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AP Physics 1 Equation Sheet, Explained

Dec 30, 2021

The fact that exam takers have access to the AP Physics 1 equation sheet which has a table of equations and formulae to refer to during the exam is a nice feature of the AP Physics 1 exam. 

However, the AP Physics 1 reference tables include a wealth of information! For example, suppose you are unfamiliar with the formula sheet before taking the exam. In that case, you may wind up spending significant time attempting to traverse the many equations and remember when and how to utilize them. 


The remainder of this post will provide a full explanation of each table of the information supplied on the AP Physics 1 equation sheet and how it may be used on the test. We’ll also provide you with three recommendations for using the formula sheet on the test and three tips for studying for the exam. 

Changes In AP Test Due to Pandemic

Because of the impending COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, AP examinations will now be conducted in three sessions between May and June. The dates of your examinations and whether they will be online or on paper will be determined by your school. 


The AP Physics 1 Exam 

The AP Physics 1 Exam is an algebra-based exam that evaluates exam takers’ knowledge of kinematics, dynamics, circular motion and gravity, energy, momentum, simple harmonic motion, torque, rotational motion, electric charge, electric force, DC circuits, and mechanical waves and sound. Essentially, the AP Physics 1 exam assesses your knowledge of the fundamental ideas of classical mechanics! 

This AP test lasts three hours and consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and five free-response questions, with each part counting 50% of the final exam score. The multiple-choice section lasts 90 minutes and consists of 50 questions divided into two subsections. Here’s how they’re broken down: 

Unit Total Number of Questions 
1A 45 MCQ’s 
1B 5 MCQ’s 

The five free-answer questions take 90 minutes, and the following are the topics of each free-answer question: 

Question Number Question Topic/Format 
Question 1 Experimental Design 
Question 2 Qualitative/Quantitative Translation 
Question 3 Paragraph Reasoning/Brief Answer 
Question 4 Brief Answer 
Question 5 Brief Answer 

On the day of the exam, the AP Physics 1 equation sheet will be included in your exam booklet, and you will be able to use it for reference during the exam session. It consists of all of the information contained on the original equation sheet and explanations for each equation. 


The AP Physics 1 formula sheet is an essential tool for solving problems on this algebra-based test. A copy of the equations sheet will be supplied during the examination in your exam booklet, and it contains common equations learned throughout the AP Physics 1 course. 

The AP Physics 1 equations sheet is organized into tables depending on the following data: 

Page 1 Page 2 
Constants and conversion coefficients Geometry 
Symbols for units Waves 
Prepositions Electricity 
Trigonometric function values for common angles Equations for mechanics 

The AP Physics equations sheet is intended to assist you with rapidly recalling constants, conversion factors, symbols, prefixes, numbers, and equations that you may require to answer questions during the test. However, it is critical to remember that each equation from the equations page must be supported by explanations and logical progression in your exam responses. That means you’ll need to grasp the formulae and how to apply them if you want to pass the AP Physics 1 exam! 


The Formulas on the AP Physics 1 Equation Sheet and How to Use Them 

To assist you in becoming acquainted with the AP Physics 1 equations sheet, we will break down how to use the following sections of the equation sheet individually. We’ll go through the following subjects in particular: 

  • Conversion coefficients and Constants
    ● Prefixes and Unit symbols
    ● Trigonometric function values
    ● Mechanics, geometry, waves, electricity, and trigonometry equations 

Conversion coefficients and Constants 

The constants and conversion factors are included at the top of the first page of the equations sheet for the AP Physics 1 test. These are predefined values that you must know and apply in formulae and equations on the test. 


Proton masses, neutron masses, electron masses, the velocity of light, electron charge magnitude, Coulomb’s law constant, universal gravitational constant, and acceleration owing to gravity at Earth’s surface are constants and conversion factors provided on the AP Physics 1 information sheet. 

So, how are you going to use these conversion factors on exam day? On the test, you can utilize the constants and conversion factors to convert from one unit to another by multiplying or dividing. This will modify the dimensions of measurement without changing its values. 


Trigonometric Function Unit Symbols, Prefixes, and Values 

On the AP Physics 1 test, the tables of prefixes and unit symbols can be used to express values. The prefix table provides the scientific notation, and factor, of a specific prefix and the prefix and the related character. 

That may sound perplexing, but here’s what we mean. The table, for example, has the prefix “tera,” as well as the proper factor of 1012 and the correct symbol, “T.” Similarly, the table of unit symbols provides the name of the unit as well as the right logo, such as “kelvin” and “K” or “meter” and “m.” 

The prefixes on the information page are utilized in test questions when dealing with very big or small units. The prefixes represent certain powers of ten and are commonly used to convey measures when coupled with a base word from the table of unit symbols (e.g. megajoules, kilowatts, etc.). This section of the table can assist you in better comprehending the test questions and double-checking that you’re using the correct units in your responses to the free-response questions. 

Finally, the values of trigonometric functions will be critical for calculating the angles of a right triangle using trigonometric equations and geometry. This table presents the importance of the most common angles (cos, sin, tan) at various degrees up to 90 degrees. To accomplish things like analysis, you’ll need to grasp them. 


The second page of the AP Physics 1 formula sheet offered on the test lists typical equations that you may encounter on the exam. The equations are classified into four categories based on their type: mechanics, electricity, waves, geometry, and trigonometry.
We’ll discuss the issues the equations in each area of the equations sheet can help you solve in the sections below. 

The Mechanics Chart 

On the AP Physics 1 test, the equations in the Mechanics table can be used to calculate, describe, analyze, express, explain, and make statements and predictions about the following:
Acceleration includes radial acceleration, tangential acceleration, and the acceleration of an item interacting with other things. 

  • Motion, encompassing linear and rotational motion, as well as the movement of single objects and two-object systems 
  • Tension, friction, normal, buoyant, and spring forces are examples of force(s) between things. 
  • Gravitational force includes gravitational force exerted by two objects on each other. 
  • In several circumstances, gravitational force. 
  • Change(s) in kinetic energy, the total energy of a system calculation, full energy prediction, internal potential energy calculation, power calculation 
  • Momentum, angular momentum, angular momentum magnitude, and angular momentum change 
  • Torque 

The Electricity Chart 

On the AP test, the equations in the considerably shorter electrical table of the equations page can be used to compute and describe the following: 

  • The strength of an electric field 
  • Electric charge conservation 
  • Matter’s resistivity 
  • Electric charge conservation in electrical circuits 

The Table of Waves 

On the AP Physics 1 formula sheet, a single wave equation may be used to compute the wavelength of a periodic wave. 

The Table of Geometric and Trigonometric Equations 

Finally, the equations page concludes with geometric and trigonometric equations that may be utilized to solve the following: 

  • The surface area of a rectangle 
  • The surface area of a triangle 
  • A circle’s area and circumference 
  • A rectangular solid volume 
  • A cylinder’s capacity and surface area 
  • A sphere’s volume and surface area 
  • The sum of a right triangle’s angles 
  • Because the AP Physics 1 reference tables include so many formulae and equations, it’s good to spend some time familiarizing yourself with them before taking the test. 

Attention to detail is essential while answering the AP Physics 1 test problems. However, this can be tough in a timed test, and it’s probably simpler to forget to include a symbol, exponent, or notation than you think. In addition, saving a few minutes during the test to verify your work using the equations sheet will help you make revisions and ensure that you’ve entered formulae and equations accurately, especially on free-answer questions. 





AP Physics 1


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