SAT Physics Subject Syllabus Paper Format Pattern Questions

Points          Minutes     Questions
200-800     60     75 (Multiple Choice)

Approximate % of Test
  • Kinematics, such as velocity, acceleration, motion in one dimension, and motion of projectiles
  • Dynamics, such as force, Newton’s laws, statics, and friction
  • Energy and momentum, such as potential and kinetic energy, work, power, impulse, and conservation laws
  • Circular motion, such as uniform circular motion and centripetal force
  • Simple harmonic motion, such as mass on a spring and the pendulum
  • Gravity, such as the law of gravitation, orbits, and Kepler’s laws
Electricity and magnetism
  • Electric fields, forces, and potentials, such as Coulomb’s law, induced charge, field and potential of groups of point charges, and charged particles in electric fields
  • Capacitance, such as parallel-plate capacitors and time-varying behavior in charging/ discharging
  • Circuit elements and DC circuits, such as resistors, light bulbs, series and parallel networks, Ohm’s law, and Joule’s law
  • Magnetism, such as permanent magnets, fields caused by currents, particles in magnetic fields, Faraday’s law, and Lenz’s law
Waves and optics
  • General wave properties, such as wave speed, frequency, wavelength, superposition, standing wave diffraction, and Doppler effect
  • Reflection and refraction, such as Snell’s law and changes in wavelength and speed
  • Ray optics, such as image formation using pinholes, mirrors, and lenses
  • Physical optics, such as single-slit diffraction, double-slit interference, polarization, and color
Heat and thermodynamics
  • Thermal properties, such as temperature, heat transfer, specific and latent heats, and thermal expansions
  • Laws of thermodynamics, such as first and second laws, internal energy, entropy, and heat engine efficiency
Modern physics
  • Quantum phenomena, such as photons and photoelectric effect
  • Atomic, such as the Rutherford and Bohr models, atomic energy levels, and atomic spectra
  • Nuclear and particle physics, such as radioactivity, nuclear reactions, and fundamental particles
  • Relativity, such as time dilation, length contraction, and mass-energy equivalence
  • General, such as history of physics and general questions that overlap several major topics
  • Analytical skills, such as graphical analysis, measurement, and math skills
  • Contemporary physics, such as astrophysics, superconductivity, and chaos theory


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