AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based

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About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based Exams will be offered on paper in early May and late May, and as a digital exam in early June. Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Physics 2 Exam will be full length and measure the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description (CED), giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

The paper exams will follow the typical multiple-choice and free-response format given in the CED. The digital exam will take the same amount of time, but will contain more multiple-choice questions, and fewer free-response questions. On the digital exam, you will answer free-response questions with a keyboard, rather than by hand. The digital exam app will include any symbols you would need to use to type responses—rather, these skills may be assessed by asking to provide explanations about given diagrams or other stimuli. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 2 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.


As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Exam Overview
The AP Physics 2 Exam will test your understanding of the scientific concepts covered in the course units, including your ability to use algebra when solving problems related to quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics.

You can use a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator throughout the exam, and you will be provided with tables of commonly used physics equations and formulas.

Exam Duration
3hrs

Exam Dates

  • Fri, May 7, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Physics 2 Exam.

  • Tue, May 25, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Physics 2 Exam.

  • Thu, Jun 10, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Physics 2 Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 2 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The AP Physics 2 digital exam will include:

  • More multiple-choice questions than the paper exam
  • Fewer free-response questions than the paper exam

Free-response questions will consist of familiar tasks that could appear on a traditional AP Exam, but they will be answerable with a regular computer keyboard and won’t require drawing or graphing. The digital exam app will include any symbols you would need to type your responses. All responses must be typed directly into the exam app. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

You will be able to practice multiple-choice and free-response questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available in early April.

Early May and Late May Exams (Paper) Early June Exam (Digital)

Section 1: Multiple Choice
50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

This section contains multiple-choice questions that include:

  • Individual, single questions
  • Questions in sets that refer to the same diagram or data presentation
  • Multi-select questions (2 options are correct)

 

Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe representations and models
  • Use mathematics to solve science problems
  • Design an experiment to answer a scientific question or test a hypothesis
  • Analyze data and evaluate evidence
  • Work with scientific explanations and theories
  • Make connections

Section 1: Multiple Choice
50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • Questions are either discrete questions or question sets, in which students are provided with a stimulus or a set of data and a series of related questions.
  • The section includes 5 individual multi-select questions (2 options are correct)

Section 2: Free Response
4 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

For the free-response section, credit for answers depends on the quality of the solutions and explanations shown, so be sure to show your work.

 

This section includes these types of questions:

  • Experimental Design (1 question): pertains to designing and describing an investigation, analysis of lab data, and observations to identify patterns or explain phenomena
  • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question): requires you to express a justification or reasoning quantitatively (using numbers, equations, diagrams, etc.) and qualitatively (in words)
  • Short Answer (2 questions, 1 requiring a paragraph-length argument)

 

Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe representations and models
  • Use mathematics to solve science problems
  • Design an experiment to answer a scientific question or test a hypothesis
  • Analyze data and evaluate evidence
  • Work with scientific explanations and theories
  • Make connections

Section 2: Multiple Choice and Free Response (50% of exam score)


This section includes 25 multiple-choice questions and two free-response questions. Free-response questions will be written so that you can type all your answers into the digital exam app. The app will include any symbols you’ll need. You cannot handwrite your answers.
 

Multiple Choice (25% of Exam Score):

25 Questions | 45 minutes
 

Free Response (25% of Exam Score):

2 Questions | 45 Minutes

  • This section contains 2 free-response questions of the following types:
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question): requires you to express a justification or reasoning quantitatively (using numbers, equations, diagrams, etc.) and qualitatively (in words)
    • Short Answer: Paragraph Argument (1 question)


Questions may test your ability to:

  • Interpret and describe representations and models
  • Use mathematics to solve science problems
  • Design an experiment to answer a scientific question or test a hypothesis
  • Analyze data and evaluate evidence
  • Work with scientific explanations and theories
  • Make connections

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Physics 2 students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has the same sections as the actual digital exam, but with shortened MCQ sections:
    • Section I: 9 multiple choice, 15 minutes, followed by a shortened 5-minute break
    • Section II, Part A: 4 multiple-choice questions, 7 minutes, followed by a 1-minute pause
    • Section II, Part B: full-length FRQ section (2 questions, 45 minutes)
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Digital Practice Now Available

Updated April 8

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder, you will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but you cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
    • The free-response questions won’t require you to draw diagrams, charts or complicated mathematical expressions. All responses can be typed on a regular computer keyboard, along with a selection of formatting options (including superscript and subscript) and additional characters that can be accessed by clicking the Omega button:

       

  • Some free-response question prompts reference a specific question part. You can click on the » symbol shown in the prompt to automatically scroll to the referenced location.
  • The AP Physics 2 Equation Sheet can be accessed with the Reference button in the upper right button bar of the application. The interface and layout are different in the digital testing application than in the paper exam booklet, so you should take a look when you take digital practice.
  • A four-function, scientific or graphing calculator is allowed on the exam. However, you’ll need to bring your own calculator because the digital testing application does not include one.
  • As a reminder, you cannot go back to questions you’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • However, free-response questions will each be presented in multiple parts, and you’ll answer each part on a separate screen. You may move among the parts of the question currently being answered, with the Back and Next buttons. Once you’ve entered your response to the last part of a question and moved ahead to the next, you won’t be able to go back to any part of that question you finished.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Preparation

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