Grade 11 AP Physics thoughts

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Hello fellow scienteers and mathematians :p, after talking with my computer science teacher (who I idolize ;)) I've decided to take AP Physics next year, he'd be my teacher for that course.

He wouldn't tell me what I'd be taught in that course, figures, since he's a teacher and all that jazz I didn't expect him to tell me, oh well.

So I was thinking if you guys had any guesses as to what he might teach us.

Here's the outline for the regular physics course next year, if it helps any:

Physics 30S includes a study of kinematics (the study of motion), dynamics (the cause of motion), momentum, work, power, energy wave theory, and an interesting treatment of sound and light. Gravitational, electrical and magnetic fields are also explored. The emphasis is placed on the acquisition of analytical skills required for problem-solving including trigonometry and vector analysis.

So, and thoughts?
 

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  • #2
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Well, assuming that the AP course follows the content of the AP test, you'll probably look into kinematics a lot more than in the regular course. Plus, you'll cover more rotations as well.

Expect to use more calculus, and in the E&M part, to solve more 3-dimensional problems. Vectors will play key roles, moreso than the regular class.

Probably most of the non-ap stuff, like waves, sound, light, and gravity will be not covered in detail.

I believe the college board has an "AP syllabus" which explains what is and is not on the test on their website.
 
  • #3
You're either taking an AP Physics B or C oriented course.
AP Physics B is probably slightly more detailed than the physics course you described, plus nuclear, atomic and a bit of quantum physics. (So little it'll hardly benefit you)

AP Physics C is split into two courses, mechanics and electromagnetism. I think you can guess what the two involve, but they use calculus whenever possible. (e.g. Gauss' law, Newton's second law, Biot-Savart Law, Maxwell's Equations...)

Both are pretty easy, but AP Physics B is more memorization oriented, in my opinion. (So much stuff is stuffed down your throat and you aren't given enough exposure to properly understand the topics)
 
  • #4
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jbusc: Well from what you say it sounds like fun, I'm doing really well in physics right now and am good with the vectors like velocity and acceleration, we just started momentum and impulse but thats easy enough right now. The 3-dimensional part sounds cool. My teacher gave me a little example of it using the Gradient including the x,y, and z axis' and it sounds really fun, seeing as how he can have a major in engineering, computer science, and physics I think he'll be an excellent teacher next year.

And for that non ap stuff you said, well I'm going to be taking regular physics as well so I'll be strengthening my regular stuff and also spending more time on the things they just touch base on in AP

Pseudo Statistic: Well my teacher said we would take a look at nuclear physics so I'm taking a guess that we'll be taking the B course. And I like math so I hope he includes a variety of the calculus course.

And pseudo, they may be giving us a lot to chew in this course, but it spands over a full year so I should get a good hand hold on it, seeing as from my progress in all my other courses, also seeing as how I can do like 6 step questions in like 3 minutes :p.
 
  • #5
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will this be your first physics course?

even if it is, it is do-able, but will be more challenging, naturally, than if it were not.
 
  • #6
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Brad Barker: Yah, this'll be my first time taking a physics specified course, but with the physics I've done in the past and how I'm doing in the present physics unit at the moment I'll be well suited for the course, including the homework load.
 
  • #7
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ok, so--from memory--here is a list of topics covered in AP Physics B.

but first! i will tell you from personal experience that you will need to memorize somewhere around two pages of equations if you want to get a 5 on the exam. i'm awful, personally, with rote memorization, so i got my familiarity with the equations by working problems and, when possible, deriving the formulas.


here goes!

MECHANICS:
kinematics in 1D
math stuff (trig, vectors)
kinematics in 2D
dynamics (huge topic with lots of problems)
work and energy
conservation of momentum (mainly collisions in both 1-and 2D)
angular kinematics and motion in uniform circular motion
angular dynamics
simple harmonic motion and wave motion

HEAT AND FLUIDS:
temperature, internal energy, basic ideas of kinetic theory
state functions, graphs, ideal gases
conservation of energy
concepts related to entropy (little math)
heat engines and efficiencies, the carnot cycle
archimedes principle and buoyancy
bernoulli's principle (little math)
conservation of mass
pascal's principle

ELECTROMAGNETISM:
coulomb's law and the electric field
potential, work and energy in an electric field
current, resistors, emf, series and parallel circuits (kirchoff's laws)
capacitors and capacitance
basic ideas of RC circuits (little math)
force on moving particles in a magnetic field
the biot-savart law
various magnetic field formulas for some shapes of current
electromagnetic induction, faraday's law, lenz's law, motional emf
concepts about the EM spectrum (know the different types and where they sit relative to each other)
geometric optics (mainly snell's law type of stuff)
physical optics (mainly double slit interference)

MODERN PHYSICS:
basic concepts of relativity, such as time dilation and length contraction (little math)
know about: the photoelectric effect,
the bohr model of the atom,
quantization of energy in the EM field,
the nucleus,
some elementary particles (maybe)

MISC.:
i've seen some questions about famous experiments and the like. you'll probably learn about some of them during class
 
  • #8
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Brad Barker said:
but first! i will tell you from personal experience that you will need to memorize somewhere around two pages of equations if you want to get a 5 on the exam. i'm awful, personally, with rote memorization, so i got my familiarity with the equations by working problems and, when possible, deriving the formulas.
Don't let them scare you. I took AP Physics B last year and found it to be the easiest class I had taken (While receiving A's and a 5 on the test). The most important thing you can do...understand. Everything in physics makes sense (until you get into quantum theory and the like...). The reasons for phenomena are logical and easy to follow if you understand WHY it is happening. If you know WHY things are happening, the formulas become logical also. There is no need to memorize anything for AP Physics B. Just pay attention, put in some effort, and I gaurantee your grades will be fruitful.

Paden Roder
 
  • #9
Don't let them scare you. I took AP Physics B last year and found it to be the easiest class I had taken
Seriously?:surprised I've just finished it and I thought that it was the hardest course I had ever taken.

Also, there's no calculus in it at all or at least you're not required to know it.
 
  • #10
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understanding is paramount, but there will always be some memorization.
 
  • #11
Brad Barker said:
understanding is paramount, but there will always be some memorization.
It's ok if you have a good teacher and if you do your work. If not, then you're screwed.
 
  • #12
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PRodQuanta said:
Don't let them scare you. I took AP Physics B last year and found it to be the easiest class I had taken
Me too. A lot of people in my class would beg to differ though... Also, pages of equations? Are you kidding me(directed to whoever said that)???? Half or more of them are just other equations in a different form. Also, they are very easy to remember if you do so much as 3 or 4 problems using them.


BTW, princeton review's guide to AP Physics B/C is very good. Also, the "memorization" isn't really memorization if you understand the stuff. If there are any equations which you do not understand, make sure to ask your teacher to derive them!
 
  • #13
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Schrödinger's Cat said:
It's ok if you have a good teacher and if you do your work. If not, then you're screwed.
I didn't have a teacher, it was an internet class. Still, the same rules apply: do your work and strive for understanding.

Paden Roder
 
  • #14
If there are any equations which you do not understand, make sure to ask your teacher to derive them!
I was never able to remember those damn equations, particularly the really strange ones.

On the AP Physics test, you have to memorize them for multiple-choice.

PRodQuanta said:
I didn't have a teacher, it was an internet class. Still, the same rules apply: do your work and strive for understanding.
Yeah. Did you take calculus before taking the course? Did it help?
 
  • #15
I've taken AP Physics B (in fact I'm taking it right now but the class is pretty much over). Its nothing to stress about, but it does give a lot of people a hard time. You should be fine if you like physics though.
I thought that the AP test was difficult, but I didn't have a very experienced teacher (second year of teaching). The free response was quite easy except that it featured a few items we didn't do in class (oops!), and it also had a lab question which was difficult for me since we didn't do any labs (again, inexperienced teacher!!). Other than that, most of the stuff was... as long as you know what its asking, you can pull out an equation, do the conversions, and get an answer. Some of the questions try to test your concept understanding, which shouldn't be difficult if you paid attention, and didn't copy your hw from someone else all year long.
In my case, I was seriously lacking in the concept section (ie: the multiple choice). We only focused on the free response, and so I just didn't have any experience with that kind of stuff. But looking back, I'd say with proper teaching and effort, it would have been quite basic. And like someone else has already said above, if you can see physics in your future, take Physics C, although you might have a Calculus prereq for it. More time on less material means deeper understanding and more fun.
 
  • #16
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Schrodinger's Cat said:
Yeah. Did you take calculus before taking the course? Did it help?
Yes and somewhat. It helped on how things were derived, but because it was physics B, there was not calc involved. Unfortunately, it was the highest physics offered at the time.

Paden Roder
 

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