AP Physics 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Advanced Placement (AP) Physics 2, along with AP Physics 1, is a year-long AP course mainly used in the United States and Canada which was designed by the College Board to replace AP Physics B in the 2014 - 2015 school year. The courses teach the same general curriculum as AP Physics B, but instead splitting the course into two and covering more information, specifically rotational mechanics. The courses were formed through collaboration between current Advanced Placement teachers and The College Board, with the guidance of the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation.[1] Similar to AP Physics C the course is said to cover the material of a second semester university undergraduate physics course offered at a typical American university,[2] but with an algebra based curriculum as opposed to AP Physics C calculus based curriculum.


The first AP Physics 2 classes began in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year, with the first AP exams administered in May 2015. As of August 2013 AP summer institutes, the College Board professional development course for Advanced Placement and Pre-AP teachers,[3] dedicate 20% of the total to preparing AP Physics B educators for the new AP physics course. Face to face workshops sponsored by the College Board focused 20% their content on the course in September 2013. In February 2014 the official course description and sample curriculum resources were posted to the College Board website, with 2 practice exams being posted the next month. As of September 2014 face to face workshops are dedicated solely to AP Physics 1 & AP Physics 2. The full course was first taught in 2014, with the exam given in 2015.


AP Physics 2 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as fluid statics and dynamics; thermodynamics with kinetic theory; PV diagrams and probability; electrostatics; electrical circuits with capacitors; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

The College Board has released a "Curriculum Framework" which includes the 7 principles on which the new AP Physics courses will be based as well as smaller "Enduring Understanding" concepts.[4]

Topic[5] Percent
Thermodynamics: laws of thermodynamics, ideal gases, and kinetic theory 12%
Fluid statics and dynamics 13%
Electrostatics: electric force, electric field and electric potential 15%
DC circuits and RC circuits (steady-state only) 11%
Magnetism and electromagnetic induction 16%
Geometric and physical optics 17%
Quantum physics, atomic, and nuclear physics 16%

Grade distributions[edit]

The grade distributions of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 tests were:

Score 2015 2016[6] 2017[7] 2018[8] 2019[9]
5 8.5% 9.5% 11.1% 11.2% 12.6%
4 13.7% 17.0% 15.6% 14.8% 19.8%
3 33.5% 34.9% 34.1% 34.9% 31.1%
2 34.8% 30.6% 29.7% 30.6% 27.8%
1 9.6% 8.1% 9.5% 8.5% 8.7%
Mean 2.77 2.89 2.89
Number of Students 20,533 26,385 24,985

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 | Advances in AP
  2. ^ Jacobs Physics: AP Physics 1 and 2 Redesign (as it stands now) and Honors Physics I
  3. ^ AP and Pre-AP Summer Institutes
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-physics-1-2-course-and-exam-description.pdf
  6. ^ Total Registration. "2016 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  7. ^ Total Registration. "2017 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  8. ^ Total Registration. "2018 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.TotalRegistration.net. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  9. ^ Total Registration (June 13, 2019). "2019 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2019-06-17.