PhysicsLAB Course and Exam Descriptions
AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2

The information provided on this page was taken from the CollegeBoard's AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 Course and Exam Descriptions
Effective Fall 2018

AP Physics 1 Curriculum Map
Table of Information and Equations

Dynamics: Newton's Laws
Circular Motion and Gravitation
SHM: Spring-Mass and Simple Pendulums
Work and Energy
Rotary Motion: Kinematics and Dynamics
Electrostatics: Electric Charge and Coulomb Forces
DC Circuits: resistor combinations
Mechanical Waves and Sound

AP Physics 2 Curriculum Map
Table of Information and Equations

Fluids: Statics and Dynamics
Thermal Physics
Ideal Gases
Electric Force, Electric Field, Potential
DC Circuits: Resistors and Capacitors (steady-state only)
Magnetism and induction
Geometric Optics
Physical Optics
Quantum, Atomic, and Nuclear physics
These algebra-based courses and [their] exams are organized around seven underlying principles called the Big Ideas, which encompass the core scientific principles, theories, and processes of physics that cut across traditional content boundaries and provide students a broad way of thinking about the physical world.
  1. Objects and systems have properties such as mass and charge. Systems may have internal structure.
  2. Fields existing in space can be used to explain interactions.
  3. The interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces.
  4. Interactions between systems can result in changes in those systems.
  5. Changes that occur as a result of interactions are constrained by conservation laws.
  6. Waves can transfer energy and momentum from one location to another without the permanent transfer of mass and serve as a mathematical model for the description of other phenomena.
  7. The mathematics of probability can be used to describe the behavior of complex systems and to interpret the behavior of quantum mechanical systems.
Science practices describe the knowledge and skills that students should learn and demonstrate to reach a goal or complete a learning activity.
  1. The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
  2. The student can use mathematics appropriately.
  3. The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
  4. The student can plan and implement data collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question. (Note: Data can be collected from many different sources, e.g., investigations, scientific observations, the findings of others, historic reconstruction and/or archived data.)
  5. The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
  6. The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.
  7. The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts and representations in and across domains.
Exam questions are aligned to the learning objectives and associated science practices in order to assess students' ability to:
  • Provide both qualitative and quantitative explanations, reasoning, or justification of physical phenomena
  • Solve problems mathematically
  • Interpret and develop conceptual models
  • Transfer knowledge and analytical skills developed during laboratory experiences to design and describe experiments and analyze data and draw conclusions based on evidence.
Copyright 1997-2024
Catharine H. Colwell
All rights reserved.
Application Programmer
   Mark Acton