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
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!!!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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/
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
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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