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21 April 2009

Fundamentals quiz based on the 2008 AP Physics B exam

This time of year, many of us who teach AP Physics are giving last year's free response as a practice test. Great... but don't stop there. Make your students correct what they got wrong.

Below is a "fundamentals quiz" based on the 2008 free response exam. I can't post the original questions due to copyright issues, but you can find them here:

After my class took this test, and after they did corrections, I designed this quiz. All of the quiz questions speak to raw recall issues -- no problem solving, just general facts and techniques that must be memorized. Try this!

(a) Two blocks collide and bounce off one another. What quantities are definitely conserved? Circle all that apply.

Kinetic energy momentum velocity force

(b) What does it mean for a quantity to be conserved?

(c) Define an elastic collision.

(a) When a problem involves two interacting objects, how many free body diagrams must be drawn in order to use Fnet = ma?

(b) When a problem involves a changing net force, kinematics cannot be used. What do you use instead?

(c) Which of the following expressions represents the net force on the right-hand block on the flat surface above? Choose one and explain

o 4.0 N - Fspring
o 4.0 N
o Fspring
o Zero

(d) The blocks in the diagram above move with constant acceleration. Are they in equilibrium? Explain.

3. There are three right hand rules for magnetism. State the equation associated with each, and what quantity the right hand rule is used to find.

EQUATION This RHR finds the direction of what quantity?
RHR #1
RHR #2
RHR #3

4. (a) A ball is launched at a 30o angle with a 15 m/s horizontal velocity. What is the initial speed of the ball?

(b) What is the speed of the ball at the peak of the ball’s flight?

(c) When is the equation P = Po + ρgh valid?

(d) Where is the pressure in this fluid stream largest? Choose one.
0 at the peak of the flight
0 at the fountain’s opening
0 when the water hits the table
0 none of the above, the pressure is the same everywhere

5. Consider the first law of thermodynamics.
(a) What does the variable W mean? How do you find it from a PV diagram?
(b) What does the variable Q mean? How do you find it from a PV diagram?
(c) What does the variable ΔU mean? How do you find it from a PV diagram?

6. (a) What kind of mirror(s) can produce either a real OR virtual image?
(b) What kind of mirror(s) can produce a reduced image?
(c) What kind of mirror has a positive focal length?

7. Which equation below can be used to calculate the kinetic energy of an electron? Explain briefly why the choice you eliminated is incorrect.

E = ½mv2
E = pc

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