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.
Forces and Newton’s Laws
Force and Net Force
Solving problems with forces
A free-body diagram includes:
Mass and Weight
Newton’s Third Law
Gravitational and inertial mass
Uniform circular motion
Force of a spring
Impulse, momentum, collisions
Conservation of momentum in collisions
Center of mass
Definition of Work
Equations for different forms of energy
Simple harmonic motion
Equations relating frequency, period, wavelength, wave speed
N2L for Rotation
Relationship between angular and linear motion
Smallest possible charge
Charge is conserved
Coulomb’s law for force between charges
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 is a property of the material a resistor is made out of
Equation for the resistance of a length of wire