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Studying Will I be capable of self-studying for AP Physics C

  1. Dec 17, 2011 #1

    I will be dually enrolled at high school and a local state university next semester. I will be taking Calculus II, and have completed a basic algebra-based Physics course.

    Will I be capable of self-studying for the AP Physics C (both subjects) exam in May?

    Also, can you recommend any texts for learning the material? I've looked at Halliday and Resnick as per this forum's recommendations, but before I buy it I want to make sure it covers what I need.

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2011 #2
    Let me start off with the obvious answer “Only you know what you are capable of”. There, with that out of the way, yes it is very doable. I don’t think you mention which of the two Physics C exams you wish to take or whether it’s both. Either way it is very doable, and i think any good text book can PRESENT you with more than enough information or material to do well if you in fact take it seriously. With that said, if you are still looking for books, i suggest you mention which subject test you’re planning on taking because obviously those large “cover all” textbooks are much more expensive than say a book that focuses only on E&M. So yes it is something that with a certain amount of dedication you can do and good luck.
  4. Dec 17, 2011 #3
    Also, to my understanding this isn’t illegal so i’ll suggest this. Since you say you’re taking a class in you local state college, try and see if any first year mechanics or E&M courses are being offered close to the time you are attending your calc class. If there is any, i suggest you attend lecture even though you are not enrolled, therefore you have an actual lecturer presenting the material to you. If you keep up with the class, you’ll be more than ready to pass those exams come May. It’s just an extra hour of your time, which can save you time in the long run (since imo you’re MORE LIKELY to understand the material if someone is teaching it to you, hence why most of us go to school instead of self study) Either way though, i’d say most people are capable of passing that test with a little discipline.
  5. Dec 17, 2011 #4
    Unfortunately, if there was a class available - I would take it. The university isn't very big on physics, and there isn't a class available this semester.

    I was planning on taking both subject tests, but perhaps that's a little bit too much? If I were to take both, can you recommend a book that would cover all of the necessary material?

    Thanks for the response.
  6. Dec 17, 2011 #5
    I definitely could recommend a book but i’m a second year undergrad so take it with a grain of salt. The book we use at our university for physics majors is by Giancoli (4th edition). It covers much much more than needed to do well in the ap exam. For electricity and magnetism I used Giancoli and the book “fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism” by Arthur Kip. Both were good, but if people are recommending Halliday and Resnick i would probably go with that one. I’ve never read that book but i can safely say that given the good reviews and a quick look at the table of contents, that should you choose to buy that book, it will provide you with more than enough material to pass the tests. Personally i would suggest you choose one test to take, but ultimately it is up to you. Like i said, i can only go by what i know and considering i’m a second year, i know very little. Hopefully other people who are more knowledgeable in the subject (as most everyone in this forum is) can guide you toward the right direction. I just thought i would stick my finger in the subject. Even so, if you choose to go with Giancoli, you’ll be just fine. I’ve read reviews that say the book is too difficult but imo it is very fair. The problems are not very difficult but there will be some head scratchers. I suggest doing those and asking for help on this forum if you ever get stuck. There are plenty of smart people who would guide you in the correct direction. I’m also going to suggest you use MIT’s open courseware given that you won’t be taking any classes. That is the next best thing to attending lecture. Make sure though that you understand intro calc fairly well, because i’ve noticed most bad reviews of books are from people saying the math is too hard. These books being recommended are basically pure calculus so make sure you understand that.
  7. Dec 17, 2011 #6
    Thanks, I will definitely look into Giancoli's book. I will also look at MIT's lecture series. I think we used a Giancoli book for my algebra-based class, and I think it was okay.

    Thanks for the help.
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