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How does the SAT subject test for physics compare to AP Physics 1 exam?

catchmecryingcatchmecrying 3 replies6 threads New Member
Obviously the AP exam is much, much longer, but in terms of content, are they the same/similar? Does AP Physics 1 prepare you for the subject test? If not, what is the additional content tested on the subject test not covered in AP Physics?
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Replies to: How does the SAT subject test for physics compare to AP Physics 1 exam?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78557 replies695 threads Senior Member
    SAT subject test in physics covers a wider range of topics at less depth. To approximately cover the same range of topics in greater depth, you need AP physics 1 and 2.

    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/subjects/science/physics
    https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-physics-1/course
    https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-physics-2/course
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1107 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Is it safe to assume Honors Physics plus AP Physics C would be sufficient prep?
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39558 replies7171 threads Super Moderator
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    Is it safe to assume Honors Physics plus AP Physics C would be sufficient prep?

    Depending upon the quality of instruction, Honors Physics is sufficient prep.

    Subject Tests are evaluating HS-level general knowledge. AP Physics C is well beyond basic HS physics, and only covers 2 physics topics. Even AP Physics 1 & 2 (which relatively few high schools offer) leaves a lot of topics uncovered.
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  • XtremeBlaze777XtremeBlaze777 7 replies8 threads Junior Member
    edited November 13
    @RichInPitt @catchmecrying Highly doubt it.

    Physics C mechanics is quite literally Physics 1 redone just with calculus. EM might prepare you a bit but I fear Physics C, in general, focuses so much more on mathematical equations rather than conceptually understanding (since you should have gained that from honors / AP 1 already), so it may even have a negative effect; there is barely any math on the subject test, it is neither algebra-based nor calculus-based but rather conceptual-based. For me, I just brought my subject test prep book to my AP 1 teacher who circled all the areas (about 30-40% if I remember correctly) that I would have to self-study. A background in chemistry might help with thermodynamics but unless your honors physics class goes into AP 2 topics, you are probably gonna have to self-study. Don't be too intimidated though because if you can just understand the bare basics of each of the topics (there are also tricks to memorize), you are going to be fine. I struggle with physics (ended AP 1 with a B, getting a B in C rn) and I did not have to put too much effort into studying (like maybe 3 hours per week including practice tests just the month before) because I just had to visualize in my mind what was going on rather than compute some integral, I ended up with a 750.
    edited November 13
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1107 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Interesting. My D will be taking fast-paced HS Physics at CTY next summer, then AP C at school. Sounds like we’ll need to dig into the material in the courses and exam a bit more some time next year. Thanks.
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