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2025 Updated AP Physics 1 Course Curriculum – Everything you need to know

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Here’s every change made to the AP Physics 1 course, effective 2024.

The New AP Physics 1 Curriculum: Key Changes

Overview

The AP Physics 1 curriculum for the 2024-2025 academic year introduces significant changes to enhance conceptual understanding, integrate modern physics topics, and improve laboratory experiences.

Curriculum Content

AspectOld CurriculumNew Curriculum
Number of Units78
Topics AddedMinimal modern physicsFluids (Unit 8), deeper connections between rotational and translational motion (Unit 6), wave equations (Unit 7)
Laboratory WorkSupplementary experimentsMandatory, inquiry-based experiments
Computational PhysicsNot includedIncluded to understand the role of technology
Science PracticesSpecific practices tied to objectivesUncoupled, any practice can be tested with any objective
AP Physics 1 Old vs New Course Content

New Topics Added

  • Fluids: Previously in AP Physics 2, now Unit 8.
  • Rotational and Translational Motion: Added connections.
  • Power: Specific learning objectives added.
  • Simple Harmonic Motion: Equations of motion included.

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Assessment Format

AspectOld CurriculumNew Curriculum
Exam Format50 multiple-choice questions, 5 free-response questions40 multiple-choice questions, 4 new free-response question types
Question TypesMultiple-choice, multi selectMathematical routines, translation between representations, experimental design, qualitative/quantitative translation
Section I (MCQs)90 minutes80 minutes
Section II (FRQs)90 minutes100 minutes
AP Physics 1 Old vs New Exam Format

Teaching Approach

AspectOld CurriculumNew Curriculum
Teaching MethodPredominantly lecture-basedInteractive, digital simulations, virtual labs
Collaborative LearningMinimalGroup projects, peer discussions
AP Physics 1 Old vs New Teaching Objectives

Benefits of the New Curriculum

  • Improved College Readiness: Alignment with college-level courses.
  • Enhanced Critical Thinking: Focus on conceptual understanding and lab work.
  • Greater Engagement: Interactive and inquiry-based learning methods.

Conclusion

The 2024-2025 AP Physics 1 curriculum revisions foster a more comprehensive and engaging learning experience. These changes aim to better prepare you for college and beyond by incorporating modern topics and enhancing practical skills.

For detailed information, visit AP Central College Board. For the full course description, refer to the College Board PDF (effective 2024).

Picture of Jason Kuma
Jason Kuma

Writer | Coach | Builder | Fremont, CA

Programs

Units in AP Physics 1

Unit 1 – Linear Kinematics

Unit 2 – Linear Forces

Unit 3 – Circular Motion

Unit 4 – Energy 

Unit 5 – Momentum 

Unit 6 – Torque 

Unit 7 – Oscillations 

Unit 8 – Fluids

Reading Key

LRN
RE
PS
PQ
Black
White
Blue
Orange

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KinematicsForces
\Delta x = v_i t + \frac{1}{2} at^2F = ma
v = v_i + atF_g = \frac{G m_1m_2}{r^2}
a = \frac{\Delta v}{\Delta t}f = \mu N
R = \frac{v_i^2 \sin(2\theta)}{g} 
Circular MotionEnergy
F_c = \frac{mv^2}{r}KE = \frac{1}{2} mv^2
a_c = \frac{v^2}{r}PE = mgh
 KE_i + PE_i = KE_f + PE_f
MomentumTorque and Rotations
p = m v\tau = r \cdot F \cdot \sin(\theta)
J = \Delta pI = \sum mr^2
p_i = p_fL = I \cdot \omega
Simple Harmonic Motion
F = -k x
T = 2\pi \sqrt{\frac{l}{g}}
T = 2\pi \sqrt{\frac{m}{k}}
ConstantDescription
gAcceleration due to gravity, typically 9.8 , \text{m/s}^2 on Earth’s surface
GUniversal Gravitational Constant, 6.674 \times 10^{-11} , \text{N} \cdot \text{m}^2/\text{kg}^2
\mu_k and \mu_sCoefficients of kinetic (\mu_k) and static (\mu_s) friction, dimensionless. Static friction (\mu_s) is usually greater than kinetic friction (\mu_k) as it resists the start of motion.
kSpring constant, in \text{N/m}
M_E = 5.972 \times 10^{24} , \text{kg} Mass of the Earth
M_M = 7.348 \times 10^{22} , \text{kg} Mass of the Moon
M_M = 1.989 \times 10^{30} , \text{kg} Mass of the Sun
VariableSI Unit
s (Displacement)\text{meters (m)}
v (Velocity)\text{meters per second (m/s)}
a (Acceleration)\text{meters per second squared (m/s}^2\text{)}
t (Time)\text{seconds (s)}
m (Mass)\text{kilograms (kg)}
VariableDerived SI Unit
F (Force)\text{newtons (N)}
E, PE, KE (Energy, Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy)\text{joules (J)}
P (Power)\text{watts (W)}
p (Momentum)\text{kilogram meters per second (kgm/s)}
\omega (Angular Velocity)\text{radians per second (rad/s)}
\tau (Torque)\text{newton meters (Nm)}
I (Moment of Inertia)\text{kilogram meter squared (kgm}^2\text{)}
f (Frequency)\text{hertz (Hz)}

General Metric Conversion Chart

Example of using unit analysis: Convert 5 kilometers to millimeters. 

  1. Start with the given measurement: \text{5 km}

  2. Use the conversion factors for kilometers to meters and meters to millimeters: \text{5 km} \times \frac{10^3 \, \text{m}}{1 \, \text{km}} \times \frac{10^3 \, \text{mm}}{1 \, \text{m}}

  3. Perform the multiplication: \text{5 km} \times \frac{10^3 \, \text{m}}{1 \, \text{km}} \times \frac{10^3 \, \text{mm}}{1 \, \text{m}} = 5 \times 10^3 \times 10^3 \, \text{mm}

  4. Simplify to get the final answer: \boxed{5 \times 10^6 \, \text{mm}}

Prefix

Symbol

Power of Ten

Equivalent

Pico-

p

10^{-12}

Nano-

n

10^{-9}

Micro-

µ

10^{-6}

Milli-

m

10^{-3}

Centi-

c

10^{-2}

Deci-

d

10^{-1}

(Base unit)

10^{0}

Deca- or Deka-

da

10^{1}

Hecto-

h

10^{2}

Kilo-

k

10^{3}

Mega-

M

10^{6}

Giga-

G

10^{9}

Tera-

T

10^{12}

  1. Some answers may be slightly off by 1% depending on rounding, etc.
  2. Answers will use different values of gravity. Some answers use 9.81 m/s2, and other 10 m/s2 for calculations.
  3. Variables are sometimes written differently from class to class. For example, sometime initial velocity v_i is written as u ; sometimes \Delta x is written as s .
  4. Bookmark questions that you can’t solve so you can come back to them later. 
  5. Always get help if you can’t figure out a problem. The sooner you can get it cleared up the better chances of you not getting it wrong on a test!

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