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What’s the Best Review Book for AP Physics C?
3 Learning Materials You Need

Editor's Choice
Barron's AP Physics C Book Reviews
Barron's AP Physics CCheck Current Price
#2nd Best Choice
Cracking the AP Physics C Exam
Princeton ReviewCheck Current Price
#3rd Best Choice
5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics C 2020
5 Steps to a 5Check Current Price

Last Updated On: April 16, 2021

Did you know that AP Physics has one of the lowest passing rates in any AP exam? The AP Physics class is equivalent to intermediate-level Physics college course, covering Electricity and Magnetism; and Mechanics. Both areas require a higher Calculus level, that can range from BC to III.

While the class and the test will require much effort on your part, acing the class is not impossible with the right study materials. We'll help you build a strong foundation on the concepts with this list of the best AP Physics C review books.

3 Best AP Physics C Book Reviews for 2021

1 - Barron's AP Physics C Book Reviews (Editor's Choice)

Barron's AP Physics C Book Reviews

Based on our research, Barron’s AP Physics C textbook is the most updated and most streamlined to reflect the most recent AP Physics C exam format.

It starts with a diagnostic test to gauge your current knowledge on the concepts of AP Physics C.

Barron's AP Physics C prep book covers all test topics, such as one-dimensional kinematics, Newton's Law, and Gauss' Law.

We like that it includes 2 full-length practice tests with detailed answer explanations so you can point out which aspects of the course so you need to focus more on.

You'll find several test-taking tips and strategies to crack the Advanced Placement test. There's also an appendix for the AP Physics C equations.

 

Pros
  • Comprehensive content review book
  • Value for money
  • Includes a diagnostic test
  • Includes full-length practice tests
  • Easy-to-follow approach
  • Updated as per the new AP exam standard
Cons
  • Practice questions are difficult than actual AP test

2 - Princeton Review Cracking the AP Physics C Exam

Cracking the AP Physics C Exam

Ace your AP Physics C exam and score a perfect 5 with the Princeton Review study guide.

The book offers you thorough content review, which includes targeted strategies for every question type. The Princeton Review experts promises to provide a strategy that works for all students.

Base don research, this AP Physics C book provides a comprehensive content review for all the AP topics, and includes engaging activities and up to date information to help you prepare well for the exam. It includes 2 full-length practice tests with detailed answer explanations. You'll also find practice drills at the end of each chapter.

We are particularly impressed with its step-by-step walk through for the magnetism and mechanics and electricity exam questions.

Pros
  • Includes 2 full-length practice tests
  • Good price range
  • Great price, worth each penny.
  • The best book for those who want to study in depth physics.
Cons
  • This book may not for you if you buying it for getting 5 on the exam.

3 - 5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics C 2020

5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics C 2020

Get ready to score a 5 with 5 steps to a 5 study guide for AP physics c exam.

As one of the best AP Physics C books, it aims to offer you an effective 5 step study plan that's also easy to follow. These 5 steps may help build your skill, knowledge, and test-taking confidence.

Based on research, this AP preparation guide matches the latest syllabus of the latest exam.

The 5 Steps to a 5 Study prep guide provides 2 full-length practice tests, with detailed question answer explanation and information about getting a particular AP exam score. It features a customizable AP planner app so you can easily organize your time. The analytics will also help you assess your test readiness.

Pros
  • Comprehensive review book
  • Affordable
  • Includes a customizable AP planner
  • Includes 2 full-length practice tests
Cons
  • Not for last-minute studying

AP Physics C Exam Information

The College Board AP Physics C exam has 2 sections - Multiple choice questions section and free-response section.

  • Section 1: The multiple choice question section has 35 questions and lasts for 45 minutes.
  • Section 2: In the free-response section, a total of 3 questions are given and it lasts for 45 minutes. In both sections, you can score 50% each in your AP exam.

Note: You need graphics calculator in this AP Physics exam.

7 AP Physics C Exam Skills

1. Visual Representations

For this skill, test-makers will expect you to understand and analyze physical representations of mechanics without using graphs or charts. You should be able to describe the relationship between different representations of the same physical situation. Students need to be able to demonstrate the consistency between different representations of the same mechanical situation. You must understand how modifying conditions will affect the representation.

2. Question and Method

This section tests your knowledge of scientific questioning and methods. You should know how to make a claim based on the results of an experiment. You should understand how to properly set up a lab experiment, which might include a sketch of an experimental design. On the test, you should understand how to make observations and collect data from a lab set up. You must know how to identify potential experimental design errors and how they could change the results of an experiment.

3. Representing Data and Phenomena

This skill will test your ability to make and interpret visual representations of mechanical phenomena. You need to understand how to choose appropriate data and plot it accordingly. You must understand how to represent physical situations using graphs, charts, and diagrams.

4. Data Analysis

One important skill you should know is how to interpret and analyze data represented in graphs. You need to know how to identify patterns and consistencies based on visual representations. Students should know how to linearize data or determine the best fit curve to describe the data. It will test your ability to explain how data represents a physics principle.

5. Theoretical Relationships

A big part of the exam will be understanding theoretical physical relationships. Students need to be able to select the appropriate law, mathematical relationship, or equation to describe a physical phenomenon. You should have a thorough understanding of mechanical and physical equations and be able to determine the relationship between variables in those equations. You have to identify the change and how it will affect the relationship between two variables. You must know how to derive symbolic expressions following logical algebraic pathways.

6. Mathematical Routines

The AP Physics C exam relies heavily on mathematics and theoretical expressions. You should understand how to extract mathematical quantities from narratives or visual representations. You should constantly be thinking about which law or physical definition you can use to solve a problem in a given situation. It is important for the AP Physics C exam that you understand how to derive unknown quantities from known quantities by using the appropriate computational pathway.

7. Argumentation

Once you understand the core concepts of the AP Physics C exam, you should know how to make an argument based on your findings. You should be able to support that claim with evidence using physical and narrative representations. You should know how to explain the connection between your claim and findings and larger physical laws. You should know how to make arguments like a physicist and comprehend other student’s scientific works as well.

More textbook reviews for your AP exams:

AP Physics C Exam Core Topics

Kinematics

This core concept will make up about 14 to 20% of the AP Physics C exam. You will primarily be expected to understand motion in one dimension and two dimensions. This is the study of classical mechanics with regards to objects in motion without referring to the cause of their motion. It does not include ideas such as force or gravity. It sums up how objects are in motion all around us.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

This concept will make up about 17 to 23% of the AP Physics C exam. It deals with the underlying laws which dictate everything you will study throughout your AP Physics course. It will cover Newton’s first, second, and third laws of motion in detail. It will also cover circular motion. Newton’s first law pertains to an object in motion or rest stays that way until acted on by an external force. Newton’s second law deals with the relationship between acceleration and net force. Newton’s third law refers to the symmetry of motion found in nature.

Work, Energy, and Power

This section of the AP Physics C exam represents about 14 to 17%. You will be expected to understand the work-energy theorem and how it relates to Newton’s laws of motion. You will also be expected to understand force, potential energy, conservation of energy, and power.

Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum

This section represents about 14 to 17% of the AP Physics C exam. You will be tested on the center of mass and how it relates to the distributed mass throughout space. You should have a thorough understanding of impulse and momentum. The formulas associated with these concepts will also show up on the exam. You should also stand the conservation of linear momentum and collisions. You will be tested on how collisions and the formula associated with them can be applied to modern-day phenomena.

Rotation

This physical concept will represent about 14 to 20% of the AP Physics C exam. You should understand torque and rotational statics. Torque is the measure of the amount of force it takes to rotate an object about its axis. Rotational kinematics and dynamics will also be tested extensively. Angular momentum and its conservation will also be tested on this part of the exam.

Oscillations

This section will cover slightly less of the AP Physics C exam with about 6 to 14%. You should have a general understanding of simple harmonic motion, springs, and pendulums. Oscillations study the periodic motion of objects in relation to their equilibrium.

Gravitations

This section will account for about 6 to 14% of the AP Physics C exam. It will touch on gravitational forces and the orbits of planets and satellites. You should have a relative understanding of Newton’s laws of gravity and planetary physics. While it might not be tested thoroughly on the AP Physics C exam, you should understand the basic principles to study Newton’s laws of motion. This will represent a slight intro into other types of physics such as gravitational physics and planetary physics.

Final Words : AP Physics C Book

We've provided you a list of our suggested AP Physics C prep materials, but if you're looking for a more comprehensive book that is easy to follow yet affordable, then Barron's AP Physics C Book may be the best book for you. It contains full-length practice tests with detailed answer explanations to help you get ready for test day. We like how it also includes a diagnostic test so you can see where you stand.

If you're aiming to score 5, then you may also want to check out the 5 Steps to a 5 - AP Physics C 2018 Book. The book has an easy to follow approach that we find beneficial.

Barron's AP Physics C Book Reviews

Our #1 Recommendation

Barron's AP Physics C Book Reviews

  • Comprehensive content review book
  • Value for money
  • Includes a diagnostic test
  • Includes full-length practice tests
  • Easy-to-follow approach
  • Updated as per the new AP exam standard
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of April
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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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