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Best AP Physics 1 Textbooks and Prep Books

4 min readโ€ขnovember 18, 2020

jed

Jed Q


AP Physics 1ย ๐ŸŽก

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Each AP Physics 1 class across the nation often defaults to using 1 or 2 of the common textbooks. Objectively, some are better than others in terms of thoroughness, clarity, and content.
On the other hand, prep books are abridged versions of the textbooks and are viewed to be helpful because they hugely base their framework on the College Board's curriculum. As a student of one of the AP classes with the lowest pass rates, it's crucial for you to maximize your resources while saving money and time in order to secure that 5! Keep reading to find a list of the best AP Physics textbooks, prep books, and a few additional resources that will get you well on your way to a 5!
Rating Scale:
๐Ÿฅ‡ Best value
๐Ÿค“ Easiest to read
๐Ÿ’ธ Cheapest
๐Ÿ–Š Most thorough

๐Ÿ“š Textbooks

As an AP Physics 1 student, a textbook provides really detailed information in the form of examples, highlighted sections, and summaries. The College Board has provided a list of recommended textbooks, which you can find here. In no particular order, below are Amazon links to the six best-reviewed textbooks from the College Board's list.
๐Ÿšจ Note: These textbooks vary in price. If your school has already provided you with a textbook, we do not recommend purchasing an additional textbook!
  1. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-XluRsWcAPAmV.jpg?alt=media&token=b49b7186-4dd1-4de2-8754-a19dca2e731c
    • Helps introduce physics concepts
    • Equation summaries and concept explanations at the end of each chapter
    • Multiple book versions (paperback, e-book, hardcover, etc.)
  2. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-BDSvyuKLkPds.jpg?alt=media&token=21ef9212-69a1-4707-95c2-74b329e06a5b
    • Free in Kindle
    • Easy to read; student-friendly
    • Detailed examples with illustrations
    • Follows AP curriculum
  3. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-qfd9AHlJung1.jpg?alt=media&token=a0ed054b-ffb4-4510-b54e-3c7a619cfc98
    • More detailed explanations of physics concepts
    • Shows a variety of problem strategies
    • Has overview of mathematical relationships
  4. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-yhBJeFD00rJI.jpg?alt=media&token=ac6178bd-7772-4097-9694-234f59213104
    • Multiple buying options on Amazon (rent, buy new/used)
    • Not as up-to-date as other textbooks
  5. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-pAhjUr04vLbE.jpg?alt=media&token=be23207c-b36f-4251-9428-4305a6751ee2
    • Follows AP curriculum
    • Has clear examples on top of lots of problems and practice problems

๐Ÿ“” Prep Books

Here's a list of the best AP Physics 1 prep books, along with background information to help you find the prep book that best suits you!
  1. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-vz9BHUhbRdcW.jpg?alt=media&token=ccad247a-2bfa-42a6-9544-92a6e3d789eb
    • Four practice tests (2 online + 2 inside book)
    • In-depth concept explanation and examples for each unit
  2. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-mAZv06VmEc4u.jpg?alt=media&token=f1d70829-dc56-408d-89d2-979e8ba692f7
    • Two practice tests
    • Unit overviews are very comprehensive; great for big picture ideas
  3. https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-XIB1ZwPWfxFs.jpg?alt=media&token=82ac7867-bf7a-4b1e-a9c5-172344a1e050
    • Extensive practice drills for concept mastery
    • Good introductory-level concept descriptions
  4. AP Physics 1 Essentials ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ’ธ
    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-k2AL7jFKAaBA.jpg?alt=media&token=df1a40ce-4a1c-4d10-9eb2-11135cbc9f8c
    • Interactive questions spread throughout the book which boost conceptual understanding
    • Simplified version of physics textbooks; excellent companion book for practice

โœ” Additional Resources

Here are a few more AP Physics 1 Resources if textbooks and prep books aren't your style.
  1. Fiveable
    Fiveable offers live streams (and their replays), study guides, trivia games, videos, and slide decks for AP Physics 1 students. Beyond the content, Fiveable also offers a community platform where students can ask questions and receive feedback from AP Physics 1 teachers and other students.
  2. The College Board has published all past essay prompts along with their scoring guidelines and reader commentary. By using these prompts, you will not only be able to practice your writing skills but also compare your work with the released student samples to see how it compares to those who earned a perfect score.
  3. Flipping Physics offers a versatile YouTube playlist of concept introduction and review videos for both students and teachers. It also goes over past FRQs, discussing the scoring guidelines and the amount of reasoning needed to earn points in accordance with the rubric.
  4. Learn AP Physics is a website offering free, daily practice problems in preparation for the test in May. A list of resources (some of them already mentioned here) can also be found on the website for those looking for more. The website beautifully organizes topics and curated videos with about 20+ practice questions per unit.

Summing It Up

Half the battle of passing the AP Physics 1 test with flying colors is finding the right resources to stick to for the most part. Textbooks and prep books serve as supplemental learning resources adding on to what you are currently learning at school. Take advantage of the features of these resources and keep practicing! You got this โ€” happy studying!
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