Advanced Placement Physics B: Exam Details

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The exam is of approximately three hours and contain two sections-multiple choice and free response. Each section is comprised of 50% of the final exam grade.

Students can have the access on scientific, programmable, or graphing calculator for the free-response section and they will be given with tables of commonly used physics equations.

The following topics will be covered in the exam course:

  • Newtonian Mechanics (35%)
  • Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics (15%)
  • Electricity and Magnetism (25%)
  • Waves and Optics (15%)
  • Atomic and Nuclear Physics (10%)

Order and sequence of these concepts is just for the sake of guidance. Teachers will have the freedom on how they cover the topics in the concept outline.

Section I: Multiple Choice-70 Questions; 1 hour and 30 minutes

The questions of the section will test your knowledge and basic understanding of physics principles.

Total scores of the multiple-choice section will be based on the number of correct answers. Points are neither deducted for incorrect answers nor points are awarded for unanswered questions.

Section II: Free Response-6 − 8 Questions; 1 hour and 30 minutes

The free-response section aims to prove your skills and knowledge of the principles that should be applied-and how you should apply them-to solve a variety of complicated problems. General questions or laboratory-based questions can be included in the problems.

Questions may be there on:

  • Determination of directions of vectors or paths of particles
  • Draw or interpret diagrams
  • Interpret or express physical relationships in graphical form
  • Account for observed phenomena
  • Interpret experimental data, including their limitations and uncertainties
  • Construct and use conceptual models and explain their limitations
  • Explain steps to arrive at a result or to predict future physical behavior
  • Manipulate equations that describe physical relationships
  • Obtain reasonable estimates

Focus on such questions that will include the determination of physical quantities in either numerical or symbolic form and that may include the application of single or multiple concepts.

Laboratory-related questions may ask you to:

  • Design the experiments, that includes identifying of equipment needed and describing how it is to be used; making diagrams or providing descriptions of experimental setups; or describing procedures to be used, including controls and measurements to be taken
  • Evaluation of the data, including displaying data in graphical/tabular form, fitting the lines and curves to data points in graph paper, performing calculations with data, or from the given data making extrapolations and interpolations.
  • Rectify the errors through a process of thorough analysis, including the identification of sources of error and how they propagate, estimating magnitude and direction of errors, determining significant digits and ways to reduce error.
  • Interact and communicate the results, including inferences and conclusions from the experimental data and ways of suggestion to improve experiments or proposing questions for further study.

In the following section, credit for the answers will be based on the quality of the solutions and explanations shown, so write working notes wherever required. Some questions may be there that exclusively ask you to prove your answer or explain your reasoning. The analysis may be in the type of prose, equations, calculations, diagrams, or graphs.