AP Physics 2 Score Calculator – 2024

January 19, 2024

AP physics 2 score calculator

You’ve done your research. You have looked into the differences between the four AP physics classes and read our guidance on how many AP classes to take. Now that you’ve found yourself in AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based, you’ve had a chance to learn about everything from thermodynamics and electric circuits to the fascinating possibilities of nuclear physics. However, with your AP Physics 2 exam on the horizon, you might be wondering: how can I translate the knowledge I’ve gained into a good test score? If this sounds like you, we’ve got you covered. In this post, you’ll find an AP Physics 2 score calculator. Using this calculator, alongside the information shared below, can help you understand the structure of the AP Physics 2 exam and develop a personalized study plan.

AP Physics 2 Score Calculator

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MCQ Score:
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Total Composite Score:
Predicted AP® Score:

How is the exam structured?

To effectively use the AP Physics 2 score calculator, you first need to know what content the exam covers, as well as its structure. As College Board explains, the AP Physics 2 exam takes three hours and consists of two sections. The first section comprises 50 multiple choice questions, while the second section includes four free response questions. Each section is worth 50% of students’ scores, and test takers will have 90 minutes to complete each section. Students may use a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator for the duration of the exam. A complete list of permitted calculator models is available from College Board. Students will also have access to an AP Physics 2 formula sheet that they can reference throughout the exam.

Below, you’ll find a more thorough breakdown of the exam’s structure, weight, and recommended timings from College Board:

Section 1: Multiple Choice Questions

Students will have 90 minutes to complete this section of the exam, which is worth 50% of their score. This section is broken up into two parts:

Section 1A: This section includes 45 single-select multiple choice questions, which may be discrete or appear in sets.

Section IB: This section includes 5 multiple-select multiple choice questions. All questions in Section 1B will be discrete rather than appearing in a set.

Section 2: AP Physics 2 Free Response Questions

This section is also worth 50% of students’ overall scores and takes 90 minutes. Below is an outline of the four free response questions’ foci and weight. However, students should note that these questions may appear in a different order on the exam:

  1. Experimental Design (12 points)
  2. Quantitative/Qualitative Translation (12 points)
  3. Paragraph Argument Short Answer Question (10 points)
  4. Short Answer Question (10 points)

To better understand how each component of the exam contributes to your overall score, experiment with our AP Physics 2 score calculator to see how your performance across these two sections can help you achieve different results.

What concepts and skills will the multiple choice questions assess?

Beyond the exam’s structure, students should also anticipate what topics their AP Physics 2 test will focus on. Let’s start with the multiple-choice questions. As you may know, AP Physics 2 covers seven different units. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the seven units, as well their approximate weighting (i.e. the percentage of multiple choice questions that will touch on that unit’s concepts):

Instructional Unit Approximate Exam Weighting
Unit 1: Fluids 10-12%
Unit 2: Thermodynamics 12-18%
Unit 3: Electric Force, Field, and Potential 18-22%
Unit 4: Electric Circuits 10-14%
Unit 5: Magnetism and Electromagnetic Induction 10-12%
Unit 6: Geometric and Physical Optics 12-14%
Unit 7: Quantum, Atomic, and Nuclear Physics 10-12%

AP Physics 2 Score Calculator (Continued)

Beyond these topics, College Board has also shared information about which skills the AP Physics 2 exam will assess. In AP Physics 2, there are seven science practices that students should learn. The multiple choice section of the AP Physics 2 exam assesses six of those seven practices. Note that Science Practice 3: Scientific Questioning is not assessed in this section of the exam. We have outlined those six practices and their approximate weighting below:

Science Practice Exam Weighting
Science Practice 1: Modeling 28-30%
Science Practice 2: Mathematical Routines 16-18%
Science Practice 4: Experimental Method 2-4%
Science Practice 5: Data Analysis 10-12%
Science Practice 6: Argumentation 26-28%
Science Practice 7: Making Connections 12-16%

What can I expect from the AP Physics 2 free response questions?

Now that you have a general sense of what the multiple choice questions will focus on, let’s move on to the AP Physics 2 free response questions. To review: there are four free response questions which are, collectively, worth 50% of your AP Physics 2 score. Outlined below is an overview of each question and its purpose:

  • Question 1: Experimental Design (12 points)

This question will evaluate a student’s skill in designing and describing a scientific experiment, analyzing data, and identifying patterns to explain experimental findings. The experimental design free response question will be broken up into 3-5 parts for students to answer.

  • Question 2: Quantitative/Qualitative Translation (12 points)

As its title suggests, this question assesses how well students can translate between qualitative and quantitative reasoning. Like the first free response question, Question 2 will be broken up into 3-5 parts for students to answer.

  • Question 3: Paragraph Argument Short Answer (10 points)

Here, students will practice their skills in argumentation by composing a paragraph-length response, creating a logical argument using information provided in the question. This question will have 2-4 parts that students must answer.

AP Physics 2 Score Calculator (Continued)

  • Question 4: Short Answer Question (10 points)

The final AP Physics 2 free response question is a little bit of a free-for-all. This question could focus on any practice or learning objective not represented by the other free response questions. However, it will still include 2-4 parts for students to complete.

That broad description of Question 4 might have sparked concern, but College Board also shares information about which science practices the free response questions address. Like the multiple choice questions, the free response questions test students on six of the seven science practices. Their approximate weighting in the free response section is as follows:

Science Practice Exam Weighting
Science Practice 1: Modeling 11-23%
Science Practice 2: Mathematical Routines 18-30%
Science Practice 4: Experimental Method 6-14%
Science Practice 5: Data Analysis 6-16%
Science Practice 6: Argumentation 22-41%
Science Practice 7: Making Connections 2-11%

AP Physics 2 Score Calculator (Continued)

When preparing for the AP Physics 2 free response questions, we recommend reviewing the sample questions provided by College Board, as well as their scoring guidelines. In reviewing these guidelines, you’ll see that reviewers typically award credit in one-point increments. Considering that the free response questions are worth either 10 or 12 points each, this means there are 10-12 components that students must include to receive full credit. For this reason, it is important that students read questions carefully to ensure they provide thorough, thoughtful responses. Reviewing these guidelines in combination with our AP Physics 2 scoring calculator can help students understand both the specific criteria reviewers will utilize as well as the exam’s overall scoring system.

Is AP Physics 2 hard?

Now that we have outlined the basic structure of the exam, you may have questions about its overall difficulty. You might be surprised to learn that AP Physics 2 is not among the hardest or the easiest AP courses. However, this finding actually makes a lot of sense. AP Physics 2 is a slightly more advanced physics course, akin to a second-year class. Therefore, it is (presumably) full of students who did well in foundational physics classes and are prepared for higher-level coursework. Therefore, based on these rankings, one might consider AP Physics 2 to be moderately difficult. However, it is impossible to arrive at an objective or universal assessment of difficulty. For that reason, it is essential that students weigh their unique strengths and weaknesses by utilizing practice tests and tools like our AP Physics 2 score calculator.

What is the average AP Physics 2 score?

To get a better sense of AP Physics 2’s difficulty, it can be helpful to examine past students’ exam scores. Outlined below is a distribution of students’ AP Physics 2 scores in 2023:

AP Physics 2 Exam Score 5 4 3 2 1 3+
% Students Earning 15.0% 17.0% 36.0% 26.0% 6.0% 68.0%

Students taking AP exams receive scores on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest score. Many U.S. colleges will grant credit or advanced placement to students who earn a score of 3 or above. The majority of students (68.0%) pass their AP Physics 2 exam, with the average score being a 3.09. However, a relatively small percentage of students, 15%, earn a top score on the exam.

How to get a 5 on AP Physics 2?

At this point, you’re probably wondering: how can I be among the 15% that earn a 5? If you’ve used the AP Physics 2 score calculator, you’ve probably realized there isn’t a singular answer to that question. However, we can look at past trends in student performance for insights. For example, in 2023, AP Physics 2 students most struggled with questions centered on Unit 7. These were questions that focused on concepts in quantum, atomic, and Nuclear physics. On average, students answered 40% of these questions correctly. Not surprisingly, students also found some of the free response questions difficult, particularly one centered on electric fields and potential. For this free response question, the average score was 35%. If these patterns reflect your own weaknesses in AP Physics 2, then these topics may be a great place to start when creating a study plan.

Tips for Success in AP Physics 2

While the aforementioned trends can be helpful, they do not necessarily reflect the needs of all students. Below, you’ll find a list of strategies to help you assess your needs and study smarter for AP Physics 2:

1) Learn to speak the language

Aside from understanding the exam’s structure, it’s also important that students understand the terminology they’ll encounter in test questions. Below are a list of task verbs that you may see in free response questions:

  • Calculate: perform mathematical steps to arrive at a final answer, including algebraic expressions, properly substituted numbers, and correct labeling of units and significant figures. Also phrased as “What is?”
  • Compare: provide a description or explanation of similarities and/or differences.
  • Derive: perform a series of mathematical steps using equations or laws to arrive at a final answer
  • Describe: provide the relevant characteristics of a specified topic.
  • Determine: make a decision or arrive at a conclusion after reasoning, observation, or applying mathematical routines (calculations).
  • Evaluate: roughly calculate numerical quantities, values (greater than, equal to, less than), or signs (negative, positive) of quantities based on experimental evidence or provided data. When making estimations, showing steps in calculations are not required.
  • Explain: provide information about how or why a relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome occurs, using evidence and/or reasoning to support or qualify a claim.
    • Explain “how” typically requires analyzing the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome.
    • Explain “why” typically requires analysis of motivations or reasons for the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome.
  • Justify: provide evidence to support, qualify, or defend a claim, and/or provide reasoning to explain how that evidence supports or qualifies the claim.
  • Label: provide labels indicating unit, scale, and/or components in a diagram, graph, model, or representation.
  • Plot: draw data points in a graph using a given scale or indicating the scale and units, demonstrating consistency between different types of representations.
  • Sketch/Draw: create a diagram, graph, representation, or model that illustrates or explains relationships or phenomena, demonstrating consistency between different types of representations. Labels may or may not be required.
  • State/Indicate/Circle: indicate or provide information about a specified topic, without elaboration or explanation. Also phrased as “What…?” or ”Would…?” interrogatory questions.
  • Verify: confirm that the conditions of a scientific definition, law, theorem, or test are met in order to explain why it applies in a given situation. Also, use empirical data, observations, tests, or experiments to prove, confirm, and/or justify a hypothesis.

2) Get comfortable with the AP Physics 2 formula sheet

Although AP Physics 2 has its challenges, you have lots of tools at your disposal. Namely, a formula sheet. It might be tempting to ignore your formula sheet until exam day. However, this would be a missed opportunity. Reviewing the AP Physics 2 formula sheet early has a few key advantages. First, you can ensure you’re comfortable with all of the formulas and equations provided. If one looks unfamiliar, that indicates that there are at least a few concepts you need to review. Second, familiarizing yourself with the formula sheet can also help you figure out what to prioritize during your study time. If you know that a formula isn’t represented on your sheet, you can be sure to learn that information.

3) Practice and strategize

It’s a cliche for a reason: practice makes perfect. And nowhere is this old adage more appropriate than exam prep. College Board provides numerous practice questions in their course and exam description (skip to page 218) and on their website. Achieving “perfection” on an AP exam is extremely difficult. However, working through sample questions will help you identify your strengths and areas of improvement. These observations, in combination with our AP Physics 2 score calculator, can help you maximize your score and do your best on your AP Physics exam.

Final Thoughts: AP Physics 2 Score Calculator

While there is lots to learn about the AP Physics 2 exam, taking the time to understand its composition and scoring system will put you on the right track. By taking advantage of your resources, like the AP Physics 2 score calculator, you can empower yourself with the information and experience necessary to perform your best.

For additional information about AP exams and physics programs, please consult the following resources: