My joyless, long-winded assessment of the new AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 exams below was long enough as it was. I couldn't suitably fit in all my misgivings and supporting tangents.
As I said, the redesigns is a shining utopia that may well be worthy of pursuing. The old AP Physics B has been torn apart and used for parts in the new, sweepingly grander vision. In very real ways, classroom teachers have been compelled to abandon the old college replacement course and deliver a course that matches what many would describe as the best college courses offered in the nation (if not the world). All in the confines of a high school setting.
The new course represents a rebuilding from the ground up. Everything is different—for the better. To pass AP Audit muster, teachers must attest to conforming to the many layers of the New Vision, and that they've rebuilt their courses from the ground up.
What good fortune it is for the College Board that in spite of the upheaval visited upon classroom teachers far and wide, the exam, itself, required no real structural change!
The old exam consisted of dozens of multiple choice questions and a handful of free-response questions. After the exhaustive overhaul required of AP-approved physics teachers, the corresponding new exam consists of dozens of multiple choice questions and a handful of free-response questions. At the College Board's end, the multiple choice will require machine scoring as it already exists, and the free-response will require readers and table leaders as they have been using since the exam's inception.
So it's not the same old wine in a new bottle. Rather, a completely new wine in an old bottle. As demanded by the bottlers, themselves. Good fortune for the bottlers; tough rows to hoe for the workers in the vineyards.