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Updates to the AP Physics 1 Curriculum


The College Board’s AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description was updated in the fall of 2021 to reflect that the AP Physics 1 exam will no longer test what were previously units 8, 9 and 10 (electric force and field, DC circuits, and mechanical waves and sound). The College Board explained the change by noting that those three units are sufficiently covered in AP Physics 2. This means that the AP Physics 1 exam will cover topics in Mechanics only. The current units listed in the AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description effective 2021 are

  • Unit 1: Kinematics
  • Unit 2: Dynamics
  • Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation
  • Unit 4: Energy
  • Unit 5: Momentum
  • Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion

Since its inception, the AP Physics 1 exam has had a particularly low pass rate, with an average of approximately 43% of students taking the exam getting a 3 or higher in the years 2015 (the first year the exam was administered) through 2020. (Archived data on AP exam score distributions can be found on College Board’s AP Program Participation and Performance Data page.)

To help address the low pass rate, AJ Tutoring now has a Mid-Year AP Physics 1 Test Prep program designed to focus on the first few units of the AP Physics 1 course. For students interested in the program, it is recommended to meet for three sessions either before the first semester final, between first and second semester, or at the beginning of second semester. Please reach out to your physics tutor or our client services team at 650-331-3251 ext. 5 or info@ajtutoring.com for more information about the program. 

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