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The Revised AP Physics 1 Exam For 2020

*Updated April 3, 2020

The College Board has modified the AP Physics 1 exam, and all other AP exams, in response to the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The AP Physics 1 exam for 2020 will be shorter, administered online, cover less material, and have a different format than previous tests. 

Here are the key changes you need to know to do well in the upcoming AP Physics 1 exam. 

Will I get AP credit for the modified AP Physics 1 exam?

Students who take the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam will be eligible for college credit, according to the College Board: “Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.”

As in previous years, a student must obtain a score of 3, 4 or 5 to be eligible for college credit. 

Source: The College Board

How long is the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam?

The online 2020 AP Physics 1 exam will be just 45 minutes long, instead of the three hours it took in previous years. 

What is the AP Physics 1 exam format for 2020?

The 2020 AP Physics 1 exam will be based entirely on free-response questions. There will be no multiple choice questions as there were in the past. 

For free examples of free-response questions, check here for the actual questions posed in the 2019 AP Physics 1 exam and here for those posed in the 2018 AP Physics 1 exam.

What device should I use to take the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam?

You can take the exam on any device you have access to, including a computer, tablet or a smartphone. You should make the determination of which device works best for you beforehand. 

You are also allowed to submit a photo of your handwritten work. 

What if I don’t have internet access?

If you need access to the internet or a working computer, contact the College Board here for help. The College Board is committed to making the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam work for all students: “We recognize that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, we will invest so that these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam.”

What will be tested on the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam? 

You will be tested only on material from Units 1 through 7, so you should be prepared to answer questions on these topics:

  • Unit 1: Kinematics
  • Unit 2: Dynamics
  • Unit 3: Circular Motion and Gravitation
  • Unit 4: Energy
  • Unit 5: Momentum
  • Unit 6: Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Unit 7: Torque and Rotational Motion

What will not be tested on the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam?

You won’t be tested on material from Units 8, 9 and 10.  

  • Unit 8: Electric Charge and Electric Force
  • Unit 9: DC Circuits
  • Unit 10: Mechanical Waves and Sound

Are exam question types and sample questions available for the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam?

The AP Physics 1 exam will consist of two questions, a Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (QQT) question and a paragraph argument short answer question. Check here for a description of the questions. 

You will have 25 minutes to read and respond to the first question and five minutes to upload your response. Then you will have 15 minutes for the second question plus another five minutes to upload your response.

What’s the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam date and time?

The College Board is offering two exam dates for each AP exam this year. 

The AP Physics 1 exam is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 at these times:

  • Hawaii Time: 10 a.m.
  • Alaska Time: 12 p.m.
  • Pacific Time: 1 p.m.
  • Mountain Time: 2 p.m.
  • Central Time: 3 p.m.
  • Eastern Time: 4 p.m.

The AP Physics 1 make-up exam will be held on Tuesday, June 2 at these times:

  • Hawaii Time: 8 a.m.
  • Alaska Time: 10 a.m.
  • Pacific Time: 11 a.m.
  • Mountain Time: 12 p.m.
  • Central Time: 1 p.m.
  • Eastern Time: 2 p.m.

Is the College Board offering any free AP Physics 1 exam review courses? 

The College Board is committed to make free resources available to students through exam day.

Starting on March 25, live classes and recordings delivered by AP teachers from across the country will be available on the AP YouTube channel. You can find the daily course schedule here

What are my other options for preparing for the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam?

If you don’t have an AP Physics 1 review book already and can’t get it on time through Amazon, which has recently confirmed that even Amazon Prime deliveries of non-essential goods could be delayed a month, try eBay or other alternate sources. 

And don’t worry if you have problems getting your book delivered early enough to help you with your prep. There are online resources that you can use to help you prepare for the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam. 

Khan Academy 

In partnership with the College Board, Khan Academy provides an official AP Physics 1 course that comes with free instructional videos, articles, and practice exercises created by current and former AP teachers. In addition, Khan Academy offers free exam skills and strategies.

Fiveable

In line with its mission to create inclusive and social learning experiences available to every student, Fiveable has a rich resource of free videos, trivia and study guides for the AP Physics 1 exam. Fiveable doesn’t have one that’s just for the AP Physics 1 exam.

In addition, Fiveable is offering a Cram Pass for just $35 per AP exam. This fee is further reduced when you purchase more Cram Passes — $50 for two AP exams and $60 for three AP exams. On top of that, students get a 10% discount with a special TUN coupon — just enter “TUN10%” as your coupon code upon checkout.

Fiveable also offers financial aid for students who can’t afford a Cram Pass. 

The Cram Pass includes 10 live-streamed lessons or cram sessions, which are about an hour long but may sometimes be longer if there are extra questions from students, downloadable replays, and practice prompts and feedback. Also, the night before the exam, Fiveable will host a live open forum Q&A to help students prepare. Fiveable cram teachers will tailor their sessions to align with the changes in the 2020 AP Physics 1 exam. 

For now, cram sessions are scheduled for every Monday at 7 p.m., starting on March 30. Fiveable will add May dates once the College Board announces the test date and add five stream dates on April 3.

According to Fiveable, 92% of students who use Fiveable to help them prepare for their AP exams pass their exams with 70% earning a 4 or higher score.

Princeton Review

The Princeton Review offers a 6-Hour Cram AP Cram Course for the AP Physics 1 exam. The course covers topics on Newtonian mechanics (work, energy, and powe), mechanical waves and sound, and more. A Princeton Review expert will help you get ready for test day. 

The course, which comes with a book, can be ordered online for $149. For now, there are two available Cram Course schedules.

  • April 28 & 30, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
  • May 2 & 3, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

The Princeton Review also offers private tutoring, available both in-person or online, for a fee starting at $167 an hour. If you decide to go with this personalized option, expert tutors will work with you to “make a plan, set goals, and exceed them.” The Princeton Review guarantees that if you’re not 100% satisfied, you will be matched with another tutor and get your next lesson for free. 

If you’re taking more than one AP exam in 2020, check here for details on other revised AP exams.