The Best AP Physics 1 Books

Exam Info And Course Content

AP Physics 1 Textbooks are required to take the exam, which consists of 2 sections. The first one is a multiple choice section with 50 questions that lasts 90 minutes and makes up 50% of your total exam score.

The second section is free response with 5 questions, and it lasts 90 minutes. There is 1 experimental design question, one quantitative or qualitative translation question, and 3 short answer questions.

College Board provides free example test questions, so click here if you want to check them out, and they also have an equation table on the exam so you don’t have to memorize other information.

Next Exam Date:

Tuesday, May 8th 2018

Last Time The Exam Changed

The Physics 1 exam was changed for the 2014-2015 school year, so we recommend buying a newer book to review as some of the material in the older books might be outdated.

The Best AP Physics 1 Textbooks for 2018

Book CoverDescriptionOur RatingPrice
The Best AP Physics 1 TextbookPhysics 10e
AP Edition


John Cutnell

(Best AP Physics 1 Textbook)
4.8View Price
Best AP Physics 1 Review Book5 Steps to a 5:

AP Physics Algebra Based
2018 Edition


Greg Jacobs

(Best AP Physics 1 Review Book)
4.5View Price
The Best AP Physics 1 Prep BookCracking The AP Physics 1 Exam

The Princeton Review

(Best AP Physics 1 Prep Book)
4.4View Price

The Best AP Physics 1 TextbookThis is the best AP Physics 1 textbook you can buy since it is designed for the AP exam and works for both the AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 exams.

Unlike the review & prep books, this textbook teaches you all the fundamental concepts that are required to pass the AP physics 1 exam. Since memorizing answers won’t help you in physics, it’s imperative that you have a strong fundamental understanding.

If you are serious about getting a 5 on both the Physics 1 and Physics 2 exam, then this is a required textbook.

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Best AP Physics 1 Review BookWe recommend buying the 5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics 1 review book after you have completed the exercises in the Physics 10e textbook.

The problems in this book are similar to what’s on the new exam, and it is the only book that corresponds with the changed exam.

It has 1 full-length practice test which is usually enough for most, but you can also check out the example problems given by College Board here, here, and here if you want to make sure you are 100% prepared for the exam.

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The Best AP Physics 1 Prep BookIf you are looking specifically for the test preparation aspect of your studies, then The Princeton Review’s Cracking The AP Physics 1 Exam, 2018 Premium edition is probably a book you should pick up.

While it doesn’t do the best job of teaching core concepts, it gives a great overview on how to answer questions on the test, show your work properly and give you invaluable repetition to ensure you write the test fast enough on the big day.

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Self-Study Tips

Self studying for the AP Physics 1 exam is fairly easy as long as you start with enough time before the test.

We recommend signing up for this self paced Physics course on Udacity at least 2 months before the test, and finishing it at least a month before the AP exam.

Then you can start going through the 5 Steps to a 5 book to get to know the format of the exam.

Take the practice AP Exam in the book and figure out your score. If you got a 4 or a 5, you’re all set, but if you got a lower score go over the questions you missed and also look at some more practice questions available on the College Board website.

The Khan Academy physics videos are also great for figuring out concepts that the review books don’t explain well enough.