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# 5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics 1 Algebra-Based 2020

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## Book Preface

How is this book different from all other AP Physics prep books?

The quality of the prep book starts with the author. Greg Jacobs has taught all versions of AP (and non-AP) physics since 1996. His hundreds of students over the years have a greater than 99 percent pass rate; more than 70 percent earn 5s. Greg has graded the exams, he has written questions that have appeared on exams, and he has taught teachers how to teach to the exams. The leading blog about physics teaching is his—“Jacobs Physics.” (Take a look at it.) Greg knows what he’s talking about, and the proof is in the results and feedback from his students.

AP Physics 1 emphasizes conceptual understanding over algebraic manipulation, and so does this book. So many people presume that physics is about finding the right numbers to plug into the right equation. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Successful physics students can explain why they chose a specific equation. They can explain what values for each variable are reasonable, and why. They can explain the physical meaning of any mathematical manipulation—how would this problem look in the laboratory? What equipment would be used to measure these values? The AP Physics 1 Exam mostly asks questions that are not about number crunching. Greg has been teaching “beyond the numbers” for years, and he brings his expertise in explaining complex concepts in simple language.

Your textbook is impenetrable, even to senior physics majors. This prep book is readable. Be honest—when you read your textbook, you really just try the problems at the end of the chapter, then look back for a template of how to do those problems. Well, this book’s content review is structured around this very method. Greg poses example equations and talks you through them. On the way, he shows you the relevant facts and equations, as well as how you are supposed to know they are relevant. He explains not just the answer, but the thought process behind the answer. You do not have to be already good at physics to understand the text.

This book’s practice tests and practice questions are authentic. One of the primary tenets of Greg’s physics teaching is that in-class tests should look exactly like the real AP exams. The College Board has published a curriculum guide that provides express guidance as to the style and content of the exam questions. Greg’s practice tests are derived directly from what the curriculum guide says. He has vast experience phrasing questions in the style seen on College Board exams.

Every practice question includes not just an answer, but also a thorough explanation of how to get that answer. The back of your textbook may provide answers like “2 m/s” or “increase.” Huh? Skim through and look at the solutions to the practice exam, and to the end-of-chapter questions. They’re complete. This book’s solutions explain everything, even sometimes the common mistakes that you might have made by accident. Exam readers expect thoroughness on the free-response problems—you should expect the same from your prep book.

It is not possible to prepare well for AP Physics merely by using recycled material from previous AP or honors physics courses. Even after five years of AP Physics 1, the majority of teachers—and every AP prep book bar this one—keep using the same problems and presentations, just tweaking the covered topics to match the new exam. And all those folks have a comeuppance on exam day. The AP Physics 1 Exam asks for explanations, not calculations; it does not give pity points for writing relevant equations. And in four years there has been only one—ONE!!!—problem requiring numerical work on the free-response section. AP Physics 1 demands a revolutionarily different approach to learning physics. Your parents’ generation might kvetch about cell phones and the Internet, but if they’re still doing business by landline and U.S. mail, well, they’re lucky to be doing business at all. Ditto for your teacher who moans about the good old days of AP Physics B.

## CONTENTS

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Five-Step Program

STEP 1   Get to Know the Exam and Set Up Your Study Program

1   Frequently Asked Questions About the AP Physics 1 Exam

FAQs: The AP Physics Program

FAQs: The AP Physics 1 Exam

2   Understanding the Exam: The AP Physics 1 Revolution

What Happened to the AP Physics Test?

What Is AP Physics 1? Eleven Things You Should Know About the Course and Exam

3   How to Use Your Time

Personalizing Your Study Plan

Plan A: You Have a Full School Year to Prepare

Plan B: You Have One Semester to Prepare

Plan C: You Have Six Weeks to Prepare

4   Facts to Know for the AP Physics 1 Exam

I. Forces and Motion

II. Conservation Laws

III. (a) Electricity

III. (b) Waves

5   Types of Questions on the AP Physics 1 Exam

Question Types

Solutions for the AP Physics 1 Question Types Assessment

STEP 3   Develop Strategies for Success

6   Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your AP Physics Course

Seven Simple Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your AP Physics Course

7   Strategies to Approach the Questions on the Exam

Tools You Can Use and Strategies for Using Them

Strategies for Questions That Involve a Ranking Task

Strategies for Questions That Involve Graphs

8   Strategies to Approach the Questions: Free-Response Section

Structure of the Free-Response Section

How to Approach the Laboratory Question

The Qualitative-Quantitative Translation (QQT)

What Do the Exam Readers Look For?

9   Strategies to Approach the Questions: Multiple-Choice Section

Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-Correct: A New Question Type

Preparing for the Multiple-Choice Section of the Test

Final Strategies for the Multiple-Choice Section

STEP 4   Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High

10   How Things Move

Introduction to Motion in a Straight Line

Graphical Analysis of Motion

Algebraic Analysis of Motion

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

11   Forces and Newton’s Laws

Describing Forces: Free-Body Diagrams

Determining the Net Force

Newton’s Third Law

Forces at Angles

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

12   Collisions: Impulse and Momentum

The Impulse-Momentum Theorem

Conservation of Momentum

Motion of the Center of Mass

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

13   Work and Energy

Energy

Work

The Work-Energy Theorem

Power

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

14   Rotation

Circular Motion

Torque

Rotational Kinematics

Rotational Inertia

Newton’s Second Law for Rotation

Angular Momentum

Rotational Kinetic Energy

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

15   Gravitation

Determining the Gravitational Field

Determining Gravitational Force

Force of Two Planets on One Another—Order of Magnitude Estimates

Gravitational Potential Energy

Gravitational and Inertial Mass

Fundamental Forces: Gravity Versus Electricity

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

16   Electricity: Coulomb’s Law and Circuits

Electric Charge

Circuits

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

17   Waves and Simple Harmonic Motion

Simple Harmonic Motion

Waves

Practice Problems

Solutions to Practice Problems

Rapid Review

18   Extra Drills on Difficult but Frequently Tested Topics

How to Use This Chapter

Springs and Graphs

Tension

Inclined Planes

Motion Graphs

Simple Circuits

STEP 5   Build Your Test-Taking Confidence

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 1

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 1: Section I (Multiple Choice)

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 1: Section II (Free Response)

Solutions: AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 1, Section I (Multiple Choice)

Solutions: AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 1, Section II (Free Response)

Scoring the Practice Exam

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 2

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 2: Section I (Multiple Choice)

AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 2: Section II (Free Response)

Solutions: AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 2, Section I (Multiple Choice)

Solutions: AP Physics 1 Practice Exam 2, Section II (Free Response)

Scoring the Practice Exam

Appendixes

Table of Information

Recommended Websites

The Pantheon of Pizza