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AP Physics

This course can help prepare students who wish to continue their social sciences education after high school, as well as students who wish to perform exceptionally well on the SAT exam. The level of aptitude in this subject will assist students wishing to excel on the SAT and in college courses.

AP Physics is a course designed to provide a systematic introduction to the main principles of Physics. It will help students gain a conceptual understanding of different subject matter as well as develop problem solving skills using Algebra and Trigonometry. Most colleges treat Physics as a full year course, so the course load might be more extensive than other AP classes. Students in other majors may use an AP Physics course to bypass taking other science classes while enrolled in college. Before taking an AP Physics class, students should have a firm grasp of mathematical terms and functions. It is recommended that students take at least one Algebra class and have some experience dealing with trigonometry.


AP Physics includes two, separate examinations that are offered as part of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program.

AP Physics B is a science course that is separated into five different sections of study: Newtonian Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics, Waves and Optics, and Atomic and Nuclear Physics.

AP Physics C focuses on Newtonian Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism. Use of calculus in problem solving and in derivations is expected.

According to the College Board’s website, AP Physics focuses primarily on four areas of study with their AP Physics coursework. These four areas are:

  • Physics knowledge: Students will acquire basic knowledge of the discipline of physics, including phenomena, theories and techniques, concepts, and general principles.
  • Physics Problem Solving: Students will gain the ability to ask physical questions and to obtain solutions to physical questions as well through the use of qualitative and quantitative reasoning and by experimental investigation.
  • Student Attributes: Fostering of important student attributes, including appreciation of the physical world and the discipline of physics, curiosity, creativity, and reasoned skepticism.
  • Connections: Students will begin understanding connections between physics and other disciplines and to societal issues as well.

Students will also:

  • Work heavily with math (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry) in connection to the laws of physics, solving problems through the use of equations and the scientific process.
  • Read, understand, and explain the sequence of steps in the analysis of a particular physical phenomena or problem, interpreting results and conclusions and discussing particular cases of interest.
  • Students will work on being able to design experiments; observe and measure real phenomena; organize, display, and critically analyze data; draw inferences from observed data; communicate results, including suggested ways to improve experiments and proposed questions for further study.
  • Students will become more comfortable using study notes as well as other study techniques in conjunction with the use of various textbooks such as Physics: Principles with Application and College Physics.

Students considering taking AP Economics or any other AP course should recognize that taking an advanced college course will require more time and effort than the average high school class. Students that are willing to put in the proper amount of effort into their classes, however, will see a definite payoff in their GPA, exam scores, and preparedness for college. Not only do Advanced Placement courses look excellent on high school transcripts, they will also help student to develop strong study skills and time management habits.

Students that wish to take an AP course should visit with their counselor for more information about what course will suit them and what certain courses require. Students might also want to consider taking a look at certain courses’ syllabi to make sure that they will be able to devote the proper amount of time to the course’s workload. The sooner a student chooses to make the most of their education, the sooner they will see the rewards!

You will find a variety of different Physics resources here including Physics notes and outlines. We will be adding vocabulary, formulas, practice quizzes, free reponse questions, and other physics study guides to the site shortly.

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