It is known that the new teaching program based on the context based approach has been performed gradually from the 2005-2006 academic year in Turkey to facilitate the students' understanding of the science and technology subject matter. Therefore, it is aimed to teach the students according to the new program supported with daily life activities. Thus, the students can establish a link between physics and everyday life. In this sense, the preliminary knowledge of the pre-service physics teacher about the context based approach is important before they became in-service teachers at schools. From this point on, the purpose of this study is to determine the pre-service physics teachers' prior knowledge about the subject of context based learning. The study was conducted with 16 senior students who have taken the major part of the physics and physics education courses. The collected data was analyzed by using the content analysis method. The results of the analysis showed that the pre-service physics teachers have some lack of knowledge and lack of applications about the context based approach used in physics lessons. According to the results, the pre-service physics teachers' knowledge on this subject should be improved by using the context based approach activity in courses at university level. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.