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AP Physics B 2005An Apex Learning Guide
By Kaplan Educational Centers
KaplanCopyright © 2005 Kaplan Educational Centers
All right reserved.
Chapter One: Inside the AP Physics B Exam
Before you begin studying for the AP Physics B exam, let's take a step back and consider the style and format of the exam to get the larger picture. Knowing the type of exam, how it is scored, and the stated goals for the course might help in focusing on how to prepare.
An Overview of the Test Structure
The AP Physics B exam is administered in May by the College Board's AP Services. It is one of two examinations given simultaneously in Physics: AP Physics B and AP Physics C. The AP Physics B syllabus covers a broad range of topics, and the test itself is not calculus based. The AP Physics C syllabus has two parts -- Mechanics, and Electricity and Magnetism -- and is calculus based. This text will help to prepare you for the AP Physics B exam, which is three hours long and is divided into two equally weighted sections:
Section I -- Multiple-Choice: You will have 90 minutes to answer 70 multiple-choice questions. Neither a calculator nor a formula sheet is allowed on this section, but a Table of Information is provided.
Section II -- Free-Response: The second section of the exam consists of 6-8 problems, each with severalsections, to solve in 90 minutes. You may use a calculator for this section, and both a Formula Sheet and a Table of Information are provided.
You may use a calculator only during the Free Response section of the exam, which is during the second 90-minute period. A scientific calculator is recommended, and graphing capability may come in handy. Any programmable calculator is allowed as long as it does not have a typewriter-like or QWERTY keyboard. Visit the AP Physics Website at collegeboard.com/ap/students/physics for more information about the AP Physics examination policies.
Topic Outline for AP Physics B
The AP Physics B exam covers the major concepts outlined below. Percents indicate the percentage of the exam (combined multiple choice and free response) represented by that topic.
Newtonian Mechanics (35%)
Motion in one dimension
Motion in two dimensions
Newton's Laws of Motion (9%)
Single Particle Dynamics
Systems of Two or More Bodies
Work, Energy, and Power (5%)
Work and Work-Energy Theorem
Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
Conservation of Energy
Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum (4%)
Impulse and Momentum
Conservation of Linear Momentum and Collisons
Circular Motion and Rotation (4%)
Uniform Circular Motion
Torque and Rotational Statics
Oscillations and Gravitation (6%)
Simple Harmonic Motion (dynamics and energy relationships)
Mass on a Spring
Pendulum and Other Oscillations
Newton's Law of Gravity
Orbits of Planets and Satellites (circular only)
Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics (15%)
Fluid Mechanics (6%)
Fluid Flow Continuity
Temperature and Heat (2%)
Mechanical Equivalent of Heat
Heat Transfer and Thermal Expansion
Kinetic Theory and Thermodynamics (7%)
Ideal Gas Law
Laws of Thermodynamics
Electricity and Magnetism (25%)
Charge, Field, and Potential
Coulomb's Law and Field and Potential of Point Charges
Fields and Potentials of Planar Charge Distributions
Conductors and Capacitors (4%)
Electrostatics with Conductors
Parallel Plate Capacitors
Electric Circuits (7%)
Current, Resistance, Power
Steady-State Direct Current Circuits with Batteries and Resistors
Steady-State Capacitors in Circuits
Forces on Moving Charges in Magnetic Fields
Forces on Current-Carrying Wires in Magnetic Fields
Fields of Long Current-Carrying Wires
Electromagnetic Induction (including Faraday's and Lenz's Law) (5%)
Waves and Optics (15%)
Wave motion (5%)
Properties of Traveling Waves
Properties of Standing Waves
Physical Optics (5%)
Interference and Diffraction
Dispersion of Light and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Geometric Optics (5%)
Reflection and Refraction
Atomic and Nuclear Physics (10%)
Atomic Physics and Quantum Effects (7%)
Photons and the Photoelectric Effect
Atomic Energy Levels
Nuclear Physics (3%)
Nuclear Reactions (with conservation of mass number and charge)
Other Skills and Miscellaneous Topics
Vectors and Scalars
Graphs of Functions
History of Physics
Contemporary Topics in Physics
How the Exam is Scored
The AP Physics B exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. The scores are defined as follows:
5 Extremely well qualified
4 Well qualified
2 Possibly qualified
1 No recommendation
Keep in mind that each college decides for itself which AP scores will be accepted for advanced placement or college credit. Many schools award one semester of placement or credit for a score of 3 or higher on the exam, but some schools might require a 4 or a 5. There are some schools that do not accept AP scores at all. Additionally, credit or placement may sometimes be given in an elective but not in the department in which the student is majoring. It is often a good idea to consult with the Physics Department Chair of the institution to which you are applying to clarify policies on granting of AP placement or credit. It is a good idea also, as we will discuss further, to maintain a portfolio or notebook of physics laboratory work to present for credit consideration.
