Be able to define displacement, velocity, and acceleration in clear, conversational language.

Reproduce the four equations of kinematics from memory and achieve facility in solving straightforward quantitative problems.

Be able to explain the difference between vector and scalar quantities and perform basic vector operations.

Describe how an object may accelerate yet still have a constant speed.

Be capable of fluently applying the concepts of uniform circular motion and projectile motion for problem solving.


Be able to clearly recall and express Newton's Laws of Motion in plain English.

Pay special attention to Newton's Second Law, understanding the basic relationship between force interactions and changes in an object's state of motion.

Move beyond the traditional 'contact forces' of mechanics to include an understanding of the classical fundamental forces and their relationship to Newton's Laws. Be able to compare and contrast the gravitational force and the electrostatic force.

Be able to distinguish mass and weight.

Become comfortable solving problems involving kinetic and static friction.

Understand how to construct free body diagrams, especially for classic model problems such as the inclined plane, the elevator, and objects suspended from multiple cables.

Understand at a basic level how the orientation of the forces on an object and the position of its center of mass determines a mix of translational and rotational dynamics.

Work, Energy, and Power

Understand the definition of mechanical work and comprehend the relationship between the direction of the force and displacement vectors in determining the work performed.

Master basic quantitative problem solving involving potential and kinetic energy. Be able to verbalize the relationships.

Be able to imaginatively visualize changes in potential energy in such systems as an object near the earth's surface, a mass-spring, and basic electrostatic systems.

Understand what is meant by binding energy.

Explain the difference between conservative and non-conservative forces.

Understand the principles underlying force multiplication with simple machines such as levers and pulleys.

Master basic problem solving using the concept of power within different contexts.

Harmonic Motion

Become comfortably fluent in the language of simple harmonic motion. For example, be able to explain what a 'radian per second' means when talking about a mass-spring.

Understand Hooke's Law in a straightforward way. For example, be able to tell the S.I. units of the spring constant.

Understand the phase relationship of displacement, velocity, and acceleration of a mass-spring.

Be capable of predicting the frequency of a mass-spring or a pendulum based on its intrinsic properties.


Master basic problem solving using Young's modulus, shear modulus and bulk modulus.

Recognize and understand the meaning of the yield point and the breaking point.

Define elastic hysteresis and damping.

Fluid Mechanics

Be comfortable working with the concepts of density and pressure and capable of fluently performing operations with density and pressure units.

Understand Pascal's Law and learn to solve siimple problems such as the hydraulic press.

Possess conceptual and quantitative problem solving mastery with Archimedes Principle. Understand how to set up buoyant force problems for both floating and submerged objects.

Master the two primary tools for describing the flow of an ideal fluid: the Continuity of Volume Flux and Bernoulli's Law.

Be able to explain the Venturi effect and apply this understanding to the interpretation of devices such as pitot tubes as well as various disease states which may occur in human circulation.

Be able to explain viscosity in terms of the internal dynamics of a real fluid.

Understand how to employ the Reynold's number to predict turbulent flow.

Understand how to use Poiseullie's Law to interpret a variety of situations involving the flow of a real fluid including the flow of blood in the human circulatory system.


Be prepared to distinguish transverse and longitudinal waves and categorize different types of waves along these lines.

Be prepared to solve basic wave problems involving wavelength, wave speed, period and frequency.

Understand how mechanical waves propagate due to the elastic properties of their particular medium and how the speed of mechanical waves is determined.

Be able to describe sound waves both in terms of pressure changes and particle displacements within the medium.

Be able to distinguish sound intensity and loudness and solve basic problems involving the decibel scale.

Be prepared to explain the Doppler effect in clear, simple language.

Understand the basic principles underlying the most important techniques of medical ultrasonography.

Comprehend how the principle of superposition determines the interference of waves sharing a medium and how beats result from interference.

Be able to conceptualize how standing waves are created and describe how the boundary conditions play a role in determining the properties of standing waves.

Bird's Eye View

Gain the ability to Outline Physics at the main topic level. Be able to reproduce the outline from memory.

Be able to clearly picture the model phenomena described within each main topic of Physics and describe at least one or two main concepts from each topic.

Hold yourself accountable for having a mental picture of the field of reference for each subtopic. Try to think of the simplest situation describing the phenomena. What is the simple model system for each subtopic?

Knowledge Mapping

Be capable of describing how the fundamental topics of Mechanics fit together.

Be able to describe the phenomena of Harmonic Motion, Elasticity, and Fluid Mechanics in the terms of the more fundamental mechanics topics: Kinematics, Newton's Laws, Work, Power & Energy, and Momentum & Impulse.

Be prepared to discuss basic mechanics within a constant force environment, whether the force is gravitational or electrostatic. What is the constant force system for each type of force?

Apply the ideas of mechanical work and potential energy to begin developing the concept of binding energy for simple gravitational and electrostatic systems.

Psychology & Sociology

Be prepared to describe the basic structure of a peripheral neuron.

Have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of nerve impulse transmission including the mechanisms for establishing resting potential and the events coinciding with action potential. Be able to describe impulse transmission in a myelinated neuron.

Understand the sequence of events producing the release of neurotransmitter at a synapse. Be able to describe how excitatory and inhibitory synapses are distinguished both in terms of the neurotransmitters employed and the mechanisms of action.

Be familiar with the various types of glial cells and their functions.

Be able to describe the basic anatomy of the brain and spinal cord. Know the location and function of the primary substructures in the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain, especially those implicated in psychological function.

Be capable of differentiating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems anatomically and functionally.

Understand how neuroendocrine cells function to integrate the nervous and endocrine system be familiar with the physiological centers of neuroendocrine activity.

Critical Analysis and Reasoning

Be able to list the types of verbal reasoning questions: Main Idea, Author's Tone, Thematic Extension, Specific Inference and Facts & Information.