5 Best AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Prep Books (2022)

Best AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism Study Books

The AP Physics C course on electricity and magnetism is a high-level curriculum that requires a lot of hard work. The right prep book can help students learn how to study for and take the AP Physics C exam while reviewing key concepts.

We’re going to go over some of our favorite AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism prep books to help you get a five on your AP final.

Our Favorite AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Prep Books

We recommend these five prep books to review key concepts and prepare for your AP exam.

1. The Princeton Review: Cracking the AP Physics C Exam, 2022

Study core concepts using in-depth reviews and AP-style practice tests.

The Princeton Review relies on tried and tested techniques to help AP exam takers score a high grade on their final exam. Cracking the AP Physics C Exam contains everything that students need to know for the Electricity and Magnetism final, and more.

The publisher updates the material from year to year, ensuring that students know what to expect when it comes to the AP Physics C test curriculum and scoring. The book offers proven strategies for passing each portion of the AP exam. Most of the tips focus on the AP Physics C exam.

Two practice exams help students test their knowledge using questions similar to ones they might see on the AP final. The Princeton Review also offers a host of online resources to help students practice and stay up-to-date with the latest College Board news.


  • In-depth reviews of key concepts
  • Includes expert tips and test-taking strategies
  • Two practice tests and additional online resources available


  • May contain more information than needed

Publisher: Princeton Review

Year: 2021

Number of pages: 672

Grade: A+

2. Electricity and Magnetism

Get an in-depth look at all of the subjects that the AP Physics C exam might cover.

This in-depth textbook takes a hands-on approach to teaching college-level physics. Even though it’s not specific to the AP course, the book covers all relevant topics pertaining to electricity and magnetism.

Each chapter goes in-depth on course matter to give students a deeper understanding of core material. There are examples, graphs, and figures on many pages to help demonstrate complex ideas in a way that’s easy to grasp. Electricity and Magnetism also discusses real-life applications of learning materials to engage students.

At the end of each chapter, example problems allow students to practice and review what they’ve learned. There are more than 600 practice problems and worked-out examples to show students how to solve problems covering the same information they’ll see on the AP final.


  • In-depth information
  • Facts, figures, and illustrations to help clarify key concepts
  • Hundreds of practice problems and worked-out examples


  • No AP-style problems
  • Some misprints

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Year: 2013

Number of pages: 853

Grade: B+

3. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Physics C 2021

Follow a preset study plan to improve your score on the AP Physics C final.

The 5 Steps to a 5 series is ideal for those students who don’t know where to start when studying. Unlike many other study guides, this lays out a specific plan that students can follow to build the skills and knowledge needed to earn a five on their exam.

First, the guide explains how to set up a study schedule and make the most out of each section. It provides students with fundamentals quizzes and a diagnostic test to see where they’re at compared to where they should be.

For those who need to study more, the 5 Steps to a 5 prep book offers a quick look at all of the most important concepts in AP Physics C. It also presents readers with hundreds of exercises, each with a full explanation of the answer.

Three practice exams help students to put the skills that they’ve learned to use. They can try out newfound test-taking skills before the day of the exam. Taking multiple practice tests is also an ideal way to cement both new and old information.


  • Easy-to-follow study plan and plenty of helpful tips
  • Quick and concise review of key concepts
  • Diagnostic test and practice tests


  • Doesn’t go as in-depth as other prep guides

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Year: 2020

Number of pages: 352

Grade: B

4. Barron’s AP Physics C (Fifth Edition)

Streamline your study habits with diagnostic tests and review tools.

This AP prep guide concentrates on helping students improve their study habits for quicker and more effective sessions. A diagnostic test at the beginning helps readers to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses so that they know where to focus.

The book uses different sections to make it easier for students to skip what they know and review what they don’t. Each chapter includes an in-depth discussion of topics covered on the AP Physics C exam. Plenty of diagrams and illustrations help to bring complex points to life and show practical applications for concepts and ideas.

In addition to a diagnostic test, the Barron’s AP Physics C guide offers four practice tests where students can hone their skills. Questions use material from former AP exams and cover the most relevant Physics C topics.


  • In-depth chapter reviews with illustrations and graphs
  • Diagnostic test for assessing knowledge
  • 4 practice tests for review


  • Not always easy to understand
  • Contains some errors

Publisher: Barrons Educational Series

Year: 2020

Number of pages: 656

Grade: B

5. Essential Calculus-Based Physics Study Guide Workbook

Prepare for the electricity and magnetism AP exam by focusing on calculus.

Though this prep book isn’t based on the AP curriculum, it covers all of the same electricity and magnetism topics that students might see on their final exam. It places a focus on problem-solving and critical thinking skills instead of showing how to solve AP-specific problems.

The Essential Calculus-Based Physics Study Guide Workbook combines chapter reviews with fully solved examples. Students can see in-depth explanations of both how a concept works, and how to use it in the real world. There are also hints and intermediate answers for practice exercises.

Each chapter goes in-depth on important topics, with plenty of charts, graphs, and diagrams for additional explanation. At the end of each chapter, students can find open-ended practice questions designed to hone their new skills.


  • Covers important topics in-depth
  • Includes fully solved examples
  • Plenty of practice problems with hints and full answers


  • Not specifically written for AP students

Publisher: Zishka Publishing

Year: 2017

Number of pages: 57

Grade: C+


Make sure you choose the right prep book for your AP Physics C exam.

Which Subjects Should an AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Prep Book Include?

While every AP prep book is bound to have a different outline, most contain the same basic information. You should look for books that at least touch on all key concepts covered in the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism curriculum. Important topics to look for include:

  • Electric force and charges
  • Conductors, dielectrics, and capacitors
  • Current, resistance, and power in a circuit
  • Magnetic fields and how they relate to electricity
  • Electromagnetic forces and their properties

What Study Tools Should I Look for in an AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Prep Book?

Many AP prep books go beyond simple chapter reviews to include helpful tools designed to help students study more effectively. It’s a good idea to look for books that include example problems and practice tests to show you practical applications for new information. If you’re not sure where you need work, a diagnostic test can help you pinpoint problem areas and poor study habits.

Do I Need a Prep Book Based on the AP Curriculum?

There are countless Physics C textbooks out there, but not all of them focus on the AP curriculum. Some simple cover key concepts, perhaps with some example questions interspersed.

In general, it’s best for AP students to look for a guide that takes the test into account. Many specialized AP prep books include example questions and practice tests that mirror what you can expect to see on the final exam. However, if you’re just looking for a quick review tool, you don’t necessarily need an AP-specific prep book.

Can I Use a General Physics Prep Book to Study?

If you’re planning on taking the AP Physics C course, it’s best to look for a specialized study book that focuses on electricity and magnetism. A general physics textbook will often cover much broader topics than you need to know, and won’t go as in-depth on areas you need to review. If you do opt for a general physics book, make sure that it includes an in-depth review of electricity and magnetism concepts to prepare for your AP Physics C exam.

In Conclusion

Having the right prep book can help you score higher on your AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism exam. It’s best to look for a prep book that not only reviews all of the relevant subjects but also offers test-taking tips and tools. Our favorite prep book is the Princeton Review: Cracking the AP Physics C Exam because it covers key concepts you need to know and provides useful tips for studying more effectively.

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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.