# Introduction to SAT II Physics

(Darren Dugan) #1

#### Recall (20–33% of the test)

These are questions of the either-you-know-it-or-you-don’t variety. They test your understanding
of the basic concepts of physics. No equations or calculations are necessary for these questions.
They’re simply a matter of knowing your stuff.

#### Single-Concept Problem (40–53% of the test)

These questions expect you to recall, and make use of, one physical relationship, formula, or
equation. This might involve plugging numbers into a kinematic equation of motion, or it might
involve recalling the equation E = hf and solving for E or f. These questions test to see if you
know important formulas and how to apply them.

#### Multiple-Concept Problem (20–33% of the test)

These questions expect you to bring together two or more different relationships, formulas, or
equations. This could involve bringing together two formulas from the same subject—for instance,
a problem in linear momentum that requires you to calculate the momentum of an object before a
collision so that you can calculate its velocity after the collision—or it may bring together
formulas from two different subjects—for instance, a problem that involves an electric point
charge moving in circular motion in a magnetic field. These questions test not only your
knowledge of physical relationships, but also your ability to integrate more than one in a complex
problem.
You’re probably thinking that the recall questions are the easiest, and the multiple-concept
problems are the hardest. This isn’t necessarily true. Most people have an easier time bringing
together two simple principles of mechanics than recalling the significance of the Rutherford
experiment. You’ll find all three types of questions throughout the test, and at different levels of
difficulty. Ultimately, every question tests the very same thing: whether you’ve grasped the basic
principles of physics.

### Strategies for Taking SAT II Physics

A MACHINE, NOT A PERSON, WILL SCORE your SAT II Physics Test. The tabulating
machine sees only the filled-in ovals on your answer sheet, and doesn’t care how you came to
these answers; it just impassively notes if your answers are correct. A lucky guess counts in your
favor just as much as an answer you give confidently. By the same token, if you accidentally fill in
B where you meant C, you won’t get any credit for having known what the answer was. Think of
the multiple-choice test as a message to you from ETS: “We care only about your answers. We do