AP Physics

College Physics

AP Physics is equivalent to the first semester of a college or university freshman Physics course. There are two levels: AP Physics 1, which is a pre-calculus-based college physics course, and AP Physics C, which is a calculus-based college physics course for science and engineering majors. AP Physics is one of the most rigorous high school courses available to students, requiring them to master high-level reasoning and problem-solving, and advanced science and mathematics. We us a college textbook and do lab experiments like those done in college. For more info, see the Course Syllabus.

Advanced Placement Exam

Courses such as this one prepare students to take an AP Exam from the College Board. Passing the exam with a 3, 4, or 5 (out of 5) can earn college credit or advanced placement at many colleges throoughout the US. Our WHS AP Physics pass rate is about 80% - view the AP Hall of Fame to see all of our students who have taken and passed the exam.

Here are some references for students as they prepare for the Exam: The Big Ideas of AP Physics, the Physics 1 Formula Sheet, and the Physics C Formula Sheet.


WebAssign is an online assignment delivery service that we use for all of our homework and in-class problem sets. WebAssign provides students with immediate feedback about their answers, and gives them the opportunity to correct their wrong answers. This puts the focus where it belongs, on getting the right answer, not just on completing the assignment. Students also have anytime access to their grades on WebAssign.

College Credit From AP Exams

Students can earn college credit for passing AP Exams, but the amount and type of credit depends on the college. Students should consult their chosen college's web site for more information. These links will take you to web sites with information about Delta College AP Exam Credit, University of California AP Exam Credits, and Other University AP Exam Policies.

Curriculum Overview

AP Physics focuses mainly on Mechanics, one of the main branches of Physics. Mechanics is devoted to understanding motion - describing and predicting the motion of objects as small as particles and as big as galaxies. This is done using general principles or "big ideas" that describe how objects behave - the laws of motion and gravity, and the laws of conservation of energy and momentum.


Unit 1: Linear Kinematics describing motion in one dimension, including position, velocity, and acceleration Unit 1 Objectives
Unit 2: Planar Kinematics describing motion in two dimensions, including vector position, velocity, and acceleration, and common forms of 2D motion: projectile motion, circular motion, and relative motion Unit 2 Objectives
Unit 3: Dynamics explaining why objects move the way they do (as described in the first two units) using force analysis and Newton's Laws of Motion Unit 3 Objectives
Unit 4: Gravity & Simple Harmonic Motion adapting and applying kinematics and force analysis to the motions of objects (planets, satellites, etc.) in space and the motions of vibrating objects (pendula, masses on springs, etc.) Unit 4 Objectives
Unit 5: Energy describing motion in terms of work, potential energy, and kinetic energy, and explaining motion using energy analysis and the Law of Conservation of Energy Unit 5 Objectives
Unit 6: Momentum describing motion in terms of impulse and momentum, and explaining motion, especially motion involving collisions, using momentum analysis and the Law of Conservation of Momentum Unit 6 Objectives
Unit 7: Rotation adapting and applying kinematics, force analysis, energy analysis, and momentum analysis to the motions of rotating objects Unit 7 Objectives
Unit 8: Review Review for the AP Exam