# How to self-study AP physics C?

<p>I have Fundamentals of physics by Halliday and review books but I don’t understand a lot of the book so far because the calculus harries my thinking. How can I learn enough calculus to do the practice problems at the end of each chapter of the book without spending too much time doing calculus? (I don’t want to spend too much time on calculus since normally i only have to spend relatively modicum of time on math subjects to get an A in the class) Any suggestions on videos online or books?
p.s. I have a calculus textbook, calculus concepts and connections by Smith and Minton, but it doesn’t make much sense. However, if someone could suggest what chapters/topics(be specific, derivatives is too broad for me, there’s topics within the topic, derivative) I should read, I will consider reading it.
Please suggest what topics for the videos/books as well!</p>

<p>Physics C is a calculus based course, so it is important that you understand how to do it. If you can’t handle calculus, I would recommend studying Physics 1/2. I realize you probably don’t want to hear this, but the basic calculus you have to know is how to take derivatives and integrals of equations, and how to take derivatives/integrals at a point. The ones you will have to do will be relatively simple, so you should be pretty good if you can differentiate and integrate basic polynomials. Additionally, understanding the conceptual relations between equations and their derivatives/integrals is as important as being able to actually find them. If you are able to grasp the basic concepts of calculus, the videos in the link are very good with explaining Physics C concepts and showing how to apply calculus to them <a href=“http://www.flippingphysics.com/calculus.html”>http://www.flippingphysics.com/calculus.html</a></p>

<p>The calculus topics that came up the most in my Physics C classes were:</p>

<p>understanding intuitively what integrals and derivatives represent and how to set up expressions involving them
Knowing rules like (f+g)’=f’+g’, (fg)’=f’g+fg’, etc. and similar basic ones for integrals.
Using derivatives to maximize functions and understanding what it means for a function to have a derivative of zero.
Being able to compute derivatives and integrals of functions involving: polynomials/algebraic expressions, trig functions, exponentials.
Improper integrals.
Being able to solve some simple differential equations (the technique of separation of variables and knowing the solution of y’’+w^2y=0 should be enough).
Know that sin(x) is approximately x for small x and cos(x) is approximately 1-x^2/2 for small x.</p>

<p>In EM, you deal with line and surface integrals, but they are always simple enough because of symmetry to solve without knowing calc III. We did some computations that required trig substitutions in class, but as far as I know, this isn’t tested on the AP.</p>

<p>I’m probably forgetting something, but this should cover most of the calc you’ll see in physics C.</p>

<p>It sounds like you should not be self-studying Physics C.</p>

<p>It is calculus based physics. If you have to self-study calculus in order to self-study Physics C, you are digging yourself quite a hole. </p>

<p>Are you enrolled in school? What math and science are you taking in school? Why the rush to self-study Physics C?</p>

<p>OP, have you taken any Physics before? If not, you should not self-studying Physics C or taking the class.</p>

<p>The Halliday book is a good text. If you wish to take Physics C, it is important to have a strong calculus background, especially for the Electricity and Magnetism test. If you haven’t taken any physics courses before, but you want an AP in physics, maybe you should consider Physics 1 and 2, which are algebra-based. Physics 1 is designed as an introductory physics class requiring no prior knowledge, so it might not be hard for you to self-study that.</p>

<p>I got a 5 in AP Physics B and an 800 on the SAT2 in physics. I then decided to study for the Physics C exams via the AP Advantage prep book and practicing tons of released MCs and FRQs. The only reason this worked for me was because of my strong conceptual background in introductory physics from my AP Physics B course.</p>