1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Need AP Physics C textbook reccomendation

  1. Aug 13, 2009 #1
    I just discovered that this year I am going to be teaching AP Physics C (the one with calculus) - just the mechanics curriculum. And the school does NOT have any textbooks for the students yet. So I was just asked to make a textbook recommendation.

    In the past I have taught AP Physics B (non-calculus) - for that class I liked Giancoli Physics. So can someone recommend a good high school textbook for AP Physics C?

    For many students, this is the their first high school physics course; most have not already had a full year of physics. They had a physical science course in 9th grade, but that was mostly conceptual. Also, these students have not had calculus yet; they will be taking calculus concurrently with the physics course. They will need to see many problems worked out step-by-step.

    I found one good post on this topic in this forum, but haven't yet found others. So any other ideas would be welcomed. Here is the one I know about:


    Also, any suggestions for study guides with lots of fully worked out problem solving, esp. questions involving calculus? I know about (and like) The Princeton Review's "Cracking the AP Physics B and C Exams"

    But now I have noticed the Princeton Review's "Cracking the AP Physics C Exam" Should I also get this - or is this just basically the same as the above?

    Thanks for your time!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2009 #2
    I personally would go with Halliday, Resnick, and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics (Volume 1, which is just mechanics), with solutions manual.

    There are literally 100+ problems per chapter for students to work through. They are also rated for difficulty within the book so students have a general idea of how hard the problems will be.

    People sometimes say that book doesn't really explain how to do the problems at the end of every chapter, however I like to think that this is a good thing. The problems usually tend to heavily rely on students applying the concepts to solve the problems -- the authors don't give the student everything they simply give them the general concepts and teach the student how to solve related problems by applying the general concepts.

    As for study guides you're the teacher which means you must have passed College Boards requirements to call the class AP. You have access to previous years tests, get them! There's no better practice than actual problems from the actual tests.

    Physics is about problem solving yes, but you can't simply look at worked examples and expect the students to learn the material in enough depth -- it requires work on their part to think about how to solve the problem.
  4. Aug 13, 2009 #3
    Feldoh, thanks much for the advice. I am looking into this.

    > As for study guides you're the teacher which means you must have passed
    > College Boards requirements to call the class AP. You have access to previous
    > years tests, get them! There's no better practice than actual problems from
    > the actual tests.

    Oh, sure. I was thinking about what guides I can recommend to the students to purchase, for their own use.

    (I also am wondering about the difference between the Princeton Review's "Cracking the AP Physics B and C Exams", and its "Cracking the AP Physics C Exam". If one already owns the first, is it really worth getting the second? Also, I plan on recommending that they save money by purchasing a used copy , even, if it is 2 - 4 years old.)
  5. Aug 22, 2009 #4
    I will second the rec for Halliday, Resnick and Walker. It is really an all around decent book, in my humble opinion. Be careful which problems you assign, many at the beginning of each section in the chapter review are just plug and chug (one of the big critical points against this book), but many that come later are quite brilliant and challenging.

    Other than for homework (and I actually use WebAssign now, with the HRW text), I use the textbook only for a few, selected topics, prefering to build my own notes and derivations for my students. One thing I really like about HRW are the "Questions" at the start of each chapter review. Many involve ranking tasks and analysis of visual representations (pictures, graphs, etc). I find that these questions really weed out the students with good understanding from the students who are just exceptionally gifted at mathematics and reasoning. Don't get me wrong, I like both types of student :-)

    As AP review guides go, Princeton Review has been the best I have seen. I have only used the Physics C version, so I cannot answer your question exactly, but it has been top notch for the last 5 years or so. Barrons is OK, but has some weird topics that are not in the AP curriculum (e.g., in the gravity section they go off and do some funky stuff, also, some wierness in E&M topics). "5 Steps to a 5" are good in some subjects, but I found the last edition of the AP Physics (B&C combined) to be just terrible. A company called REA has a review guide that I have glanced at...seems good, but I have not looked at it in depth. REA has lots of general physics and math supplements that are GREAT! Their pocket review guides make handy desk references.
  6. Oct 9, 2009 #5
    I think the best physics textbook for Physics C is University Physics by Young and Freedman.

    The book provides a solid balance between concepts and quantitative calculations. It is the textbook used at MIT.

    For Physics C, you will not need the whole textbook (1714 pages - 11th edition).

    The book is organized traditionally with mechanics topics from kinematics through universal gravitation.

    For E & M, chapter 21 starts with electric fields and electrostatics and concludes with Inductance and polarization. If you buy the extended edition, there are 3 chapters on quantum mechanics that are the gold standard for introductory quantum mechanics.
  7. Jan 7, 2010 #6
    sorry wrong thread
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook