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Need to brush up on my late-undergrad and early-grad physics and was wondering if anyone can recommend books or lecture notes (hard copy, or on-line) that also have solutions.

Two that I have come across are:

Princeton Problems in Physics with Solutions - Nathan Newbury

University of Chicago Graduate Problems in Physics with Solutions - Jeremiah A. Cronin

Spacetime Physics - Taylor & Wheeler (favorite book on special relativity; has a lot of problems with solutions at the back; a lot of the problems really enforce the material and discuss paradoxes)

If possible, please also provide a reason why you like the books as opposed to just listing them.


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Take it you've thrown away all your old lecture notes, problem sheets and past papers then? They surely would be the best place to start.. I've given the question +1 all-the-same as I would also be interested in others' suggestions. – qftme May 24 '11 at 16:39
Yes (lol). I unfortunately threw away my notes. – capitalistpug May 24 '11 at 17:26
This post is old, but I want to add my two cents-it matters what you want the material for. If you are just interested in physics then any of the answers below are fine resources. However, if you are practicing for a particular exam, I cant suggest these sorts of resources as the primary study tool since you are just going to spend huge amounts of time on problems that might not have a significant impact on your exam performance. That is, if you are studying for a qualification exam, its in your best interest to completely exhaust all old exams before moving onto resources like ones below. – DJBunk Nov 14 '12 at 21:04

11 Answers 11

up vote 9 down vote accepted

(I have a suggestion to make this question a CW.)

General Physics: (Early undergrad and advanced high school)

  1. Problems in Physics I.E Irodov - (Highly recommended)
  2. Problems in Physics S S Krotov - (Once again, highly recommended but out of print)
  3. Physics Olympiad Books - (Haven't read but saw some olympiad problems back in the day)
  4. Physics by example (like this book a lot, lower undergrad)
  5. Feynman's Tips on Physics (Exercises to accompany the famous lectures )

General Qualifying exam books: The following books are a part of a series dedicated to the qualifying exams in American Universities and has a large compilation of problems of all levels. Others in the series include Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Optics and Solid State Physics. Unlike other compilation of exercises for qualifiers (such as Princeton or Chicago Problems, or the one mentioned below), they make no excuse for economy and include as many problems from all levels for each subtopic.

Another good book that I read recently for my exam is the two volume series: A Guide to Physics Problems (Part 2 has some relatively easy but interesting problems. I haven't gone through the first part, which is much much more challenging.)

+1 A Guide to Physics Problems looks great! – capitalistpug May 25 '11 at 2:55

Thinking Like a Physicist: Physics Problems for Undergrads: I love this book because it fosters a real sense of physical understanding, so it's not just mathematics, but actual physical reasoning. Plus, I found the problems challenging and interesting.

Then, there is always the MIT Open Course Ware in Phsyics, which has undergrad and graduate courses with assignments, lecture notes, tests, problems, solutions, etc.

If its qualifying exam questions and problems that you're after, a lot of universities will post examples of past versions online, its just a matter of looking at the department website hard enough.

+1 @Jen: Thanks. If you know any particularly good qualifying exam questions with answers, do you mind posting them? – capitalistpug May 24 '11 at 20:06
It's pretty google-able - the first page of results for "Physics qualifying exams with answers" turn up a number of past exams and solution banks. – Jen May 24 '11 at 20:19
Also, the GRE subject test in physics is pretty decent for quickly getting up to speed. There are practice tests available: – Jen May 24 '11 at 20:22

Some review/problem set books that I like are:

Solid State Physics: problems and solutions - Laszalo Mihaly and Michael C. Martin

Problems in Quantum Mechanics with Solutions - Gordon Leslie Squires (The reviews are bare bones but I find the questions to be very good at making you think)

Hope this helps. I am interested to see what other people come up with.


"Problem Book on Relativity and Gravitation" - A. Lightman, W. Press, R. Price, S. Teukolsky


The two you have were my favorites.

For completeness, a couple of others, which also have worked solutions:

L.A. Sena, A Collection of Questions and Problems in Physics

Constantinescu, Problems in Quantum Mechanics

There are many problems and solutions sets available for Caltech's comprehensive "Applications of Classical Physics" course here:


It might be worth it to look at some past problems from physics olympiads. In particular:

International Physics Olympiad website for high-school students, all problems with solutions. Used to be tricky problems, not its more step-by-step, but still challenging and interesting

Moscow City Physics Olympiad there is a pdf in russian, but I managed to understand almost every single problem with google translator

And of course BAUPC which has few, but (in my opinion) wonderful problems. Some of them are repeated in the classical mechanics book by David Morin ( )


I'll add absolutely great book with problems in analytical mechanics:
G.L. Kotkin and V.G. Serbo, "Problems in Classical Mechanics"
It is basically a problem-driven approach to learning Landau's first tome.

Also I really like the book:
Zhong-Qi Ma and Xiao-Yan Gu, "Problems & Solutions in Group theory for physicists."


Problems and Solutions on Electromagnetism (Major American Universities Ph.D. by Yung-Kuo Lim

Problems and Solutions on Mechanics: Major American Universities Ph.D. by Yung-Kuo Lim

Problems and Solutions on Thermodynamics (Major American Universities Ph.D. by U.S.T. of China Physics Coaching Class and Yung-Kuo Lim


I think the Y K Lim series are the best to follow, especially for last couple week of preparations. These books have all sort of good problems (with solutions) collected from reputed US universities.

You also can dig the internet for various universities solved exams but that is quite time consuming.


Some problem books on quantum field theory:

  • T.P. Cheng, L.F. Li, "Gauge Theories of Elementary Particle Physics: Problems and Solutions", Oxford University Press (2000)

  • V. Radovanovi, "Problem Book in Quantum Field Theory", Springer (2008).

  • D. Atkinson, P.W. Johnson, "Exercises in Quantum Field Theory: A Self-Contained Book of Questions and Answers", Rinton Press (2003).

More can be found in this page:


One of the best books for IIT mains and advance exams 2013 is Advanced Problems in School Physics Vol-I & II Cengage Learning

Hi Arvind. Welcome to Physics.SE. Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Feb 10 '13 at 12:14

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