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AP Physics C Mech. and E&M self study

  1. Jun 16, 2011 #1
    Hey so I'm trying to self study for both AP Physics exams for May 2012, and I've been going through halliday & resnick 7th ed. as a text, however, I feel that this book isn't helping me so much for the mechanics side of things (as I haven't begun to study E&M stuff yet) for two reasons. First, the instructor at my high school has posted all of the problem sets to work from the book for the AP Physics C Mech. course online, and I've done them on all topics in mechanics from 1d mechanics through vectors all the way up to work, energy, and power, and I am able to do most of these problems with just my knowledge from AP Physics B which I took last year. I have encountered online some AP Physics C problems from past exams, and some have struck me as far beyond what I have been preparing for with just my Halliday & Resnick text. My best example of such a problem is one which gives the acceleration of a particle encountering a drag force, with a net acceleration of a = g - bv, where b is a constant and v is the velocity of the particle, and you find an equation for the particle's velocity in terms of time by seeing the problem as a separable differential equation. Although calculus is very easy, as I got a 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam, I have trouble solving very calculus intensive problems such as the aforementioned acceleration differential equation problem. Is the Halliday Resnick text as calculus intensive as it can be, in order to prepare me for lovely math-intensive physics problems? What other text would you suggest to get a more mathematically inclined physics study? Or should I not worry about problems being as hard as that separable diff. eq. when it comes to my exam in May?

    Sorry for the EXTREMELY long inquiry D: lol

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2011 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  4. Jun 17, 2011 #3
    I agree that you should probably be fine with Halliday and Resnick. Of course you can get more mathematically intensive by moving up to a book like Kleppner, but I seriously doubt you'll need it for your class. Like was said before, H&R one of several standard books that universities use for the first 2 courses in Calc based Physics. Keep in mind the problems toward the end of the problem set are generally the hardest, and if you're mostly getting assigned problems with lower numbers you can always turn up the difficulty by choosing to also do the higher numbered problems.

    Not that something like Kleppner wouldn't be beneficial - and by all means, if you aren't being challenged enough, move up to the next level book - but I seriously doubt you will be unprepared by working through H&R. The same goes for Electrodynamics. The next level up would be Griffiths, but I'd say that reading this would not only be unneccessary but also possibly a bad thing to skip H&R and use it as your first exposure.

    I would probably recommend sticking with H&R, at least for the moment, and making the call to move up to a different book at the beginning of next semester.
  5. Jun 23, 2011 #4
    I used Young and Freedman, but there's way more in a college physics text than on the AP physics C exams. To ace the exam, make sure to read a book written specifically for the test. The best one I've seen is 5 steps to a 5, followed by Princeton Review
  6. Jun 23, 2011 #5
    For the differential equations stuff, the hardest thing you would probably need is 1st-order linear ODE. Read the first few sections of Tenenbaum and Pollard and you should be fine.
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