SAT II Physics *Review*

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: June 2004 Archive: SAT II Physics *Review*
By Justice (Justice) on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 11:22 pm: Edit

Waves. How much do we need to know about them? Should it be as detailed as it is here:

or no?

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 05:14 pm: Edit

Nothing terribly difficult was on my exam, mainly just the basics i.e. v=f(Lambda), interference, polarization... mainly theoretical things too. But I would definitely study everything in the sparknotes, so you dont get surprised. Just concentrate on concept.

By Davidn08 (Davidn08) on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

it doesnt matter if you dont know everything... the curve allows you to leave a lot blank. you'll get 800.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 07:31 pm: Edit

True, You can miss a lot of questions but I would still advise studying everything thoroughly. You dont know what is going to be on your exam, and you obviously want as many correct as possible. You definitely will not know them all. For example, on my exam was an astronomy question that was not in any of my 3 test prep books nor my text book. Leave room for foolish errors as well, don't rely on a generous curve. As long as your familiar with the topics you will do fine.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit

Sorry for posting so much... haha but i thought you would like this. This website has a sample sat II physics test, it is similar in question type. Try it, it might help. Its difficulty is well calibrated.

By Zas1987 (Zas1987) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

I just took a practice test from the 2004 Kaplan review book, and better than I had on the Princeton Review test. Does anyone know if these are representative of the real tests, cuz if it is then id be extremely happy? Thanks!

By Justice (Justice) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

thanks physicskid. Do you think there will be lots of stuff on relativity? I took ap physics C and we didn't cover it.

By Socalnick (Socalnick) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 06:02 pm: Edit

ok i havn't used any prep books but i took ap physics B. is there anything else i need to know in excess to what i learned in the ap physics class.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Justice~ When I took it there was all of one question on relativity. It wasn't even quantitative, it was about the relativity of time. I dont think there will be much on relativity.

Zas~ I didn't use Kaplan at all, so I dont know. I do know that Princeton Review was definitely somewhat harder than the real thing. Take the test from the Real SAT II book, and that should tell you where you stand. One question from that book was in my test, word for word!

By Sherwin (Sherwin) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 07:57 pm: Edit

Hey does anyone know if you get equations on the physics SAT II test, I haven't taken a physics class in a while and I was wondering whether I should re-memorize all the equations.

By Infinity (Infinity) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit

Unfortunately, I heard no equation sheet and no calculator.

By Sherwin (Sherwin) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit

Well, thanks anyway (guess I'll have to learn them--but I think I'm not taking it until October, so I'll be good).

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 09:51 pm: Edit

Kaplans is awful. It's way easier than the real test. I got 790s practice on kaplans and only 580 on sparknotes (depressing...) I just picked up the sparknotes books today (i like an actual book as opposed to online reading). I have a week for intense prep, so hopefully everything will go well. I forget some specifics, and the hard ones in the sparknotes tests seem REALLY hard. Is the sparknotes test quite accurate to the real thing or a little harder? I looked at 22 real sat iis and the phys in that was a little easier than sparknotes. Luckily I have the extra monday this week for extra prep.

By Zas1987 (Zas1987) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

are you kidding???? kaplan is awful?! Ive been studying from it like all day... great...

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

omg... what do you guys think about barron's sat ii physics book (8th edition)? is the test really this hard? this book has some serious ambiguity problems and i pray that the actual test isn't like this... and wtf, kaplans is too freaking easy, i average like 1-3 wrong on all the tests.

By Justice (Justice) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 12:50 am: Edit

oh wtf I've been doing Kaplan's too. I did two practice today--two low to solid 800s. How much easier could they be?

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Anyone that uses Kaplans, go to and use your free test they give you (In the test prep area) for physics #1. Take it and then see what you get. Trust me, the real thing is MUCH harder than kaplans. If you don't get a move on, you will be dissapointed with your score, but if you do, you still have a week to prep. All the SparkNotes material is online for free, but I just got the book because I dont like studying from the computer. But still, take the free practice test (if you've already used yours just sign up for a new login) and you will see that the real thing is WAY harder than kaplans. I was getting 790s on Kaplans and I only got 580 on SparkNotes. Granted I got almost all (like 14/16) of the questions available online at the CB website (and in that booklet they send guidance offices) but still I'm not taking any chances.

