The College Board used to publish a delightfully simple two-page guide to the AP Physics courses. It included a list of common topics -- each expressed in a few words -- a check box to indicate whether it was covered on the AP Physics B or C exams, and a percentage guide to how much of each exam involved each unit. Granted, teachers had to investigate further by reading many historical exams to understand exactly what aspects of each topic was covered. But the two-page summary was a critically useful starting point and quick reference guide.

When the education professors got their paws into AP Physics 1, the result was a pretty danged excellent exam... as well as impenetrable and poor communication about what the exam covers. The College Board will argue that the 150 page "curriculum framework" provides excruciatingly exact detail about the topics covered, the depth of coverage, and the tasks students will be asked to perform in conjunction with each topic. That's true. It's also true that no one really reads the Bible, a dictionary, or an atlas cover to cover and remembers every detail. The curriculum framework is a reference work, not a novel.

The College Board never released an official summary guide. So over the course of the year I've made my own, UNofficial summary guide to topics on the AP Physics 1 exam. (I swear, it's two pages on my computer in MS word... google docs doesn't upload the two-column formatting.)

I've listed all the topics below. Some important disclaimers:

(1) This is NOT a College Board Approved list! It's my own work, based on my own reading of the curriculum framework and the released exam.

(2) It is NOT comprehensive. That's the point, see? If you want comprehensive, read the ~~encyclopedia~~ curriculum framework. Please do not complain to me that my list didn't cover a detail that you left out of your course. (Those types of complaints are possibly why the CB didn't create a topic summary in the first place.)

(3) This list reflects my prejudices and topic coverage. If you find something big and important that I've left out -- and you will -- please comment or email me. I may add some things. On the other hand, you might think that something I've included is too detailed to be worthy of inclusion, or is too confusing for an overview. Please tell me that, too.

Okay, here's my list. On the last day in class, I spend 30 minutes going through it rapid-fire, explaining what I can and answering questions. Post a comment telling me how you use it.

GCJ

__Kinematics__
Definitions

Position-time graphs

Velocity-time graphs

Acceleration

Algebraic kinematics

Projectile motion

__Forces and Newton’s Laws__
Force and Net Force

Solving problems with forces

A free-body diagram includes:

Mass and Weight

Normal force

Friction force

Inclined Planes

Newton’s Third Law

gravitational force

gravitational field

Gravitational and inertial mass

Uniform circular motion

Force of a spring

__Impulse, momentum, collisions__
Momentum

Impulse

Conservation of momentum in collisions

Center of mass

__Work-Energy Theorem__
Definition of Work

Equations for different forms of energy

Vertical springs

Power

Rotational KE

__Waves__
Simple harmonic motion

Wave definitions

Equations relating frequency,
period, wavelength, wave speed

Transverse/longitudinal waves

Interference

Doppler Effect

Sound

Standing Waves

__N2L for Rotation__
Definitions

Relationship between angular and linear motion

Torque

Rotational
Inertia

__Angular momentum__
Equations

Conservation

Angular “impulse”

__Charge__
Smallest possible charge

Charge is conserved

Coulomb’s law for force between
charges

__Circuits__
Non-rigorous definitions of
voltage, current, resistance

Rigorous definitions of voltage,
current, resistance

Resistors in series

Resistors in parallel

Ammeters and Voltmeters

Power and Brightness

Kirchoff’s loop rule

Kirchoff’s junction rule

__Resistivity__
Resistivity is a property of the
material a resistor is made out of

Equation for the resistance of a
length of wire

What a great list! Thanks Greg!!

ReplyDeleteIt might be a little nitpicky, but shouldn't rotational kinematics be here, too? Rot. kinematics separate from N2L And angular momentum?

Thanks again!

~Mike

Angular momentum is there. On my fact sheets I had rotational kinematics under "relationship between angular and linear motion." Maybe I should add a line explicitly about rotational kinematics.

ReplyDeleteHi Greg,

ReplyDeleteGreat AP Physics 1 review book! Thanks for writing it.

Looks like there might be a typo on the top of page 116...

best

Jim