The AP examinations are not actually "curved." However, some multiple-choice questions are retained from year to year and used to calibrate the difficulty level of that exam. Student performance on calibrated questions is compared to performance on the remainder of the exam in order to determine where to set the cutoff for each score level. This calibration allows standards to be set to ensure that scores reflect the same statistical strength of performance each year. Thus, the cutoff level for each score does not remain the same from year to year.
How Are Exams Graded?
The multiple-choice section of the exam is graded by computer. These multiple choice booklets are then shredded and are not available for review by the student after the examination. The free-response section is graded by faculty consultants -- college professors and high school AP teachers who are specially trained to assess student performance on these questions. Students' names and schools are concealed on the free-response booklets to ensure fairness and anonymity in the grading process. Additionally, as each reader assesses a question, scores on previously scored questions are masked to prevent bias in assessment of the question. Scoring rubrics are carefully developed and applied to each question. Copies of these scoring rubrics are made available to teachers and students for training purposes. Students may order their free response booklet after the reading, since the exam readers do not make markings on the booklets during the reading. Remaining booklets are shredded after September.
Scoring the Multiple-Choice Questions
For multiple-choice questions, there is a penalty for answering incorrectly. That penalty is of a point. If you leave a questions blank, however, you are not penalized. The base score on this section is: Number of correct questions - (Number of incorrect questions)
Suppose a student answered 40 of the 70 multiple choice questions correctly, left 10 questions blank, and answered 20 questions incorrectly. His score on the multiple choice section would be calculated thus: 40 - (20) = 35.
Since the multiple-choice section counts as half the overall score on the exam, the score on the multiple choice section is multiplied by a factor 1.286 to make the value of that section equivalent to the 90 points assigned to the free-response section. In the example above, the student has then made a multiple-choice score of 35 x 1.286, or 45 points, which will be added to the free-response score to obtain the test total.
Scoring the Free-Response Questions
Each free-response question is assigned a point value, usually 10 or 15 points. The faculty consultants follow scoring guidelines that define carefully what answers can be accepted for each section and how many points can be assigned. Each question is then assigned a score from 0 to either 10 or 15, depending on the point value of the question and the quality and accuracy of answers. The total point value for each question is printed next to the question number in the booklet. The total score on the free-response section is simply the sum of the scores on each of the questions, for a maximum possible score of 90 points. The free-response total is added to the multiple-choice score to determine the final test score.
How Do I Get My Grades?
AP Grade Reports are sent in July to each student's home, high school, and any colleges designated by the student. At the time of the test, students may designate the colleges to which they would like their grades sent on the answer sheet. Students may also contact AP Services to forward their grade to other colleges after the exam, or to cancel or withhold a grade.
AP Grades By Phone
AP Grades are available by phone for $15 a call beginning in early July. A touch-tone phone and valid credit card are needed. The toll-free number is (888) 308-0013.
Registration and Fees
To register for the AP Physics exam, contact your school guidance counselor or AP Coordinator. If your school does not administer the exam, ask your guidance counselor to contact AP Services at (609) 771-7300 for test sites.
The fee for each AP Exam at the time of printing is $82. The College Board offers a $22 credit to qualified students with acute financial need. A portion of the exam fee may be refunded if a student does not take the test. Check with AP Services for applicable deadlines or go to the AP web site for information on exam dates: apcentral.collegeboard.com.
The College Board offers a number of publications about the Advanced Placement Program. You can order them online at apcentral.collegeboard.com.
For More Information
For more information about the AP Program and or the AP Physics exams, contact your school's AP Coordinator or guidance counselor, or contact AP Services:
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Phone: (609) 771-7300; (888) CALL-4-AP
TTY: (609) 882-4118
Fax: (609) 530-0482
Copyright © 2005 by Apex Learning, Inc.
Excerpted from AP Physics B 2005 by Kaplan Educational Centers Copyright © 2005 by Kaplan Educational Centers. Excerpted by permission.
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