All High School Physics Resources
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All High School Physics Resources
Common high school curricula require courses in biological science and physical science. The biology requirement is most commonly fulfilled with a course in High School Biology or High School Earth and Space Science, while the physical science requirement is usually fulfilled with High School Chemistry or High School Physics.
High School Physics can be taught in two ways: either as a stand-alone course, or as a precursor to AP Physics B. In schools that offer the AP course, the High School Physics curriculum can be more focused, targeted at introducing material that will be expanded upon later. In schools where the AP course is not offered, High School Physics may be the only exposure students have to physics before they enter college or other post-graduation pursuits. Physics courses such as these may encompass a wider range of material in order to build familiarity with as many concepts as possible.
In general, the first concept taught in any high school physics class will be Newtonian mechanics. After a brief introduction to the world of physics including information about standard (SI) units, vectors, and scientific notation, students can expect an in-depth presentation of Newton’s three laws of motion and the various ways in which they may be applied to real-world scenarios. Newtonian mechanics and relationships compose the majority of course content in high school physics courses.
After an introduction to Newton’s laws of motion, students will be taught the kinematics equations. These equations are used to apply Newtonian mechanics to objects in linear motion. This part of the course will heavily focus on concepts of displacement, velocity, acceleration, and force. Students will be tested on horizontal linear motion, vertical motion, free fall motion, projectile motion, and force diagrams.
Following the introduction to mechanics, most courses will teach the concepts of energy, work, and power. Students will become familiar with conservation of energy, kinetic and potential energies, work equations, and the definition of power. Test questions will frequently combine these new concepts with concepts of linear motion, creating multi-step problems that require several calculations to complete and combine familiar material with new concepts.
Work, energy, and power generally conclude the majority of high school physics coursework. From this point, course content becomes somewhat variable. Some common topics of focus are electric circuits, electromagnetism, optics, or quantum theory. Only the final units of the high school physics course will focus on these subjects; the vast majority of content will remain grounded in mechanics.
Courses in physical sciences, such as physics and chemistry, often require some mastery of mathematics in order to manipulate variables and equations. Before taking a course in high school physics, you must be confident in your mathematics ability in algebra. Solving for a missing variable is almost always necessary on high school physics exams.
There is truly only one way to become more proficient in solving problems in physics: practice. Becoming familiar with the steps to solve different equations and apply mechanical principles is absolutely necessary for success. You can start to become familiar with High School Physics content by taking Varsity Tutors’ free High School Physics Practice Test. Each Practice Test consists of ten to twelve High School Physics problems that you can use to hone your skills. Each High School Physics problem includes an explanation of the correct answer, so when you miss a problem, you can find out where you went wrong. By paying particular attention to problems that you miss, you can efficiently improve your High School Physics knowledge!