How to Study for AP Physics 1 Exam in 2025

AP Physics

Introduction of the AP Physics 1 Exam

The AP Physics 1 exam is critically designed to evaluate students’ actual understanding of basic physics concepts and their capability to apply the concepts to solve problems. The course material of this exam covers a broad array of topics in mechanics, such as kinematics, and dynamics. Throughout the entire course, you learn about the fundamental principles of forces, motion, rotation and energy, and momentum. You have to identify the behavior of objects in one, two, and three dimensions, along with the association between the objects.


This exam encompasses two specific sections: free-response questions and multiple-choice questions. The free-response part permits you to present your ability to apply principles of physics to more complicated problems. whereas the multiple-choice part evaluates students’ problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding.

Therefore, the AP Physics 1 exam challenges you to analyze problems, think critically, and communicate solutions appropriately. A comprehensive study plan must include a mixture of application of concepts, theoretical understanding, and practical problem-solving in different formats, including free-response questions, real-world scenarios, and multiple-choice questions. You can succeed on this exam by developing strong problem-solving skills and mastering the course material. 

This exam demands a comprehensive grasp of geometry, and algebra based on your course. Regardless of this, your capability to identify complicated problems and apply-needed physics concepts is what can make you master this exam. Hence, excelling in AP Physics Exam 1 requires a blend of mathematical and analytical skills, which makes it a challenging but worthwhile academic endeavor. 

Units Covered Under the AP Physics Exam

From 2025, there’s been a huge change in AP Physics 1 format. The AP Physics Exam 1 mainly covers a variety of units in the field of physics. Below is a list of units mainly included in the curriculum of this exam; 

Dynamics (16-20%)The study of the forces critically acting on different objects and their impacts on motion with Newton’s Laws of Motion. 
Kinematics (12-18%)The study of motions mainly focuses on important concepts namely velocity, acceleration, and displacement. 
Energy, Work, and Power (20-28%)The concepts of work, power, and energy, encompass the association between energy and force, along with mechanical energy conservation. 
Gravitation and Circular Motion (6-8%)The investigation of objects moving within circular paths and the actual gravitational force between the objects. 
Rotational and Torque Motion (12-18%)The study of rotational dynamics and kinematics, including angular as well as torque momentum. 
Basic Harmonic Motions (4-6%)The study of oscillatory motion. 
Impulse and Momentum (12-18%)The study of impulse and momentum and their fundamental conserving protocols. 
Fluid (10-15%)The study of common physical features of gases and liquids. 


Basic Structure of the AP Physics 1 Exam

The structure of AP Physics exam is comparatively longer than other exams, which is three hours. It consists of two prime parts such as free-response questions and multiple choice questions. An equation sheet is given for the entire exam.

Part Questions Allocated Time Percentage of Exam Score
I. Multiple Choice Questions 40 MCQS – all are single-select 90 Minutes or 1 Hour 30 Minutes 50%
II. Free Response Questions 4 FRQS ( Easy Questions or Free Response Questions)

  1. Mathematical routines
  2. Translation between representatives
  3. Experimental design and analysis
  4. Qualitative/Quantitative translation 
100 Minutes or 1 Hour 40 Minutes 50% 


Part 1: Multiple Choice Questions 

(It is for 1 Hour 30 Minutes with 50 Question, and the weightage  is 50%)

This part consists of 40 multiple-choice questions, all are single select (means one answer is correct). Every question followed by four different answer choices labeled A, B, C, and D. 

The questions in this section are typically designed to test your basic understanding of fundamental concepts in Physics, encompassing dynamics, momentum, kinematics, and many more. Each right answer earns you 1 point and most importantly there is no penalty for unanswered questions or wrong answers. 

Part 2: Free-Response Questions

(It is for 1 Hour 40 Minutes, and the weightage is 50%)

AP Physics 1 FRQ is typically divided into fourbasic questions such Mathematical routines, Translation between representatives, Experimental design and analysis, and Qualitative/Quantitative translation 

Note: You should bring your scientific or four-function graphic calculator in the exam. For further information regarding this, please see the official notification. 

Tips for Self-study regarding the AP Physics 1 Exam

It is possible to do self-preparation for one of the toughest exams, the AP Physics 1 Exam, but it needs dedication, and effective study strategies. 

