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Testing AP Physics B exam

  1. Apr 4, 2009 #1

    I just joined the forum since I have a few troubles studying for the AP Physics B exam. My school teaches only Physics I, which hardly goes into any detail of the topics covered in AP Phys B exam. To make it worse, they hardly touch fluid/thermodynamics and not much detail into optics/waves either. So, I basically have to teach myself everything.

    Still, just out of curiosity and to get college credit, I am the only one so far in whole school to take the Phys B exam. Our Salutatorian took it last year and that was it. So, I am feeling overwhelmed by the concepts and the depth of the subject.

    Basically, I wanna know that for the multiple choice part, do I really have to remember these 500 equations and how each law works and stuff? I basically get the concept and can explain it, but I am having problems synchronizing the formulas and laws.

    Can you all give me guidance on how to make this easier? By the way, my school uses the book Physics by Wilson Buffa and Lou. So, I am just literally reading off the book without doing much problems as they take too much time and it's too much. So I also need recommendation as to which book to buy for review after I am done. Princeton or Barron's?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2009 #2
    I have neither of those review books but I do have 5 steps to a 5 which seemed to help. I didn't take the exam last year but I was more or less in the class. There aren't 500 equations even though it might seem like there are now ;) Concepts will help a lot on the exam but a good portion of the multiple choice will require you to know equations. I would suggest working problems either in your book or in a review book. Working out the problems will help you remember the equations better :) And after awhile it'll be a snap.
  4. Apr 4, 2009 #3
    I was in a similar position last year- our class covered newtonian mechanics and EM, while thermodynamics, optics, hydrostatics, etc. were ignored. Now if you've taken AP's before, you already know that AP exams are curved significantly. For physics B, you can study a little extra, score 50-60% on the exam, and probably still get a 4. The number of topics covered seems like a lot, but the exam doesn't probe for a very thorough grasp of them.

    AP provides a 1-2 pg list of all pertinent formulas. If you've studied the topics, you should have no problem using these equations.

    Bad idea. You're wasting your time by brushing off the problems, and you'll be in trouble on exam day. If you don't have a lot of time each day, spend what you have on a section or two and do the problems.
    Princeton or Barron's? Get the book with the most problems. Presentation of material probably won't be significantly different.

    (AP's are pretty bad indicators of how well you know the material. Try to focus on learning and don't worry so much about getting a 5. Good luck!)
  5. Apr 5, 2009 #4
    Yes. I have that list of formulas but the guidelines say that they are only available for the Free Response part, not for the multiple choice. That's why I am concerned about the multiple choice so far.

    I would do that, but the only thing is I am taking 4 other APz along with AP Phys B: AP bio, AP stats, AP calc BC, and AP lit. And I haven't taken any APz before :| So it's just that I don't know how to find time for the problems, but if you say so, I will manage to do a few of the problems from the book and the Princeton/Barron's book.

    So do you have any tips for the multiple choice/free response?
  6. Apr 5, 2009 #5
    For the multiple choice section, make sure you know as many equations as possible, along with how to use them correctly. Concepts are very important but there will be many questions on the multiple choice section that will require you to have memorized equations. Also, I would suggest taking a few practice tests in review books to help prepare you for the types of questions that will be asked.

    On the free response section, college board helps you out by giving you an equation chart. However, this will only really be effective if you have a solid understanding of the concepts. This is where working a lot of problems will help you out. Again, I only suggest a review book because it'll contain practice tests that will help prepare you for the real AP exam.

    Also, in case you were not already aware, you only need about 60-65% of the points on the AP Physics B exam to make a 5. Hope that helps.
  7. Apr 5, 2009 #6
    How long have you studied so far? Have you taken any full length practice tests (each exam is about 3 hours long)? I would do as many problems as possible in the areas you are weak in. For the free response, I would go to the AP website and print off the old F/R questions from the previous years. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/calculus_bc/samp.html?calcbc"

    Not to sound negative, but the exam (at least Calc BC was) is pretty hard for most people. Don't count on getting 60% and getting a 5 without studying, unless you really, really know your stuff....With that being said, good luck :smile:.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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