High School Physical Science
First Semester Exam
Know the numerical value of the prefixes for milli, centi, deci, deca, hecto and kilo. Be able to convert from one unit
to another (moving the decimal point.)
Know the definitions for hypothesis, theory, law, model, independent variable, dependent variable, control and
constant. Know the definitions for mass (and its metric unit), volume (and the 3 ways you can write the ending unit),
and the metric unit for length.
Forces in Motion
Know the concepts of motion, displacement, speed, velocity, acceleration, momentum, inertia, centripetal force,
gravity, force, action-reaction force, friction, free fall, air resistance, energy (and how it is measured), potential
energy (including SI unit), gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, projectile motion and the law of
conservation of momentum.
Review how to distinguish between speed, acceleration and momentum graphs (see the test review for the 1st nine
Know the differences between instantaneous speed and constant speed; average speed and average velocity;
balanced and unbalanced forces; positive and negative acceleration; conservation of momentum and conservation
of energy, and the rate of acceleration due to gravity.
Know the 2 factors that determine the amount of gravitational force between 2 objects.
Know and be able to apply Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion.
Know the definition for Archimedes’s Principle.
Know the definitions for simple machine, compound machine, fulcrum, lever, mechanical advantage, efficiency,
work (including SI unit), and power (including SI unit),.
Know the two ways a machine can make work easier.
Know the differences between a lever, ramp, wedge, screw, wheel and axle, pulley and block and tackle.
States of Matter, Transfer of Energy and Gas Laws
Know the difference between the molecular movement of a solid, liquid and gas.
Recognize what particles do when heated (or lose heat.)
Recognize a description of a physical property, a physical change, a chemical property or a chemical change.
Know the definitions for endothermic change, exothermic change, specific heat, conduction, convection, and
radiation. Be able to apply conduction, convection and radiation in described situations.
Gas Laws and Solutions
Know the definitions of and differences between Boyle’s Law, Charles law, and Bernoulli’s Principle.
Know the difference between homogeneous mixtures, heterogeneous mixtures, suspension and a colloid.
Know the difference between metals, metalloids and nonmetals (in terms of conductivity).
Know the difference between a conductor and an insulator.
Know the difference between solutions that are supersaturated, concentrated, and diluted.
Know the 3 ways to increase the solubility of a solute.
Know the 2 ways to increase the solubility of a gas.
Know how to measure how acidic or basic a substance is (pH scale.)
Magnetism and Electricity
Know the definitions for magnet, magnetic field, magnetic domain, and magnetic poles.
Know the purpose of a galvanometer.
Know how an electric current is created through electromagnetic induction.
Know the difference between a direct current and an alternating current.
Know the difference between a series circuit and a parallel circuit.
Know the difference between an electric motor and an electric generator.
Know how a dry cell battery works.
Know how the difference in the number of wire loops between a primary coil and secondary coil determines whether
or not it is a step-up transformer, or a step-down transformer.
Know the difference between electrical energy, electrical power and electrical resistance.
Know the difference between static electricity and electric current.
Waves, Electromagnetic Waves, Light and Sound
Know the difference between the way energy travels in transverse, mechanical (compressional wave), and surface
waves. Know which wave carries energy for light, and which carries energy for sound.
Know the definitions for wavelength, amplitude, frequency, wave speed and resonance.
Know the relationship between the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection.
Know how the reflection or absorption of light determines what you see.
Know the difference between reflection, refraction and diffraction.
Know the electromagnetic spectrum in order (from long wavelengths, low energy to high wavelengths, high energy)
Know the 3 primary colors of light and the secondary colors (primary pigments) they can create.
Know the difference between coherent light and polarized light.
Know what happens to light rays when they hit a concave or convex mirror (converge or diverage.)
Know the difference between the shape of a concave and a convex lens.
Know the advantages of fluorescent lightbulbs compared to incandescent lightbulbs.
Know the difference between a reflecting telescope and a refracting telescope.
Know how the brain interprets the intensity of sound, and the sound intensity range that can cause hearing damage
Know the difference between sonar and radar.
Formulas to Know
speed = force = electrical power =
velocity = momentum = electrical energy =
density = gravitational potential energy =