Sunday, October 18, 2009

DSST Principles of Physical Science I Exam Guide (Physics)

Let me begin this guide by saying that I only ever took the mandatory science classes in high school--that is to say, the most experience I have in science courses was taking a Grade 10 general science class. That said, the DSST Physical Science I exam is one of the easiest exams I have ever written.

According to the DSST fact sheet, the exam consists of 60% physics and 40% chemistry. If you intend to write this exam, simply study the general concepts in those areas and know how to apply some of the related formulae, and you should be able to pass the exam.

There's a lot of stuff mentioned on the fact sheet, all of which you should look up and study, so I'll just give a few examples and relevant links here to get you started.


Check out Wikipedia's entry on elementary physics formulae. Many of the formulae aren't important, but you should know things like work, force, distance, power, time, energy, acceleration, and gravity. You should be able to comprehend how these various elements may be related to each other in terms of formulae.

Know the relation between distance and gravity/magnetic forces. In other words, know how it's an exponential inverse equation.

Study vectors and direction.

Understand the basic ideas of the laws of thermodynamics, particularly the law of conservation of mass.

Know the difference between potential and kinetic energy.

Know Ohm's law, which says that Voltage equals Current multipled by Resistance (V = I * R), and the other variations of it (I = V/R, R = V/I). You should be able to do basic calculations with Ohm's law. You should also be able to remember the electrical formula for power, P = V * I.

Know the various SI units and scientific notation.


Understand the basic equations of specific heat. You should be able to do basic calculations involving mass, heat energy required, etc. There is an example of one of these questions on the DSST Fact Sheet. There is also a good video on specific heat calculations here:

Know the different states of matter. One of the more important things to remember about the different states is that a liquid is incompressible.

Know the difference between chemical and physical changes and be able to evaluate changes and determine which kind of change it is.

Those are all of the tips I have for studying in this guide, but they're not all of the things you need to know. Be sure to read the DSST fact sheet on the subject and study any additional points not mentioned here before writing the test. Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. great use of information here, ill incorporate it onto my upcoming kinetic energy paper.