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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide To AP Physics 2 Exam (Update for 2024)

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 27 May 2024


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  • The AP Physics 2 course is organized into 7 topics: Fluids, Thermodynamics, Electric Force, Field, and Potential, Electric Circuits, Magnetism and Electromagnetic Induction, Geometric and Physical Optics, Quantum, Atomic, and Nuclear Physics
  • The AP Physics 2 exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (50 questions, 90 minutes) and free-response (4 questions, 90 minutes).
  • The mean score for the AP Physics 2 exam in 2022 was 3.14 out of 5. This is slightly higher than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP Physics 2 Exam for 2022 was 69.7%. This is slightly lower than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.
  • With AP Physics 2 some majors that you could choose from include physics, engineering, and mathematics. Some of the career pathways that you could pursue include physics, engineer, mathematician, and data scientist.

Struggling with your AP Physics 2 Exam prep? Having trouble understanding concepts like electric and magnetic fields or thermodynamics and fluid dynamics.

AP Physics 2 Exam had a passing rate of 69.7% in 2022. The difficulty rating of the AP Physics 2 Exam by class alumnae is 6.5 out of 10, making it the sixth most challenging AP Exam.

Don’t worry, as this AP Physics 2 Exam guide has everything you need to succeed in this AP exam. With practice questions, tips, and strategies to help you optimize your studying, you’ll be on your way to earning a top score in no time.

So, let’s get started and prepare to crush the AP Physics 2 exam!

What is AP Physics 2 and its importance?

AP Physics 2 is a college-level course and corresponding exam that focuses on the principles of electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, optics, and modern physics.

The course is designed to provide a deep understanding of these fundamental concepts and to develop problem-solving skills.

The AP Physics 2 exam is important because:

  • It allows students to earn college credit or advanced placement for introductory Physics courses as a good AP score shows dedication and hard work on the student’s part.
  • Provides a comprehensive test of students’ knowledge and understanding of physics.
  • Helps students stand out in the college application process, and opens up new opportunities for success in physics and engineering careers.

By earning a high score on the AP Physics 2 exam, students can showcase their knowledge and potentially earn college credit or advanced placement, giving them a head start in their academic and professional pursuits.

AP Physics 2 exam format

SectionNo. of questionsType of questionsTime
Exam weightage
Multiple choice questions50Questions are either discrete questions or question sets.90 mins50%
Free response questions4Experimental Design·  Quantitative/Qualitative Translation·  Short Answer: Paragraph Argument·  Short Answer90 mins50%
AP Physics 2 exam format

Topics for AP Physics 2 Review

The AP Physics 2 course covers a number of difficult topics that are assessed on the exam. The exam assigns different weights to each of these topics, which are listed below.

Units coveredExam Weighting (MCQ)
Unit 1: Fluids10-12 %
Unit 2: Thermodynamics12-18 %
Unit 3: Electric Force, Field, and Potential18-22 %
Unit 4: Electric Circuits10-14 %
Unit 5: Magnetism and Electromagnetic Induction10-12 %
Unit 6: Geometric and Physical Optics12-14 %
Unit 7: Quantum, Atomic, and Nuclear Physics10-12 %
Exam Weighting for the Multiple-Choice Section of the AP Physics 2 Exam

This course delves into more complex physics topics compared to introductory courses, requiring a deeper understanding of both mathematical and physical principles.

AP Physics 2 Exam Guide
AP Physics 2 Exam Guide

When is the 2024 AP Physics 2 exam date and time?

The AP Physics 2 exam has been scheduled for Friday, May 17, 2024, at 12 PM local time. For more details about AP Exams and their schedule check our detailed resource on AP exams.

Students who wish to take the exam must first enroll in the corresponding AP course at their high school and register through their AP coordinator at designated schools or approved testing centers.

The registration deadline typically falls in the spring, but students should check with their AP coordinators for the exact deadline. There is a fee to take the exam, but students with financial needs may qualify for fee reductions or waivers.

Is the AP Physics 2 exam hard?

According to a survey of former students, AP Physics 2 is generally considered a difficult course with a difficulty rating of 6.5 out of 10, making it one of the most difficult AP Exam subjects.

It is ranked as the sixth most challenging out of 28 large AP courses surveyed but still requires significant effort and dedication from students.

In 2022, around 69.7% of students who took the AP Physics 2 exam received a score of 3 or above, which is approximately average compared to other AP courses.

However, the recommendation rate for AP Physics 2 is lower at 73% due to only 18,736 students in 2021 and 17,842 students in 2022 being registered for the course.

Difference between AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C

Here are the key differences between AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C (Mechanics, E&M)

AspectsAP Physics 2AP Physics C
Course ContentEmphasizes modern physics conceptsEmphasizes classical mechanics and electromagnetism.
Exam FormatMultiple-choice questions and free-response.Multiple-choice questions and free-response.
Difficulty levelModerateAdvanced
Calculus RequirementCalculus-basedCalculus-based
Prerequisite CourseAP Physics 1 or equivalent.AP Physics 1 and Calculus
AP Physics 2 vs AP Physics C

In summary, AP Physics 2 focuses on modern physics concepts, has a moderate difficulty level, and is calculus-based. It also has a mix of multiple-choice and free-response questions on the exam.

On the other hand, AP Physics C emphasizes classical mechanics and electromagnetism, has an advanced difficulty level, and requires both AP Physics 1 and Calculus as a prerequisite. Additionally, there are separate exams for mechanics and electricity/magnetism.

