Buy that special someone an AP Physics prep book, now with 180 five-minute quizzes aligned with the exam: 5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics 1

Visit Burrito Girl's handmade ceramics shop, The Muddy Rabbit: Yarn bowls, tea sets, dinner ware...

23 April 2011

2010 AP Physics B Exam Re-Redux

Times Square LED display, courtesy of
My class took the free response portion of the 2010 AP Physics B exam this week.  If you also teach AP, you're also likely completing or about to start the process of going over the 2010 exam somehow. 

By this point, I've trained my classes pretty well to focus all the way through a seven-question exam.  They know that they're only expected to get 60-65% of the points, so they relax and communicate their understanding.

Of course, that doesn't stop ME from hollering to the wall as I grade the exams.  No matter how much we discuss the issue, I still had 20-30% of my students adding electric fields as scalars on problem 3.  Point here:  I need to take my own advice, and let it go.  If I'm getting through to 70-80% of my students that electric fields are vectors, that's pretty good.  :-)

What next?  We still have two weeks until the real AP exam.  But with other AP exams cannibalizing my class attendance soon, I only have ONE week of effective teaching time remaining.  What will I do with that?

We'll do corrections to the 2010 exam, of course, and we'll keep doing practice problems from old exams.  At the end of the week, I'll give this fundamentals quiz based directly on the 2010 free response.  Take a look at the link, and feel free to use it for your class.  I've asked every recall question I can think of that relates to these questions. 

Obviously, the 2011 free response exam will be completely different.  I have no expectation that any of these same kinds of questions might show up.  However, any topic not on the free response will show up on the multiple choice.  And considering that even questions on similar topics often LOOK different to our students, I find it far more effective at this point to concentrate on fundamental facts rather than on problem-specific problem solving strategies.  

Any other thoughts about AP exam preparation?  Email me, and I'll post a Mail Time! 


  1. Thanks for the great resource and idea. I used it last year and am in the process of finishing it up this year. Do you let your students use the equation sheet for the fundamentals quiz above? I can argue both sides to myself and can't decide. Thanks.

  2. I don't let them use the equation sheet -- I emphasize all year that they have to learn their equations by heart. I do let students use an equation sheet on free response, because they get to use the sheet on the real AP exam. However, a fundamentals quiz often asks directly for an equation. They've gotta have those memorized.