By Zas1987 (Zas1987) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit

i cant get the free test on sparknotes. i went to testprep and Physics #1, but dont know how to get teh test w/out having to pay.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 03:46 pm: Edit

On the home page, like near the middle there is a banner that says FREAK OUT NOW and click on take a free diagnostic test. Follow the instructions on the screen.

By Zas1987 (Zas1987) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit

oh ok thanks
I just took the test, and it was definitely a hundred times harder than Kaplan... but I still managed to somehow get a 780. I didnt know that we had to know such specific equations! I guess Ill have to study those.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 04:51 pm: Edit

Great Job!! Remember, those are harder than the real thing. I took them, I got 2 800's and a 710. I easily got an 800 on the real thing. Study the ones you got wrong, you'll do fine.

By Justice (Justice) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit

I just took that test you showed us in this thread and I got a 770. I'm gonna try the sparknotes one later. Am I in good shape though if I can get a 770 on the physicsweb one? Most of the stuff I got wrong was careless.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:13 pm: Edit

I think you are in pretty good shape, you're definitely looking at 750+. Just keep studying things you are getting wrong, and you'll do fine.

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

I got 790 kaplans, but only 580 sparknotes. I have the sparknotes book and am willing to study 2+ hours tomorrow and 45-60 minutes a night until the test. I was really depressed after getting a 580 because I dominated the Kaplans one. Still think I have a chance for 700? I was hoping for 750, but I'd be happy with 700+ now. I also did the CB online and booklet problems and got only 4 wrong out of about 40, so that is really good, but I still am not confident with my score.

By Justice (Justice) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 10:48 pm: Edit

Ok I just took two spark tests and got 780 then 770. I DEFINITELY could've gotten at least three or four more right on each if the stupid red cross box didn't show up for a diagram on each test. How do I stop that from happening? Anyways, I got an 800 on the Real SATs one. Do you think i'm safe physicskid? I feel like spark isn't that bad--I just get really bored with it after a while and they ask for specific equations that I didn't know. Did you actually need to know them for your real test?

By Billiam2 (Billiam2) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

Sounds like you're in good shape.

I am curious to know though, how good you think the review and the tests to be for sparknotes. I have the book and have been reading it, but don't have anything to compare it to. I've heard the princeton review book is good too.

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit

Sparknotes basically has all the material that Princeton Review does, just explained in a different way. I also think they purposely make it somewhat harder than the real thing, that way you feel confident. Crypto, I think it would be safer to judge your standing on the CB questions than sparknotes. Dont worry, just keep studying. You guys will do fine.

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

Thanks for your advice and boosts of confidence. I'm gonna study some extra stuff this week (a lot today) so hopefully I will do well.

By Justice (Justice) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 04:43 pm: Edit


A guitar string vibrates with a freq. of 400hz. If the tension is increased but the length is fixed...

Ok, why is the wavelength of the fundamental standing wave constant? I know that as T increases v should increase, and therefore frequency probably should get bigger too, but how can we assume that wavelength is constant? Is it always constant for a standing wave? I must be on crack or something this stuff shouldn't exactly be rocket science...

By Xjay2max (Xjay2max) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:37 pm: Edit

How much about torque and angular momentum are on the test?

By Entropicgirl (Entropicgirl) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:42 pm: Edit

Fundamental standing wavelength is determined by the length of the string only--that's because it's the most natural way for the string to vibrate. Think of it this way: you've got a string, you're holding it between your hands, and you're moving it to make it oscillate; the simplest way it can do that is to just have one bump in between your hands, but if you speed up the oscillations, it'll have two bumps, and so on. "One and a half bumps" isn't possible. Anyway, the fundamental standing wavelength would be the most basic way the string can oscillate--so it would have one bump. (So if your string is 10 cm, the fundamental standing wavelength would be 20 cm).
Did that help at all?

By Vladimir2004 (Vladimir2004) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit

Damn, I took a PR test, got a 580, should i do better on the real test?

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 08:23 pm: Edit

i got an 800 on pr test and a 790 on the real thing but i think it was really close to an 800 on the real thing (plus a bad curve)

By Bcrichsolo (Bcrichsolo) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit

i took the practice from 22 real sat 2s book or w/e it is. I got 620.. I just took a practice from kaplans and left like 20 blank because I didnt feel like thinking. I still got a 630 though. What book can we get real good practice tests from?

