statements. For more information, see page 1.

  • Event
    • Tue, May 8, 2018

    AP Physics 1 Exam Day 2018

    • Noon | 3 hrs

Exam Overview

Exam questions are based on learning objectives, which combine science practices with specific content. Students learn to:

  • Solve problems mathematically—including symbolically.
  • Design and describe experiments and analyze data and sources of error.
  • Explain, reason, or justify answers with emphasis on deeper, conceptual understanding.
  • Interpret and develop conceptual models.

The Paragraph-Length Response (.pdf/70.5KB) and The Analysis of Experimental Uncertainty (.pdf/72KB) documents provide clarifying information about expectations for student work in AP Physics 1 and 2.

Encourage your students to visit the AP Physics 1 student page for exam information and exam practice.

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.

AP Calculator Policy

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

Exam Format

Section I

Multiple Choice — 50 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Individual questions
  • Questions in sets
  • Multiple-select questions (two options are correct)

Section II

Free Response — 5 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Experimental Design (1 question)
  • Quantitative/Qualitative Translation (1 question)
  • Short Answer (3 questions, one requiring a paragraph-length argument)

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions from prior exams, along with scoring information, check out the tables below.

The free-response questions from past AP Physics B exam questions are still available. Please note that AP Physics B has been replaced by AP Physics 1 and 2.

Be sure to review the Student Performance Q&A. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe 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.

Exam Resources