Study Tips for the AP Physics Exam

Like many other AP exams, preparing for the AP Physics exam can be overwhelmingly difficult and complex. 


There is a large amount of material. 


The concepts are new and challenging to most students. 


It doesn’t help that the exam itself is a long and draining assessment that few people can get through without breaking a sweat! 


If you’re feeling stressed about your upcoming AP Physics exam, you are certainly not alone. Luckily, Signet’s physics tutors have helped many students prepare for this exam, making physics accessible, relatable, and even enjoyable to students at all levels. We have tips and tricks to help you ace the exam and leave exam day feeling happy about your performance.


8 Tips on How to Study for AP Physics 1

Wondering how to study for the AP Physics 1 exam? Here’s what you need to know: 


1. Make a study schedule well before the exam

For a big assessment like the AP Physics exam, it’s important to begin preparing well before the exam comes around—at the very least a couple of weeks in advance but ideally a few months ahead.


Making a study schedule will not only help you think about all the useful aspects of the preparation process but also ensure that when you reach the exam date, you’ll have prepared to the best of your abilities. 


2. Include plenty of time to review concepts in all units, especially those covered at the beginning of the course 

An integral part of the schedule planning process is leaving as much space as necessary to review all of the material discussed during the course that will appear on the exam. 


The typical recommendation is to reserve about a week to review each unit included in the curriculum for the course (seven, in the case of AP Physics 1).


3. Take timed and untimed multiple-choice practices

Getting familiar with the types of questions you will see on the day of the exam goes a long way. 


In particular, many students struggle with the more conceptual questions that appear in the multiple-choice section. As such, it’s important to practice these questions, preferably directly from the College Board’s resources


4. Solve timed and untimed free-response sections and give them to your teacher/tutor for feedback

The free-response section accounts for 50% of the exam, and it comes with its own advantages and challenges.


Math-oriented students tend to shine here. However, practicing writing clear and concise solutions to problems is still important. In addition to completing a good number of these sections, have a teacher or tutor review your answers. This step is key to improving your performance. 


5. Take time to understand and visualize concepts

Many of today’s physics classes don’t include a lab component. Though optimal for fitting ample material into one course, this approach does remove the opportunity to “learn by doing.” 


To replace this notion of understanding how the concepts you learn in class apply to your day-to-day life, be sure to include time in the review of each unit to seek visualization of situations/experiments that depict the concepts you are reviewing. 


6. As test day approaches, take full-length practice tests

The only way to truly assess how “test-ready” you are is to simulate taking the real AP Physics exam under conditions that replicate what you will experience on exam day as closely as possible. 


Additionally, evaluate your performance during this practice exam and use it to inform how you distribute your study time in the weeks leading up to the exam.  


7. Get plenty of rest on the days before the exam 

Getting plenty of rest in the days leading up to the exam is a key part of succeeding. Even the brightest minds have very little chance of passing an AP Physics exam without a proper amount of rest. When well-rested, you’ll be able to digest the material you studied and recall it during the exam. 


8. Ask for help if you need it 

Teachers and tutors are invaluable resources, and you should absolutely reach out to them for support if you’re struggling with how to study for AP Physics 1.  


Signet’s physics tutors strive to make this complex topic accessible to any student, customizing their approach to each student’s unique learning style. 


Performing well on the AP Physics exam is crucial to many students’ college application profiles. Thankfully, with the right approach, any student can overcome this challenge and get the score they are hoping for. 


Contact Signet today to learn more about our tutoring services

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Alberto Naveira

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