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2. How to Approach Free-Response Questions

- You should show the graders what you're thinking on the free-response section.
- It's important to write clearly and show your steps.
- If your method is correct, you can still earn points if you make a mistake and carry an incorrect result to a later part of the question.
- The graders can't give you credit for work you can't read.
- Units should be included on your final answers.

- The most important advice we can give you is to read the questions carefully and answer according to what the questions are asking you to do.
- Credit for the answers depends on how they are explained.
- The words "justify," "explain," "calculate," "what is," "determine," and "derive" have specific meanings, and the graders are looking for very precise approaches in your explanations in order to get maximum credit.

- Making sure you understand the questions will save you time.

- The questions that ask you to "justify" are looking for you to show an understanding in words of the principles underlying physical phenomena and to perform the mathematical operations needed to arrive at the correct answer.
- You need to support your answers with text, equations, calculations, diagrams, or graphs if you want the word "justify" or the word "explain" to mean it.
- In some cases, the text or equations need to explain the physics behind the equation, while in other cases they need to analyze the behavior of the variables in the equation.

- The word "calculate" requires you to show numerical work to arrive at the final answer.
- "what is" and "determine" questions mean that full credit may be given without showing mathematical work.
- Even if the answer is not correct, showing work that leads to the correct answer is always a good idea.

- "Derive" questions want a more specific approach, which involves beginning the solution with one or more fundamental equations and then arriving at the final answer through the proper use of mathematics.

- Section II is worth 50 percent of your grade on the exam.
- There are four free-response questions in this section.
- You're given 90 minutes for this section.
- There are three types of questions on the exam.
- An Experimental Design is worth 12 points, a Quantitative/Qualitative Translation is worth 12 points, and a Short Answer is worth 10 points.
- A paragraph-length argument is required for one of the Short Answer problems.
- The number of points for the problem as well as the recommended amount of time to spend on that problem are at the top of each question.
- There are 25 minutes for 12-point problems and 20 minutes for 10-point problems.
- It's a personal decision, so feel free to build your own timeline for the free-response section.

- Readers grade your answers to the free-response questions.
- AP physics 2 is about communication.
- Write your answers in sentences.
- Getting the correct numerical answer is not enough.
- The majority of questions will require a written explanation or justification, either in lieu of a numerical answer or in addition to a calculation.
- Explaining your reasoning behind the technique that you chose and communicating your answer in the context of the problem is what you will need to do.
- There are many graded problems where points are given for indicating some physical reality of the situation, so either a written justification or a calculated solution are acceptable.

- The graders will not read between the lines.
- You don't need to explain every step in your thought process, but you need to present your solution in a systematic manner using solid logic and appropriate language, because your grader will be an experienced AP Physics 2 teacher.
- A specific physical principle is the first step in almost any written response.

- The space provided for each question should not be filled up.
- The space is usually more than enough.
- Some students write in big letters while others make mistakes, and the people who design the tests realize that.
- Don't worry about the extra space if you have a complete solution.
- Writing more won't earn you credit.
- Many students go too far and make a mistake after they've already written the right answer.

- Questions will usually have several sub parts.
- The sub parts will be numbered with letters and Roman numerals when they are related to one another.
- Sub parts which are not directly related to one another, but which are still related to the main stem of the problem are numbered with different letters.
- It is not uncommon for a question to have a mixture of both types of sub parts.
- Sub parts a.i and a.ii are related to one another, but part b is not related to either of the a parts.
- Try to answer all of the sub parts.
- Look at the next subpart and see if you can approach it in a different way.
- When the numbering of the sub parts changes, you can take a fresh approach to answering, since the answer to b does not depend on part a.

- A single subpart of a question can ask you to explain many things.
- You have to address every question in order to get full points.
- The answers usually only need a single sentence per item to fully explain.
- A subpart in a circuit question might ask how the total current and the total resistance of the circuit would change if a particular resistor were removed.
- If you didn't address all three quantities in your answer, you wouldn't get full credit.

- Use common sense when answering questions.
- You won't be punished for getting an incorrect answer to part if your solutions are correct.
- If your answer is physically impossible, such as getting a speed of light in vacuum greater than 3.00 x 10 8 m/s or finding a number of electrons of 3.5 will not receive credit even if they accurately rely on the answer to a previous part.
- To get the highest possible score, make your errors easy to recognize and make sure your answers are reasonable.

- Try to think about what the grader is expecting when you answer a question.
- On the College Board website, you can look at past free-response questions.
- The examples give you an idea of how the answers should be phrased.
- Showing statistical knowledge and communicating that knowledge are two aspects of the scoring of free-response answers.
- The responses should be written in complete sentences.
- You don't have to show all the steps of a calculation, but you have to explain how you got your answer.

- If he had eight hours to chop down a tree, Lincoln would spend six of them sharpening his axe.
- Before starting to write, be sure to think about what the question is, what answers are being asked for, what answers might make sense, and what your intuition is.
- All the information you need is given in these questions.
- You may have misinterpreted the question if you think you don't have the right information.
- It's easy to get confused in some calculations, so think about whether your answers make sense in terms of what the question is asking.
- If you know what the answer should look like before you start writing, you won't waste time on dead-ends.

- You will be assessed on your ability to perform an experimental analysis on the AP physics 2 exam.
- This will be one of the questions.

- The AP Physics 2 Exam will have a question about how to translate quantitative measurements into qualitative explanations.
- The other 12-point problem will be this one.
- Being familiar with the equations on the equation sheet will help you answer the question.
- You will be asked to relate your calculations to a qualitative description of the physical phenomenon.
- This could be a question about how the magnification is shown in a diagram.
- It could be a description of how an electric potential map relates to the calculated electric field.

- It is required for full credit for a paragraph-length response in AP Physics 2 to be presented in prose.
- If the argument relies too much on diagrams, graphs, equations, or calculations, you won't get full credit.
- You need to show your reasoning.
- The first thing you should do is cite applicable physical principles such as Bernoulli's Principle for a fluid dynamics question or conserve energy and charge for a circuit description.
- As physics dictates, you need to describe the situation in sequential order.
- Your response should be lengthy.
- The use of equations or diagrams should not be used heavily in your sentences.

- The AP physics 2 exam has a short answer problem where you have to analyze an argument between two students.
- You can ask the students what parts of their argument are correct and what parts are incorrect.
- The question may be a single subpart asking you to address the claims of each student and explain why the student is correct or incorrect.
- Regardless of how the question is phrased, your response needs to include a sentence restating the part of the argument made by the student that is correct or incorrect and a sentence explaining why the argument valid or invalid.

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