6 Best AP Physics 2 Prep Books (2020)

Best AP Physics 2 Study Books

AP Physics 2 can be a challenging subject, with a sometimes overwhelming number of complex concepts to cover. The best way to ace any AP test is through proper preparation. The right textbook can be an invaluable tool for achieving a four or five score.

Here, we’re going to go over the best AP Physics 2 prep books to help you better understand the subject and work your way up to a five.

Best AP Physics 2 Books

Here are our six favorite AP Physics 2 exam review books, starting with our top pick.

1. The Princeton Review: Cracking the AP Physics 2 Exam

Find tips and tricks on how to pass each section of the AP Physics 2 exam.

Publisher: Princeton Review

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 384

Our Final Grade: A+

The Princeton Review offers a comprehensive guide for scoring a five on the AP Physics 2 exam. Clear, concise, and focused review content allows students to go over a year’s worth of information as quickly or as in-depth as they choose.

In addition to a comprehensive review, Cracking the AP Physics 2 Exam offers tips and targeted strategies for the AP Physics 2 exam as well as plenty of practice problems. Two full-length practice tests, along with detailed answer explanations, help to prepare students for every section of the final AP exam.

AP teachers and other experts have created material for this book. Hints, tips, and study strategies come from decades of research and experience to give AP Physics 2 students targeted advice that actually works.

Pros

  • Review section covers all topics in detail
  • Includes time-tested tips and strategies
  • Plenty of practice questions and two mock exams

Cons

  • Some errors in the practice sections

2. Barron’s AP Physics 2

Focus on problem areas for a more effective and efficient study session.

Publisher: Barrons Educational Series

Year: 2018

Number of Pages: 288

Our Final Grade: A

The Barron’s AP Physics 2 guide helps students study by showing them what they already know and what they need to practice. A diagnostic test helps students to gauge just how well they know the AP Physics 2 curriculum.

Students can concentrate on problem areas by reading through quick but comprehensive review sections. Though some leave out smaller details, each chapter covers major topics and important concepts that every AP Physics 2 student needs to know.

This prep guide also comes with plenty of examples and practice problems. Two mock tests in the book and two available for free online give students even more practice while showing them what real AP test questions will look like on the day.

Pros

  • Diagnostic tests help students gauge strengths and weaknesses
  • Review sections cover all relevant Physics 2 topics
  • Includes examples, practice problems, and both online and offline mock exams

Cons

  • Review sections don’t go into details

3. AP Physics 2 Essentials: An APlusPhysics Guide

Use reviews and practice tools to study core AP Physics 2 concepts both online and offline.

Publisher: Silly Beagle Productions

Year: 2015

Number of Pages: 336

Our Final Grade: B

This Physics 2 prep book is easy to read and follow for students of all skill levels. It explains important concepts in a simple and straightforward manner, with chapters explaining both overarching concepts and more in-depth details.

More than 450 example problems help explain important ideas further. However, many place emphasis on plugging in numbers for calculations while the AP exam tends to focus on concepts.

Students can test their knowledge using 60 AP-style practice problems covering a range of different Physics 2 topics. They can also go online to APlusPhysics, which is a free portal integrated with the textbook. Here, guests will find videos and animations, supplemental practice problems, and forums where they can discuss Physics with other AP students.

Pros

  • Detailed reviews of key topics
  • Hundreds of example and practice problems
  • Free access to an online portal for more study resources

Cons

  • Heavy emphasis on calculations instead of concepts

4. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics 2

Follow a quick and clear route to earning a five on the AP Physics 2 exam.

Publisher: 5 Steps to a 5

Year: McGraw-Hill Education

Number of Pages: 432

Our Final Grade: B-

The 5 Steps to a 5 study plan gives students a clear-cut route for reviewing for their AP exam. It aims to offer a quick and effective way to build both the skills and the confidence to get a five on the AP Physics 2 exam.

Information is relevant and up-to-date with the latest AP syllabus and scoring information, including all of the topics that the end-of-year exam will cover. Three practice exams based on recent AP tests allow students to feel how their test-taking abilities hold up.

For those who need more practice, the textbook includes hundreds of example problems with complete explanations. Study strategies are also covered for both the multiple-choice and free-response sections of the test.

Pros

  • Three practice exams along with hundreds of examples
  • A brief review of all core concepts
  • Keeps up-to-date with the AP syllabus

Cons

  • Some text misprints
  • Subject reviews don’t go in-depth

5. Sterling Test Prep AP Physics 2 Practice Questions

Study core concepts in AP Physics 2 with hands-on activities and practice tests.

Publisher: Sterling Test Prep

Year: 2018

Number of Pages: 351

Our Final Grade: C

This test prep guide focuses on practice rather than reviewing. It simply offers students test-taking tips along with key equations and formulas. For the most part, the prep guide includes hands-on activities and questions.

The Sterling Test Prep AP Physics 2 guide provides four diagnostic tests designed to help students identify areas that need work as they study. While questions cover all relevant subjects, they aren’t necessarily modeled after actual AP test questions. They serve more as a study guide than for test preparation.

More than 700 unique practice questions touch on every area of the AP curriculum, along with detailed solutions. There are eight different sections to make it easy for students to focus on areas where they need improvement.

Pros

  • Quick and concise review
  • Four diagnostic tests to help identify problem areas
  • Hundreds of practice questions and solutions

Cons

  • No content review section
  • Questions don’t reflect AP test

6. Physics II For Dummies

A fun and easy-to-read guide that goes over key concepts seen in Physics 2.

Publisher: For Dummies

Year: 2010

Number of Pages: 384

Our Final Grade: C-

Like other guides in the For Dummies series, this prep book presents the most complex concepts in Physics 2 in a way that’s easy to understand. Chapters have clear and concise explanations of important terms, ideas, and equations.

This guide uses plenty of illustrations and graphs to show key concepts in action. The book is written by a Ph.D. in the subject. Information is accurate, relevant, and presented in a way that’s both humorous and engaging.

The Physics II for Dummies guide also contains multiple examples. Each includes a step-by-step explanation of how to solve different types of problems found in Physics 2. Though they aren’t specific to the AP curriculum, they can help to clarify confusing concepts.

Pros

  • Entertaining and easy to read
  • Covers all relevant Physics 2 topics
  • Includes illustrations, graphs, and examples

Cons

  • Doesn’t follow the AP curriculum
  • Some explanations can be overly advanced

FAQ

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a prep book for the AP Physics 2 exam.

WhichTopics Should an AP Physics 2 Prep Book Cover?

You should look for an AP Physics 2 book that reviews all of the topics that will be on the test, from overarching concepts to smaller details. Some of the most important subjects to look for in an AP Physics 2 textbook include:

  • The characteristics of fluids
  • Heat, temperature, and thermal energy
  • Electric force and circuitry
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Optics
  • Quantum physics
  • Atomic and nuclear physics

Do I Need a Book WIth Practice Tests?

One of the best ways to study for any AP test is by practicing. Many AP textbooks include one or more practice tests modeled after previous AP exams. Though it’s not essential, it’s always a good idea to look for a prep book with at least one diagnostic or practice test so that you know what kind of questions to expect from the AP exam.

Whenever possible, you should try to opt for more practice tests to give yourself exposure to a variety of different problems.


In Conclusion

If you plan on taking the AP Physics 2 exam, it’s a good idea to invest in a textbook to help with studying. The right AP Physics 2 prep book can make a world of difference in both your understanding of the subject and your overall study habits.

Our favorite prep book for AP Physics 2 students and teachers alike is Cracking the AP Physics 2 Exam, published by the Princeton Review. It offers both in-depth subject reviews as well as practice tools to help students get a five on their AP exam.

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Hannah Young
 

Contributor at ExamCave. Hannah is pursuing a degree in middle school English education at The Ohio State University. Hannah has worked as a writing and math tutor for elementary, middle school, and high school students.