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What’s the Best AP Physics 1 Review Book?
Reviews & Comparisons

Editor's Choice
Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2020, Premium Edition: 5 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review
Cracking the AP Physics 1 ExamCheck Current Price
#2nd Best Choice
AP Physics 1 Crash Course Book + Online – Best AP Physics 1 Review Book
AP Physics 1 Crash Course Book + Online Check Current Price
#3rd Best Choice
5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics 1
Princeton Review 5 Steps to a 5Check Current Price

Last Updated On: April 16, 2021

AP Physics 1 is an AP course designed to mimic an intermediate-level college Physics course. This algebra-based class covers electricity, motion, force, waves, and conservation laws, to name a few.

If you're not too keen on mathematics, you'll probably find this pretty challenging, so the best way to prepare is to build a good foundation on the concepts.

You can do that by studying with the best AP Physics 1 review books. Here's a list of the top-rated ones we've found.

5 Best AP Physics 1 Books in 2021

1 - Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2020, Premium Edition: 5 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review (Editor's Choice)

Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2020, Premium Edition: 5 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review

Based on our research, most students recommend the 5 steps to a 5 book as one of the most effective AP Physics 1 review books.

We like that this AP Physics 1 prep book matches the latest course syllabus prepared by the College Board for this year's AP exam.

With the 5 steps to a 5 book, you can access the complete cross-platform prep course for Physics 1. There are also 3 practice tests that you can use to gauge your progress. You'll find 2 practice questions in the book and one online.

We like how this book comes with an interactive and customizable AP planner so you can manage your time properly.

You can also use the analysis tool to check your exam readiness. Another thing that makes this prep review book more enjoyable is the innovative games and flashcards that come with it.

The book is available in digital format so that you can access it from anywhere via any mobile device.

Pros
  • Comprehensive discussion of AP Physics
  • Clear and easy to follow
  • Ideal for college students
  • Includes games and flashcards
Cons
  • Not for late-minute studying

2 - AP Physics 1 Crash Course Book + Online – Best AP Physics 1 Review Book

AP Physics 1 Crash Course Book + Online – Best AP Physics 1 Review Book

The AP Physics 1 Crash Course book is focused on the key concepts to help you master the subject matter without delving into the minor details.

Most students we've talked to confirm that this is the most suitable book if you're pressed for time.

The book covers Newton's Law, kinematics, dynamics, circular motion, and the Universal Law of Gravitation, all included in the Advanced Placement Physics 1 examination.

We like how this review material's structure is easy to read and follow.

Pros
  • Ideal for time-crunched students
  • Good for last-minute studying
  • Covers the key concepts
Cons
  • Lack of comprehensive explanation

3 - 5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics 1 Algebra-Based 2019 Elite Student Edition

5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics 1

The Princeton Review study guide offers comprehensive content and test-taking strategies to help you prepare for the upcoming AP Physics 1.

The book covers all topics with two full-length practice tests and detailed answer explanations.

Most students are impressed with the charts and figures that illustrate each concept and make learning more enjoyable.  You'll also find practice drills at the end of each chapter so you can track your progress.

Pros
  • Easy to follow
  • Several sample questions
  • Includes practice drills
Cons
  • Contains printing mistakes

4 - Sterling Test Prep AP Physics 1 Review

Sterling Test Prep AP Physics 1 Review

The Sterling Test Prep AP Physics 1 Review book has a different approach compared to its competitors. It focuses entirely on practice tests to hone your mastery of the subject matter.

Based on our research, Sterling Test Prep believes that preparing for AP Physics should be more than just learning the concepts. It's more on familiarization and mastery by constant practice.

This review material consists of 700+ practice questions, which you can use to gauge your readiness from time to time. It also includes several diagnostic tests to pinpoint your weak areas.

We like how the qualitative questions provide a step-by-step procedure on how to answer each problem correctly.

One downside that we noticed is that it may cost more than any other AP Physics 1 review books on the market.

Pros
  • Includes 700+ practice questions
  • Well-explained answers
  • Targets your mastery of the subject
Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Not for beginners

5 - Barron's AP Physics 1 Review Book

Barron's AP Physics 1 Review Book

Barron's is another leader in the review course and book industry, so it's no wonder that they landed in our top 5 list of the best AP Physics 1 review books.

This review book provides a comprehensive discussion of the core concepts of AP Physics 1 in an easy to understand and easy to follow manner.

It has two full-length practice tests that follow the difficulty of the actual exam. The price is also reasonable for the quality it provides.

However, based on our research, some of the content is not updated as we've expected. The outline is not the same as the College Board.

Nevertheless, it's still a good study guide as the practice problems can rival other tests on the market.

