How to Self Study
AP Physics C: E&M

Welcome to my website! I hope you find it useful!

Before you begin self-studying AP Physics C: E&M (abbreviated to E&M from now on), I HIGHLY recommend you read this entire page which answers most questions you will have.

What is Self-Studying?

Self-studying is learning the content for a certain course on your own time and initiative, with no synchronous lectures or mandated assignments or assessments. There are many reasons for why someone would self-study a course:

  • This course is not traditionally offered at my school, but I need the AP credit

  • My school's class for this course did not fit with my schedule, but I need the AP credit

  • My class for this course is difficult to follow, so I want extra help

  • I am just interested in this subject

Students that are self-studying an AP course can still take the AP exam for it. Contact your school or a nearby testing location that offers the exam to determine how to independently register for an AP Exam.

How Hard is self-studying AP Physics C: E&M?

Self-studying E&M is not a decision to be taken lightly. From my experience, it will take around 80-120 hours of focused studying time, so make sure you are able to fit that into your current schedule before the AP exam.

Furthermore, E&M is one of the most advanced AP courses. You definitely need to have taken AP Calculus AB (so that you have an understanding of derivatives and integrals), and I highly recommend you have taken an AP Physics course before. Also, you should either have completed AP Physics C: Mechanics or be taking it concurrently with E&M. This is because E&M expects you to already understand how forces and vectors work, and you should already have good experience simplifying real-world problems into manageable physics problems. Some units in E&M also require an understanding of prior physics concepts, such as rotational motion in the magnetism unit. See my page on reviewing Mechanics material.

If you did not get a 4 or 5 on a prior AP Physics exam, I do not recommend self-studying E&M. Additionally, you need to have an honest moment of reflection and decide if you are the type of person that can learn an entire year's worth of content by yourself with no teacher or colleagues obliged to help you.

What Resources do I need to self-study E&M?

The most important resource is a physics textbook. For the most part, any physics textbook that covers E&M should work, but I personally recommend the following:

"Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics" 10th Edition, by Serway and Jewett

I refer to this textbook as "Serway Physics" throughout this website. Previous editions are usually fine as well, just be weary of textbook chapters and problems that don't align correctly with previous editions. All textbook chapter and problem numbers indicated in this website are taken from the 10th edition, but the chapter title is also included if you want to find the corresponding chapter in other textbooks.

Next, you just need an internet connection to watch free lectures available online on Youtube. Given that you're reading this, I assume this won't be a problem for you.

Finally, having AP review books (like Barron's Review, The Princeton Review, 5 Steps to a 5, etc...) is quite helpful because it teaches directly to the AP Exam and also includes practice questions similar to the ones you'll find on test day. However, these are not an absolute requirement, and obtaining more than one or two review is perhaps excessive. Personally, I would recommend buying Barron's Review, and if you want another review book, buy The Princeton Review. I do not recommend 5 Steps to a 5. I have no experience with any other AP review book, but of course feel free to use them if you think they are helpful.

How do I get access to Textbooks and other paid resources?

Unfortunately for students, textbooks tend to be very expensive. Luckily, there are many cheap/free ways to obtain the books mentioned in the previous section. You can often check out books from your school library or another public library, buy used books from previous students, or you can obtain a PDF of the book:

Now, I can't host or provide download links to PDFs for these books, since that is pirated material and illegal. However, if you know how to use the Library Genesis website, you can find download links to PDFs of many of the books mentioned here. The links on that website are safe, but be aware that you are downloading pirated material. I advise you to not download it onto school computers or spread the download link/file around carelessly. Obtaining a legitimate copy of a book is always preferable to pirating it, which I do not endorse.

What should be my schedule for self-studying?

This is the most important part of self-studying: creating and sticking to a schedule, and this is the part that this website is going to help you with. In the Units tab, you'll find that each unit has 9 different resources for studying it. Some are primary materials, like reading a textbook or watching a lecture, while others are practice exercises to test your knowledge.

See below my page for creating a study plan, where I go more in-depth on how to best use this website to your advantage.

Do you have a self-study website for other courses?

Not yet, but hopefully I will soon. My plan is to make a site similar to this but for AP Chemistry and maybe AP Calculus.

If you want to know more about the creator of this website and what "credentials" I have, click the button below.