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What is the chance of getting a 5 for AP Physics 1, 2, or C?

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Each year in May, students around the world sit down and take AP Physics 1, 2, or C exams. The materials are similar to physics courses in the first year of colleges in U.S.

Many people ask, what is the chance of getting a 5 for AP Physics exams? Today, let us dig out official data released from College Board. These data are openly available if you browse the official website. It serves as a good reference for our discussions here.

1. For AP Physics 1, the chance of getting a 5 is around 5%-8%. In 2022, there are 144 thousand students taking this exam. The chance of getting a 5 is among the lowest across all AP subjects offered. Why is it so? One reason is that there are many students who are taking physics for the first time in their entire life, literally. We observe that students who are new to this subject could get very lost in the abstract and counter-intuitive concepts such as velocity, displacement, torque etc. The second reason that some students are weak in explanation questions, often they somehow understand the concepts vaguely but could not articulate their thoughts properly to hit the points. Students are highly recommended to take a preliminary course in physics before they embark on AP Physics 1. By the way, a score of 4 is also very good for this exam, also sufficient to be used as academic credits in most colleges.

2. For AP Physics 2, the chance of getting a 5 is around 16%. Perhaps many students are discouraged in AP Physics 1 and do not dare to move onto AP Physics 2. The number of students taking AP Physics 2 is only 17 thousands, about 90% drop from that for Physics 1. Students who have signed up AP Physics 2 have considerable experiences with Physics, so they are generally stronger in concepts. This results in a better score. In 2022, 16% of the students have scored a 5 for AP Physics 2, a reasonable rate comparable to other AP subjects.

3. For AP Physics C Mechanics, the chance of getting a 5 is around 26%! In other words, one in four students could get a 5 in this calculus-based Physics Exam. The basic concepts are similar to AP Physics 1 but the calculations require students to be skilled with calculus. AP Physics C Mechanics is tougher than AP Physics 1, but the chance of getting a 5 is much higher. Why is it so? Partially because the students have self-selected themselves to take this exam, so they are already strong in basics of Physics. Also, there are not so many students who go into the exam hall with little knowledge or preparations. In addition, students who are strong in maths could perform very well in the quantitative part of the papers.

4. For AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism, the chance of getting a 5 is around 32%! Wow, wow, wow! The exam with the highest chance to get a 5 is surprisingly this one, Electricity and Magnetism! This exam is very tough, many students could not even understand what the question is trying to ask, let along solving them correctly. But, do not despair, as long as students could get half of the questions correctly, it is already an excellent piece of work. If the questions look extremely tough and the calculus-based steps are killing you, relax, it is tough for almost every brave souls.

Why about one in three students could score a 5 for this killer exam? Partly because there are already a large pool of strong candidates who are brave enough to sign up for this exam. These students have quite a few years of physics and calculus trainings and are probably aiming for some of the top courses in science and engineering. Not surprisingly, only about 20 thousands took the exam in 2022.

If you need specialised tutoring for AP Physics, please contact us by WhatsApp at +6596467611. We will get in touch with you shortly. Get your score of 5 here with us at!

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