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Physics Midterm Review

Mr. Burney, ITT Framingham

This review will give you a brief overview of the topics we have covered in class. This review won't teach you everything from the past weeks, it will highlight what you should have learned.You must read your book. You probably won't pass the test if you don't.



The test contains 10 points of matching exercises, 60 points of multiple choice, and 30 points of problems.

The matching and multiple choice questions test memorization knowledge and conceptual knowledge. The problems primarily test your application of physics to a given situation.

The test counts for 20% of your final grade in the physics course. Do not begin to study on Thursday night!

The review sheet below covers most of the topics covered on the test, but don't resemble the actual test. Anything mentioned in class or discussed in chapters 1-4 of the book is a possible question on the test.


Topics Studied:

  • Review of Algebra and Trigonometry
  • Vector components and addition
  • Units and dimensional analysis
  • Conversions (SI to British, SI to SI, etc.)
  • Prefixes (i.e., km, cm. mL, etc.)
  • One dimensional kinematics (1-D Motion)
    • position: displacement and distance
    • rate: velocity and speed
    • acceleration
    • free fall (gravity)
    • position/velocity/acceleration graphs
  • Two dimensional kinematics (2-D Motion)
    • projectile motion
  • Forces
    • Newton's Laws
    • F = ma
    • Gravity force (Weight)
    • Tension force
    • Normal force
    • Pushing/Pulling forces

In class we used many formulas. Those listed below are the most often used, with the first three under physics formulas being the most important. From those and a knowledge of trigonometry and algebra, all other equations are derived.

The sample problems below cover many of the types found in the midterm. The answers to the review can be found in a separate document.


1) Give four examples of scalar quantities and four examples of vector quantities.

2) Define the following terms, give mathematical definitions, as well as SI units.

  • Distance
  • Displacement
  • Speed
  • Velocity
  • Acceleration
  • Weight
  • Force
  • Tension
  • Normal Force
  • Newton's Laws

3) An equation for the mass of an object is given by cx/a where x is displacement, a is acceleration, and c is a constant. Use unit analysis to determine the units of c.

4) Order the numbers below from the most significant figures to the least? What does that say about the precision and accuracy of the devices used to take the measurements?






5) The figure below is a graph of displacement versus time. Describe a possible situation to go with this figure. Describe how the displacement and velocity are changing with time.

6) The figure below is a velocity-time graph. Describe how the velocity and acceleration are changing over time.

7) In the figure below, four forces are applied to an object. Draw the resultant total force.

8) How does air resistance affect a thrown object?


Problems: Work at least two of the following five problems. Set up each problem with formulas, units, and correctly labeled drawings. Show all work used in deriving your answers and circle or box final answers. 15 points each: 6 points for drawing with labels, 7 points for work, and 2 points for final answers. (These are the actual instructions)


1) A soccer ball is kicked off the roof of a 10 m tall building horizontally with a velocity of 6 m/s.

a) How long does it take for the ball to reach the ground?

b) How far away from the building does it land (what is its range)?

c) What is the total displacement of the ball?

d) What is the average velocity of the ball?

e) What is its velocity (magnitude and direction) as it impacts the ground?


2) A golf ball is hit at a velocity of 75 m/s at an angle of 35° to the ground.

a) How far does the ball travel (what is its range)?

b) How long does it take for the ball to land?

The ball hits a bird 5 seconds after being hit.

c) Where is the bird with respect to the golfer at this point?

d) Does the collision occur before after the ball reaches its mid-point?


3) A spring loaded Hot Wheels™ car launcher brings a 55g car from rest to a speed of 2.3 m/s in 0.6 seconds.

a) What acceleration does the car undergo?

b) What is the length of the launcher?

c) How many g's act on the car (what is the g ratio)?

d) What is the force that acts on the car?

e) What is the recoil force in the launcher?


4) A 500 gram bird lands in the center of a clothesline, causing it to sag 12° below the horizontal.

a) What is the weight of the bird?

b) What is the tension in the line on each side of the bird?

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