By Physicskid123 (Physicskid123) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 09:15 pm: Edit

From what I hear, Kaplan is much too easy. It hought PR and Sparknotes had great practice tests, but they are somewhat harder than the real thing.

By Justice (Justice) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit

Thanks entropic girl! Are you taking it this Sat.?

By Joshjmgs (Joshjmgs) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 10:14 pm: Edit

I didnt start studying for the physics, I just took the Real SAT IIs test, I got an 800 (70 raw, skipped 4, 1 wrong). I didnt even sign up for taking this, should i get a book (you said pr was hard) and study all week for it?

We havent covered circuits, manetism, and a couple of other stuff on the test..

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 11:20 am: Edit

If you only got 4 wrong and 1 omit without magnetism, circuits, and other stuff, then definately study those topics at for free and just show up as stand by.

By Bcrichsolo (Bcrichsolo) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit

I think the hype was wrong. I just took a barrons and got a 640. Before that I got 630 on Kaplans. I dont think Kaplans is super easy if I got the same score as barrons.

By Entropicgirl (Entropicgirl) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 03:47 pm: Edit

Justice--yep, are you? (if so, good luck!)

Joshjmgs--if you're doing that well already, I'd say just read up on magnetism/circuits/etc, show up, and take the test. (But then, I'm pretty laid-back, so if you'd feel more comfortable with getting a book and studying your brains out, you could do that too, I just don't think you need to :))

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 06:52 pm: Edit

Bcrichsolo - well, albeit of your scores, I'm sure that you see that there is a major difference in content between the kaplans and new barrons book. If you go to and use your free test for Phys. #1, you will definately see that sparknotes is much harder than Kaplans. Specifically to your situation, I can't figure it out!

By Joshjmgs (Joshjmgs) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 11:24 pm: Edit

EntropicGirl, I think I should just take that advice. I just picked up the SAT II Sparknotes (its all they had), and I like that they put those equations at the end of each section.
So HOPEFULLY learning that stuuf wont be that difficult...

And how much in the SAT II Physics Modern Physics ISNT in AP Chemistry.
Thank gawd all of the questions in the SAT II were, like Rutherford's experiment and simple stuff like the relativity and the space-time continuum ;).

By Xjay2max (Xjay2max) on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

Here is my question:

I have taken both PR tests and have received 750+ on them. However, I just took the Spark Notes Exam #1 on-line and somehow received a 610. Why is there such a huge discrepancy in my scores?

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 11:08 am: Edit

I have some ideas why.

First, taking a test online (at least for me) is much harder than actually sitting at a book and being able to draw free-body diagrams and resistor combinations and other things. Yes, I draw them on scrap paper but it's just not the same. Another thing that I noticed was the Sparknotes material is much harder than other test prep books (specifically Kaplans). I got 770/790 on two Kaplans prep but only 580 on SN #1(online though). Through massive studying I increased my score 100 points to 680 on SN test #2, and I hope to get to at least 700 with more studying tonight. Anyways, to b esure of yourself, go to the CB website and do the online problems for the phys sat ii there (there are about 16) and ee how well you do. Those questions are hard, but not nearly as hard as the final SN questions. Good luck!

Also, what I did that really helped me was diagnose (sp?) my answer sheet and saw that I neededto majorly review Electric and Magnetic fields, Thermal, and Optics (depressing there...) So I did thermal last night and Elec/Mag and optics tonight. Look at the ones your got wrong and just study those areas.

By Justice (Justice) on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Good luck guys!

By Xjay2max (Xjay2max) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 06:52 am: Edit

Good luck guys!

Coefficient of linear expansion. Length! Resistivity! Concave! Convex! Diverge! Focal Point! Vectors! Specific Heat! Temperature! Charles' Law! Boyle's Law! Ohms! Newtons! Time Dilation! Theory of Relativity! Red Shift! Blue Shift!

By Crypto86 (Crypto86) on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 07:09 am: Edit

Good luck all people taking physics! (Which is a lot more than May) Have a good breakfast, study that last extra tough topic for a few minutes, and just relax. You know you will do well, so keep it calm. I'll be back here at noon time for a big discussion. Laters.

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