AP Physics 1


Midterm exam review


The test will be worth twenty-points, significantly less than the standard one-hundred point test, but worth enough to encourage a good-faith effort.  It will include thirty multiple choice questions and two free response questions.


Below is some general advice:


- Bring two #2 pencils, a calculator, and the course equation sheet


- Understand that exam authors try to invent questions you’ve never seen before.  Don’t let this throw you.  The majority of questions can be addressed with a few fundamental theorems you should be comfortable knowing and applying.  You may want to write them down on scratch paper just as the test begins to serve as a reference.


s – v – a conceptual ladder                                                     (translating with slopes and areas)

Net external force equals mass times acceleration                (using free body diagrams)

Net external work equals system change in energy                (using energy pie charts)

Net external impulse equals system change in momentum

Net external force equals system mass times center of mass acceleration

Net external torque equals rotational inertia times angular acceleration


- Know that some of the wrong multiple choice answers are written to tempt incorrect intuitions (like the idea that a smaller object in a collision experiences a greater force).  If you need to decide between what your intuition tells you and what is true based-upon a physical law, trust the physical law.  But don’t go so far as to think, “Well, I feel like A is the right answer, so it can’t be A.”  That will just tie you into an intellectual knot.


- In the multiple-choice section, you may want to answer the questions in order of difficulty.  From easiest to hardest, they are generally:


1. questions with diagrams as answers

2. questions with diagrams in the question

3. questions with short numeric answers

4. questions with short answers


5. questions with long text

6. questions with answers of long text


- If stuck, it can also be helpful to cross-off answers that don’t make sense physically


- Note that the last few questions have two answers.