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The following is a list of text books written for the Stage 6 Physics Syllabus in NSW, Australia.  My aim here is to provide a list of books that are available and provide a few comments & suggestions where appropriate.  I have certainly not attempted to provide full reviews of each book.

Any comments made on the texts below are my own personal opinions based on my examination of each text.  I have no personal or financial stake in any of the texts listed.

It is also important to realize that most, if not all, of these texts were written or at least prepared for print before the review and re-write of the Stage 6 Physics Syllabus that occurred during 2002.  The updated version of the Syllabus was released by the NSW Board of Studies in October 2002.  So, until the next edition of each text is published, each text will contain some material that is no longer examinable and will also probably be deficient in some material required by the Syllabus.  So, take care.

At the moment, there is no ONE single text that covers all aspects of the Syllabus.  Teachers beware!!!  Remember too, that a text is just another useful aid in helping students grow in understanding and confidence.  A text is a poor substitute for a Teacher alive with the love of Physics!!!



  1. Excel Preliminary Physics by N Warren (Pascal Press, 2000) - Good notes, chapter summaries, example questions, practice questions & problems with worked solutions & answers.  This is the only text I issue to Year 11 students.  The students use it at home (almost entirely) for revision & problem solving practice.

  2. Physics 2: HSC Course by M Andriessen et al (Jacaranda HSC Science Series, Wiley & Sons, 2001) - This is an excellent text for the HSC Course, covering all the Core Topics & three of the Options (Astrophysics, The Age of Silicon & From Quanta To Quarks).  The text contains excellent notes, useful diagrams, sample questions & problems, chapter summaries, practical exercises and practice questions & problems with answers to the numerical ones.  This is the book I use with Year 12.  Again, students use this book mainly at home for revision and problem solving practice.  In my opinion, this is the best text for the HSC Course.

  3. Excel HSC Physics by N Warren (Pascal Press, 2000) - Same format as for the Preliminary Course book.  A very good book for the HSC Course.

  4. Physics 1: Preliminary Course by M Andriessen et al (Jacaranda HSC Science Series, Wiley & Sons, 2001) - Although I have not even seen a copy of this book yet, I suspect it would be an excellent text for the Preliminary Course, based on my knowledge of the Physics 2: HSC Course book mentioned in point 2 above.

  5. Physics in Context - The Forces of Life by B Zealey et al (Oxford University Press, 2001) - A useful reference text that covers the Core Topics of both the Preliminary & HSC Courses and three of the Option Topics (Medical Physics, Astrophysics & From Quanta To Quarks).  Covers most aspects well, although in places does not go far enough to cover all dot points in the Syllabus to an adequate level.  Provides sample & practice questions & problems with answers and many practical exercises.

  6. Physics 1 Preliminary Course by M Butler et al (Macmillan, 2000) - This Provides a very thorough coverage of the Preliminary Course.  Good notes, diagrams, example questions, tutorial problems with answers and a summary of the key ideas at the start of each chapter.

  7. Physics 2 Higher School Certificate Course by M Butler et al (Macmillan, 2001) - This Provides a very thorough coverage of the HSC Course Core Topics & three of the Option Topics (Medical Physics, Astrophysics & From Quanta To Quarks).  Same format as for the Preliminary Course book mentioned in point 6 above.

  8. Success One HSC Physics by A Butler (Aaron Butler, 2001) & later editions - An exam question practice book with worked solutions covering all HSC Core Topics & four of the Options Topics (Medical Physics, Astrophysics, From Quanta To Quarks & The Age of Silicon).  A very useful book for students to assist in problem solving practice.  The 2003 Edition has been completely revised in line with the changes to the Syllabus announced in October 2002.

  9. Physics Contexts 1 & 2 texts and Physics Contexts 1 & 2 Teacher's Resource by D Heffernan et al (Longman Publishers, Pearson Education Australia, 2001/2002) -  Adopting a student centred approach, the book presents the theory of physics while addressing the contextual demands of the new syllabus. In meeting the spirit of the new syllabus, Physics Contexts will help prepare students for the HSC with solid theory and contemporary applications.  The texts are supported by a comprehensive teachers' resource kit including fully worked solutions for all exercises in the texts, equipment lists and hints for all investigations, as well as a sample teaching program.  Check it out at http://www.pearsoned.com.au/

  10. KISS (Keep It Simple Science) Physics Booklets - good summary booklets covering most of the dot points.  These are not text books and should not be used as such.  They are summary books - they provide the absolute bare minimum of detail on each aspect of the course & sometimes omit dot points from the Syllabus without advising that they have done so.  They are for students to check their knowledge of the basics after doing each topic.  They must be used in conjunction with a good Physics Textbook to provide the requisite detail for students to acquire deep knowledge & deep understanding of the material.  KISS booklets - Physics or indeed in any subject - should never be used as the only reference material or source of teaching input for students.  Students - if your teacher teaches from the KISS booklet, I suggest you ask that teacher to issue you with a good textbook & study the topics from the there.  Used on its own, the KISS Booklet is inadequate preparation in any Stage 6 Science Course.  Details at: http://www.keepitsimplescience.com.au/

  11. Surfing Physics Series by B Shadwick (Science Press, 2003) - I have only seen the "Space" & "Motors & Generators" books but I am sure there are others in the series.  They are quite good.  They present useful topic summary notes and lots of good questions.  Answers are supplied in the back.  Just take care to check all the answers for the questions you get the students to do.  I have come across several incorrect answers in the books.

  12. HSC Study Pack series (Warringal Publications, 2003) - "Space" & "From Quanta To Quarks" were written by J & E Blackmore, "Motors & Generators" by J Blackmore and "From Ideas To Implementation" by A Yates.  There may be other books in the series.  The books contain topic summary notes, worked examples and questions and answers.  The Core Topic books contain HSC Study Cards which some students may find useful.  These are palm cards with important theory points & exercises on them.

There are many other Physics texts written for previous courses that are still extremely useful for Teachers to have as references.  There may also be new books written specifically for the Stage 6 Physics Syllabus that I am yet to find.  If you are aware of such a text please contact me with this information.

I also draw your attention to the fact that I have supplied the names of some other useful texts at appropriate points on some of the topic pages on this site.  For instance, there are some really good references at the end of the Cosmic Engine, Space & Astrophysics pages.

Finally, a big thank you to all writers of Physics text books, especially those involved with the texts mentioned here.  All Students & Teachers of Physics owe you a great debt of gratitude.  Keep up the great work!

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Last updated:

Robert Emery 2002 - view the Terms of Use of this site.