AP Physics Study Sheet


The AP Physics 1 course is designed to introduce the concepts of physics to students while using the algebra tools they already possess. AP courses offer a cumulative exam at the end which could earn a student credit or satisfy prerequisites at their future college of choice.

The AP Physics 1 exam includes a formula sheet similar to this Study Sheet.

AP Physics Study Sheet

This sheet contains the basic formulas for the topics covered in the AP Physics 1 exam. Use this sheet to make sure you understand the concepts surrounding each formula and you should have the basics covered to pass the exam. This study sheet is available as a PDF for offline printing.
[PDF Download]

Pro Tip: The table at the bottom of the sheet is worth memorizing for any test. These special angles show up in many standardized tests because their values are simple and easy to cancel out in the right situation.

General AP Physics 1 Test Tips

There is a section of the exam known as Free Response. This is where the student is presented with a problem outlined as a ‘story problem’ with several steps, requiring an answer at each step. These tips are useful to keep in mind while completing this section.

Remember this is a Physics test.
Don’t get bogged down on the math.

Answer the question.
It may seem silly, but it is a common mistake.
For example, if the question asks for you to draw a force diagram of a mass hanging on a string, don’t just draw a ‘T’ up and ‘g’ down. ‘g’ is the acceleration, not the force. Label the downward force as ‘mg’. To be safe, go ahead and label the tension force as ‘T – Tension’ on your diagram.

Properly draw the pictures when you set up your problems.
Make your pictures clear and label each part clearly. Try to draw to scale when you can. A properly drawn picture can give you valuable help to solve your problem.

Show your work.
Most of these questions have the term ‘derive’ in the direction. This means ‘show each step to get to the final formula’. Examiners are looking for the formulas you used and how you manipulate them to get to your final answer as much, or even more, than your final answer.

Check your vocabulary.
Physics is full of vectors. There is a difference between the terms speed and velocity, displacement and distance, acceleration and force.
There are also terms which overlap depending on where they are used. The most common of these is ‘potential’. Potential could apply to potential energy, electric potential, and potential difference. All three are different from each other, so use the proper term for your situation.

Check your work.
Does your answer make sense? Try to put values to your variables. What happens as one of the masses approaches zero? Would the momentum or force get larger or smaller if this happened?
Check each step of your derivation. Simple math mistakes are easy to make. Everyone has lost a sign, dropped a decimal point, or even added where they should have multiplied. Checking for these is a good way to make sure you get the exam score you deserve.

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