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In the United States, Advanced Placement (AP) Physics collectively refers to the College Board Advanced Placement Program courses and exams covering various areas of physics. These are intended to be equivalent to university courses that use best practices of physics teaching pedagogy.
Each AP Physics course culminates in an optional exam for which high-performing students may receive some credit towards their college coursework, depending on which college or university they attend.
AP Physics A (never materialized)
Designed concurrently with AP Physics B and AP Physics C, AP Physics A was supposed to be a conceptual-only version of AP Physics B (see below). Thus, this course would have employed the usage of little to no mathematics. However, AP Physics A never proceeded past the development stage as colleges would not offer credit for physics without mathematics.   
AP Physics B (discontinued)
AP Physics B was supposed to be equivalent to an introductory algebra-based college course in physics, with a laboratory component. The course was non-calculus-based, utilizing algebra and basic trigonometry to solve various physics problems. AP Physics B was divided into five different sections: Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, and atomic and nuclear physics.
AP Physics B was replaced in 2014 by AP Physics 1 and 2.
AP Physics 1 and 2
AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 were introduced for the 2015 exam administration. The courses were designed to emphasize critical thinking and reasoning as well as learning through inquiry. They remain as algebra-based courses that do not require students to have taken calculus.
AP Physics 1 covers the same Newtonian mechanics as AP Physics B plus rotational mechanics, as well as an introduction to electricity (Coulomb's Law and simple DC circuits), and mechanical waves and sound.
AP Physics 2 covers the remaining subjects from AP Physics B: thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics.
AP Physics C
- AP Physics C: Mechanics studies Newtonian mechanics, with units on kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy, and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation.
- AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism studies electricity and magnetism, covering electrostatics; conductors, capacitors, and dielectrics; electric circuits; magnetic fields; and electromagnetism.
The two AP Physics C courses can be combined to make a unified Physics C course that prepares for both exams.
- "Credit & Placement". AP Students. The College Board. 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- phsponyexpress (2014-10-09). "AP Physics curriculum changes provide more time for conceptual understanding". Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- Pinizzotto, J. (2018-06-18). "I thought the C was because it was originally AP Physics A (conceptual), B (algebra), and then C (calc). But then no colleges cared about A, so it was just B and C...?". @MisterNeutrino. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- "AP Physics B". AP Central. College Board. 2011. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- Physics Course Description (PDF), The College Board, May 2009, archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-01
- "AP Physics 1 and 2, 2014–15". AP: Advances in AP. The College Board. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014.
- "AP Physics 1 Course Home Page". AP Central. The College Board. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014.
- AP® PHYSICS 1: ALGEBRA-BASED AND AP® PHYSICS 2: ALGEBRA-BASED – Course and Exam Description – Effective Fall 2014 (PDF), New York, NY: The College Board, 2014
- AP® PHYSICS C: MECHANICS (PDF), College Board, December 2016, retrieved January 30, 2017
- AP® PHYSICS C: ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (PDF), College Board, December 2016, retrieved January 30, 2017