Below a guide has been given to assist your preparation;

  • Understand the Exam Content and Format: 
      1. It would help if you familiarized yourself with the basic structure of the AP Physics 1 exam, such as the types of questions typically asked in both the free-response and multiple-choice sections.
      2. It is important to analyze the description of AP Physics course to better understand the content and skills assessed on the exam.
  • Collect As Many As Resources Possible:
      1. Gather different AP Physics 1 study guide or textbook, and look for previous years sample questions.
      2. Use different online resources such as Tutoring Maphy, that offer different practice questions, interactive simulations, and tutorials. 
  • Prepare a Study Plan:
      1. You should create a study schedule that typically covers all the topics related to the exam, and practice hard on the questions or areas where you feel less confident. 
      2. Further, break down your entire study session into small sessions that will help to build your concentration.
  • Learn the Fundamental Concepts:
      1. Start with basics of physics, such as dynamics, Newton’s laws, momentum, dynamics, and energy. 
      2. Work through the study guide of the textbook systematically, solve practice problems and take notes where you face major difficulties.
      3. Seek further clarification on hard concepts by consulting your tutors. 
  • Practice:
      1. It is universal that practice is the fundamental to mastering different study concepts and problem-solving skills, which is applicable for this exam also. Hence, work through as many problems and practice questions as possible. 
      2. Further, review your practices on your own and recognize the areas where you need actual improvement, concentrate on understanding your minor to major mistakes and take note from them. 
      3. You can also use a simple trick to memorize more easily, which is to create short brief notes for quick revision of important equations, concepts, and formulas. 
      4. You can also use spaced repetition methods to strengthen learning and improve prolonged retention. 
  • Stay Consistent and Motivated
    1. You should always stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude throughout this self-study journey. 
    2. Celebrate your small achievements and progress, in this you can stay motivated as well as engaged.

However, by following these simple steps and sticking to your study schedule, you can easily self-study for the AP Physics 1 test and increase your chances of success. 


Planning to take AP Physics C as well? Check out All about AP Physics C Exam



  1. How should I study for AP Physics 1?

Answering this question is quite tricky as preparation normally depends on an individual’s dedication and strategies, though preparing for AP Physics needs a combination of problem-solving skills, effective study approaches, and understanding concepts. Below, presented the detailed information of how you can approach preparations for AP Physics1;

  • First, you have to understand the important topics covered in AP Physics1 such as kinematics, and mechanisms. Analyze the entire course syllabus and define the main concepts you need to study hard.
  • Second, use different textbooks mainly designed for AP Physics 1 along with additional materials including online sources, educational videos, and review books. It is important to ensure the sources you select appropriately align with the curriculum of the AP Physics 1 exam. 
  • Third, create a study schedule that properly covers all the topics of the exam. You should engage yourself more to solve challenging questions and signify regular review sessions to strengthen your understanding. 

Lastly, it can be said that Physics can be quite challenging, though maintaining persistence and a positive attitude in your studies can help you to get good scores. Always, believe in your capability to learn as well as improve, and do not get easily disheartened by setbacks. 

  1. Is the AP Physics 1 exam hard?

The difficulty of this exam can differentiate based on individual preparation and strengths. Although, it is critically considered quite challenging due to its maximum emphasis on problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding. With effective study strategies, and thorough preparation, you can easily do well on the exam. 

Interested to know about the hardest AP exams? Check out this two part blog: A guide to the most difficult AP Exams Part 1  and Part 2

  1. What percent is a 5 on AP Physics 1? How to get a 5 on the AP Physics 1 exam?

The percentage needed to get a 5 on the AP Physics 1 exam can differentiate from year to year depending on the questions patterns and performance of students. Generally, scoring minimum 75% on the exam is a principal indicator of getting a 5.

In order to enhance your possibilities of getting 5 on the AP Physics 1 Exam, you can follow the below strategies;

  • You should familiarize yourself with the basic format of this exam, such as the allocated time for each section and different types of questions (for example free-response and multiple choice). 
  • It is important to thoroughly understand the principles and concepts covered in the curriculum of this question. You should concentrate on developing an  in-depth conceptual understanding other than only memorizing formulas. 
  • Start regularly practicing solving different physics problems, including the previous year’s exam question of AP Physics 1. 
  • You should practice time management during the exam and preparing for it. 
  • Whenever you face any problem while solving the questions, you should ask for help from classmates, online communities (for instance, Tutoring Maphy), or teachers. 
  • After every practice exam, it is important to review the performance and recognize further areas for improvement. Modify your study planning to address the identified weaknesses. 
  1. Can I self-study for AP Physics 1?

Yes, you can self-study for the AP Physics 1 exam, though it needs self-discipline, access to required study materials, and dedication. It would be best if you concentrated on practicing problem-solving, seeking help when needed, and understanding concepts. You also can prepare a study plan, routinely review material, and stay organized to strengthen learning. While self-study can be quite challenging, with practical and persistent study tactics, it is actually achievable as there is nothing better than self-study. 

  1. How hard is a 5 on AP Physics 1?

Getting a 5 on AP Physics 1 is quite challenging yet achievable with strategic preparation. It needs an in-depth comprehension of the course material, effective exam-taking approaches, and strong problem-solving skills. Students are actually dedicated, practice regularly, and study constantly can get a score of 5 on this exam 



About Colin Phillips
About Colin Phillips

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