How to study for the AP Physics 2 exam?

Preparing for the AP Physics 2 exam can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several strategies that you can employ to study effectively and improve your chances of success. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the exam:

  1. Consistency is key

Review and practice regularly to build your understanding of the material. Starting early and creating a study schedule that you can follow will help you stay on track.

  1. Know the enemy

Understanding the exam format and requirements is crucial for effective exam preparation. Familiarize yourself with the types of questions, time constraints, and scoring system to plan your study and exam strategies.

  1. Think big, picture-wise

Physics is a subject that involves interconnecting concepts and themes. Therefore, focusing on the bigger picture helps you see the connections between different topics and solve problems more efficiently.

  1. Solve it like a pro

Problem-solving is a key skill that you must develop to master the course and succeed on the exam. Regularly practicing exercises and paying attention to the steps involved in the process will help you develop your problem-solving skills and reduce mistakes.

  1. Master the art of application

Understanding the concepts is one thing, but being able to apply them to real-world scenarios is another. Practicing the application of concepts to real-world scenarios will prepare you for the exam and help you think critically.

  1. Don’t shy away from calculus

Physics involves complex mathematical calculations, and a solid understanding of calculus is crucial for success in AP Physics 2. Therefore, make sure to review and practice calculus regularly.

  1. Collaborate to graduate

Studying with peers and seeking help from teachers or tutors can boost your understanding and confidence. Collaborating with others also enables you to share knowledge, ideas, and strategies, which can help you learn better.

  1. Believe in yourself

Confidence in your abilities and a positive attitude can help you overcome challenges and succeed on the AP Physics 2 exam. Therefore, trust yourself, believe in your abilities, and stay positive.

How can Wiingy help with AP Physics 2 exam prep?

In 2022, only 16.3% of the 17,842 students who took the AP Physics 2 exam scored a 5. While 3 is considered the unofficial passing rate, most elite universities, such as Harvard or Princeton, offer AP credit only if you score 5 or higher. 

Getting a 5 is possible if you have the right support in your high school, but that’s rarely the case.

Here at Wiingy, we work with vetted AP Physics 2 tutors with demonstrated expertise and experience in helping students score a 5 on AP exams

Unlike tutor marketplaces, every Wiingy tutor is screened individually and undergoes a comprehensive assessment.

Less than 3% of applicants are selected to become tutors on Wiingy’s platform, ensuring tutors are highly qualified and experienced in teaching AP courses.

Our tutors will work with you 1-on-1 to master the content and skills you need to succeed.

Experienced tutors can provide you with curriculum-specific guides and practice questions and familiarize you with the exam format to help you ace the test.

We know that sometimes you don’t want to pay for private tutoring because it is too expensive. It’s common to see tutoring costs between $100 to $150 per hour.

Wiingy’s rates are very affordable, starting from just $28 per hour, much lower than the average AP tutoring offered by other platforms.

One more advantage of studying with us is that we don’t require you to sign up for any packages or yearly subscriptions. You can sign up for as little as a single lesson and add more lessons as per your requirements.

While we try to match you with the perfect tutor as per your needs, we know that sometimes even the best tutors might not be the right fit for you. That’s why we offer you the Perfect Match Guarantee, which means that if you are not satisfied with your tutor for any reason, you can request a free replacement at any time. 

Sign up with Wiingy AP Physics 2 Tutoring today and achieve your goal of scoring a 5 on your AP Test!


The AP Physics 2 exam itself covers various units, including fluids, thermodynamics, electric force, circuits, magnetism, optics, and quantum physics. It consists of multiple-choice and free-response questions, with each section carrying equal weightage.

Analyzing the score distribution over the years, it is evident that the percentage of students scoring 5 in the AP Physics 2 Exam has increased from 8% to 16% in the past 8 years. This trend indicates improvements in overall performance and highlights the potential for achieving a high score.

Additionally, looking at the average score and passing rate trends, the mean score for the AP Physics 2 exam has remained consistent over the years, with a passing score generally defined as 3 or higher.

The 2024 AP Physics 2 exam is scheduled for Friday, May 17 2024, at 12 PM local time. It is important to enroll in the corresponding AP course at your high school and register through your AP coordinator to take the exam.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How is the AP Physics 2 exam scored?

The exam is scored on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest possible score. Scores of 3 or higher are generally considered passing and may earn college credit depending on the policies of individual colleges and universities.

What is the format of the AP Physics 2 exam?

The exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions. The multiple-choice section accounts for 50% of the exam score, and the free-response section accounts for the remaining 50%.

How long is the AP Physics 2 exam?

The exam is 3 hours long, including a 10-minute reading period for students to review exam materials.

What topics are covered on the AP Physics 2 exam?

The exam covers a wide range of modern physics topics, including thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and more.

What is the recommended prerequisite for taking AP Physics 2?

The recommended prerequisite for AP Physics 2 is the completion of an introductory physics course, such as AP Physics 1 or a similar course.


  1. apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-physics-2/exam
  2. www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/ap-physics-2-exam
  3. apcentral.collegeboard.org/exam-administration-ordering-scores/exam-dates
  4. apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-score-distributions-by-subject-2022.pdf
  5. reports.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/2021-ap-student-score-distributions_1.pdf

Written by by

Apoorvaa Agarwal

Reviewed by by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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