Each AP Physics 2 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!
🥇 Best value
🤓 Easiest to read
🖊 Most thorough
A textbook provides detailed information through 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.
🚨 Note: These textbooks vary in price. If your school has already provided you with a textbook, we do not recommend purchasing an additional textbook. You'll also notice that most textbooks cover content from both Physics 1 and 2. If you've taken Physics 1 before, then you'll most likely see almost the same textbooks recommended then here.
Helps introduce physics concepts
Equation summaries and concept explanations at the end of each chapter
Multiple book versions (paperback, e-book, hardcover, etc.)
Free in Kindle
Easy to read; student-friendly
Detailed examples with illustrations
Follows AP curriculum
More detailed explanations of physics concepts
Shows a variety of problem strategies
Has overview of mathematical relationships
Multiple buying options on Amazon (rent, buy new/used)
Not as up-to-date as other textbooks
Here's a list of the best AP Physics 2 prep books, along with background information to help you find the prep book that best suits you!
Four practice tests (2 online + 2 inside book)
In-depth concept explanation and examples for each unit
Comes in two versions - normal and premium
Two practice tests (four for premium edition)
Unit overviews are very comprehensive; great for big picture ideas
Extensive practice drills for concept mastery
Good introductory-level concept descriptions
Interactive questions spread throughout the book which boost conceptual understanding
Simplified version of physics textbooks; excellent companion book for practice
Want more AP Physics 2 Resources if textbooks and prep books aren't your style. Check these out.
Fiveable is offering a Fiveable Course on top of live streams, study guides, trivia games, videos, and slide decks for AP Physics 2 students. Beyond the content, Fiveable also offers a community platform where students can ask questions and receive feedback from actual teachers and stellar students.
The College Board has published all past essay prompts along with their scoring guidelines and reader commentary. You'll 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.
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.
With practice sets and video lectures on specific topics, Khan Academy offers a very organized review of AP Physics 2. I highly recommend using the popular learning platform whenever you begin a new lesson or just want a quick refresher.
Half the battle of passing the AP Physics 2 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 — happy studying! 🤩
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