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Provides a thorough discussion
  • Includes two full-length practice tests
Cons
  • Outline not the same as the College Board
  • Some content may not be updated

6 - Bonus: AP Physics Exam Flashcard Study System

AP Physics Exam Flashcard Study System

As an additional study material, we usually use flashcards, especially when the test day is nearing. They're good tools to remember specific concepts or problems.

For the AP Physics 1 exam, most students we've interviewed choose the AP Physics Exam Flashcard Study System.

These cards serve as extra materials for last-minute reviews. They aren't as comprehensive as a full-length practice test, so we do not recommend flashcards for beginners.

They ideally work for students who already have a good understanding of the concepts but just need that extra push.

Pros
  • Ideal for last-minute study
  • Well-organized
  • Good study companion to textbooks
Cons
  • Simple approach to learning
  • Not for in-depth review

AP Physics 1 Exam Information

The College Board AP Physics 1 exam is 3 hours long and has two sections: multiple-choice section and free-response section.

Note: In this AP physics 1 exam, you can use four-function scientific or graphing calculators. You will also get the tables of commonly used physics formulas and equation.

  • Section 1: The multiple-choice section consists of 50 questions and answerable within 1 hour and 30 minutes. From this section, you can score 50% on your final AP exam.
  • Section 2: The free-response section consists of 5 questions and answerable within 1 hour and answerable within 30 minutes.

Related Article: How Much does an AP Exam Cost?

About the Advanced Placement Physics 1 Course

The AP Physics 1 course covers the basic principles of Physics, including Newtonian mechanics and simple circuits. Other Physics principles that you'll learn consist of mechanical waves and sound, power, work, and energy. In this class, you'll be required to investigate a specific phenomenon through laboratory work.

The college course equivalent for AP Physics 1 is a first-semester college course in Physics (algebra-based). To qualify for this program, you must have finished a geometry course or currently taking Algebra II or its equivalent.

In this course, you're expected to learn:

  • How to formulate a hypothesis or scientific query
  • Describe representations and interpret models
  • Analyze and evaluate data
  • Use math to solve scientific problems
  • Conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis
  • Use scientific theories and explanations

5 Tips to Prepare For The Exam

1. Take a Diagnostic Test

Assess your skills by taking a diagnostic test before you start studying. This will determine which areas you're good at and which topics you need to focus more on. Most review books come with diagnostic tests. You also use the sample questions in the first few chapters to gauge your understanding of the subject matter. Aside from prep books, diagnostic exams are also available in many study guides.

2. Choose Your Materials

While there are a lot of free resource materials available online, we recommend you get a comprehensive yet easy-to-read textbook if you want to learn the core concepts of the subject matter. You can choose from the list of the best AP Physics 1 books we've provided above. Supplement it with review materials like study guides, prep books, and flashcards. It's also necessary to get familiar with the tools you need during the exam, such as a calculator or an equation table.

Recommended AP Prep Books:

3. Practice Multiple-Choice and Free-Response Questions

The AP Physics 1 exam consists of two sections - multiple-choice and free-response. Put your skills to the test by answering both sections in your prep book. Aside from developing your mastery of the subject matter, it will also fine-tune your skills as you prepare for the exam. For the free-response section, you need to be familiar with your experiments to justify your scientific investigations properly. It also pays to review past exams, so you'll know how they're presented.

4. Take Practice Tests

As the exam day is nearing, take another practice test. This will determine how far you've come since you started studying. Practice tests will gauge your progress, so you'll know if you still need help in some areas of the course. As soon as you've targeted your weaker areas, start from the beginning, provided that you still have some time to spare.

5. Know What to Bring on Exam Day

Most students who are taking the AP Physics 1 course will get a run-through from the respective teachers. However, if you want some extra boost of confidence, you can also do your research about what you may bring during the exam day and what you ought to leave at home.

Our Final Thoughts: AP Physics 1 Book

Most students consider the AP Physics 1 exam as one of the hardest AP exams. But with the right prep books, your success rate could be higher.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the subject's core concepts, we recommend AP Physics 1 Crash Course Book – Best Review Book.

We like how it provides a thorough discussion of each subject matter and includes practice questions to track your progress.

If you don't have a lot of time to prepare, check out Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam - 2019 Edition. It targets the most important concepts so you can focus more on things that matter.

Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2020, Premium Edition: 5 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review

Our #1 Recommendation

Cracking the AP Physics 1 Exam 2020, Premium Edition: 5 Practice Tests + Complete Content Review

  • Comprehensive discussion of AP Physics
  • Clear and easy to follow
  • Ideal for college students
  • Includes games and flashcards
Check Current Price
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About the author

William Cohen

William Cohen

William is an electrical engineer whose great passion is helping promising students achieve their goals and dreams. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with aspiring learners from all over the world.

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