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Other AP textbooks for Physics and Calculus

  1. May 26, 2015 #1

    I'm studying on my own for AP exams a year from now and need some advice on which books to get. I'm taking AP calculus (AB or BC, haven't decided yet), AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, and AP Physics C: Mechanics. I already have a Calculus book by Ron Larson, is this sufficient to prepare for the calculus exam?

    Also, should I take AB or BC? Is BC a lot harder? Will universities be more forgiving of the score if I take BC over AB? Is it extremely hard to get a 5 in these exams? I've never taken an AP exam (or course).
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2015 #2
    Does Fundamentals of Physics Extended by Halliday and Resnick (10th edition) cover everything in the AP physics exams?
  4. May 27, 2015 #3
    Larson should be enough for ap calculus. Not sure for physics, but giancoli physics scientist and engineers, would cover what you need at that level. Out college introductory text cover the same msterial. It should not really matter if your aim is to pass ap test.
  5. May 30, 2015 #4
    Thanks, I ordered fundamentals of physics extended, hopefully it's enough for at least AP Physics 1 and 2. What so you mean? Why shouldn't it matter? :smile:
  6. May 30, 2015 #5
    Because you can go into more detail, such as, spivak for calculus and kolenkow and kleppner for mechanices. However, these books require a level of maturity. Spivak is more theoretical and sure you will understand calculus, but the ap exam is more about technique ie applying a formula, then it is about understanding.
  7. Jun 1, 2015 #6
    Does anyone know which books are good for AP physics 1 and 2 and both AP physics C exams?
  8. Jul 11, 2015 #7
    AP Physics 1+2 are largely algebra-based and I would recommend College Physics by Geller & Young (used in high school, received a "5" on AP Physics B test). Another strong alternative is Serway/Vuille.

    AP Physics C is calculus-based and Halliday/Resnick is a great book for that (regular version covers both Mech. and E&M, so it is comprehensive, no need for extended)
    My high school used Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Giancoli - i thought the book was great. Either book will prepare you well for the AP Physics C Test.

    I think you should just study for AP Calculus and Physics C. Physics C gives you the advanced credit that Physics 1+2 would not. Physics 1+2 covers more topics and would be a waste of time if you were to just pass out of Physics C (Physics 1+2 covers waves, optics, heat, not covered in either Physics C test).

    For Calculus AB/BC (took BC), any of the books by the following authors would be fine.
    Larson, Hostetler, Edwards (you have this, so use this - great book)
    Thomas (used in high school)
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  9. Jul 11, 2015 #8
    Thank you so much! Great advice, I actually think I'll just take Physics C then :D Saves me some money and stress, and give me more time to focus on physics c and calculus. Thanks again!
  10. Jul 11, 2015 #9


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    I seem to recall there was something I didn't like about that Serway book. Oh yes, it gets tons of negative reviews.
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