AP Physics

AP Physics 1 Algebra-Based

Course Content

Unit 1: Kinematics

You’ll be introduced to the study of motion.

Topics may include:

  • Position, velocity, and acceleration
  • Representations of motion

On The Exam

10%–16% of exam score

Unit 2: Dynamics

You’ll revisit the concepts you worked with in Unit 1 to explore force, which is the interaction of an object with another object.

Topics may include:

  • Systems
  • The gravitational field
  • Contact forces
  • Newton’s First Law
  • Newton’s Third Law and free-body diagrams
  • Newton’s Second Law
  • Applications of Newton’s Second Law

On The Exam

12%–18% of exam score

Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation

You’ll build on your understanding of motion and force as you study more complex models of motion, such as the circular path of a satellite orbiting a planet.

Topics may include:

  • Vector fields
  • Fundamental forces
  • Gravitational and electric forces
  • Gravitational field/acceleration due to gravity on different planets
  • Inertial vs. gravitational mass
  • Centripetal acceleration vs. centripetal force
  • Free-body diagrams for objects in uniform circular motion

On The Exam

4%–6% of exam score

Unit 4: Energy

You’ll learn the definitions of and relationships between energy, work, and power.

Topics may include:

  • Open and closed systems: Energy
  • Work and mechanical energy
  • Conservation of energy, the work–energy principle, and power

On The Exam

16%–24% of exam score

Unit 5: Momentum

You’ll explore the relationship between force, time, and momentum and learn to use the law of conservation of momentum to analyze physical situations.

Topics may include:

  • Momentum and impulse
  • Representations of changes in momentum
  • Open and closed systems: momentum
  • Conservation of linear momentum

On The Exam

10%–16% of exam score

Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion

You’ll use the tools, techniques, and models you’ve learned in previous units to analyze a new type of motion: simple harmonic motion.

Topics may include:

  • Period of simple harmonic oscillators
  • Energy of a simple harmonic oscillator

On The Exam

2%–4% of exam score

Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion

You’ll explore the motion of an object rotating around an axis and you’ll study torque, the measure of a force that can cause rotational motion.

Topics may include:

  • Rotational kinematics
  • Torque and angular acceleration
  • Angular momentum and torque
  • Conservation of angular momentum

On The Exam

10%–16% of exam score

Unit 8: Electric Charge and Electric Force

You’ll begin your exploration of electricity by learning about the electric force and the properties and interactions of electric charges.

Topics may include:

  • Conservation of charge
  • Electric charge
  • Electric force

On The Exam

4%–6% of exam score

Unit 9: DC Circuits

You’ll continue your study of electricity by examining electric circuits and the interactions between current, resistance, and voltage.

Topics may include:

  • Definition of a circuit
  • Resistivity
  • Ohm’s law, Kirchhoff’s loop rule (resistors in series and parallel)
  • Kirchhoff’s junction rule, Ohm’s law (resistors in series and parallel)

On The Exam

6%–8% of exam score

Unit 10: Mechanical Waves and Sound

You’ll get introduced to the properties and behavior of waves that travel through a medium such as air or water.

Topics may include:

  • Properties of waves
  • Periodic waves
  • Interference and superposition (waves in tubes and on strings)

On The Exam

12%–16% of exam score

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Students considering an Advanced Placement course in physics have four options to choose from: AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and AP Physics C: Mechanics.

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