Skip to main content
Log in

Investigating ChatGPT-4’s performance in solving physics problems and its potential implications for education

  • Review Article
  • Published:
Asia Pacific Education Review Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have been consistently influencing the progress of education for an extended period, with its impact becoming more significant especially after the launch of ChatGPT-3.5 at the end of November 2022. In the field of physics education, recent research regarding the performance of ChatGPT-3.5 in solving physics problems discovered that its problem-solving abilities were only at the level of novice students, insufficient to cause outstanding alarm in the field of physics education. However, the release of ChatGPT-4 presented substantial improvements in reasoning and conciseness. How does this translate to performance in solving physics problems, and what kind of impact might it have on education? This study undertakes a comprehensive assessment of ChatGPT-4’s performance in solving physics problems from the perspective of physics conceptual understanding and reasoning, and compares its performance with that of students. It is concluded that ChatGPT-4’s performance in solving physics problems has significantly improved compared to ChatGPT-3.5, and was notably superior to the majority of middle school and high school students. This finding presents both a challenge and an opportunity for physics education and the broader educational field, and triggers immediate considerations for coping with this challenge in future teaching and assessment environments.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


This research was supported by the National Office for Education Sciences Planning (China) under Grant DIA220370.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sudong Pan.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest is reported by the authors.

Ethical approval

As the subject of this study is ChatGPT-4, our investigation on this AI tool does not require an Ethics Committee Approval. As for the portion where we compared ChatGPT-4’s performance with students’, the student data were adapted from three previous studies, namely Li et al. (2009), Xing (2023), Xing et al. (2017). We have obtained permission from the copyright owners. Henceforth, the entirety of our submission does not require an Ethics Committee Approval.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (DOCX 25 KB)

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tong, D., Tao, Y., Zhang, K. et al. Investigating ChatGPT-4’s performance in solving physics problems and its potential implications for education. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev. (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: