I've only had three classes so far that I have passed without having to buy a book which were Biology I and History I and II. My biology class was online and I mistakenly thought that we were not assigned a book for my class. It wasn't until after my first test was over that I realized that we did, but figured it was already too late to buy one now. My teacher made it super easy to get the chapters without having to have a book because of all of the resources available to us. She recorded an audio version of the lesson she gave in class, uploaded power points and study guides, and even gave us links to videos that would help us understand the chapters more. She even offered study sessions and invited her online classes to come to her campus lessons in case we needed more help. With lots of studying and attention I was able to pass the class with a B.
My history teacher actually told my class not to buy the textbook, because most of his class was just lecture anyway. He did provide a link to a free online source to help in case we needed it. I passed his classes by going everyday and taking detailed notes. When it was time to study, I would rewrite my notes, making sure to pay attention to dates and important figures. I would quiz myself on subjects parts I couldn't remember. I ended up passing History I and History II with a "B" and "A" respectively.
Even though I was able to pass my classes without having to buy a book, it may not work for everyone.
Here are a few things you may want to consider before deciding whether or not this will work for you.
Does the library offer free copies?
My school's Student Government Association offers free textbook rentals by the hour in the library. Check with your school to see if they have a similar program. If not, ask your teacher if he or she has any extras they'd be willing to let you borrow.
Can you get it free somewhere else?
My history teacher actually gave our class a free link to a textbook we could use for the class. Since most teachers won't be as willing to do the same, check out sites like Book Reader to see if your book is available online for free. Use these sites at your own risk! Always be sure to ask your friends, teammates, and others if they have old copies of the book they'd be willing to give you.
Do the teacher's notes come directly from the book?
Both my teachers relied heavily on the textbook for their lectures, making it almost redundant to read the book. You can ask the teacher how much of the lesson is actually from the book, but the first test will really show you how much you'll need.
Are you willing to put in the work?
Like any class, you'll have to work hard to make a passing grade. But this will be even more important when you don't have a book. I made sure I attended class, went to study sessions, took good notes, and studied before quizzes and exams to keep my grade high.
What type of learner are you?
The way you learn your material will greatly affect whether or not you'll be able to pass your class without a book. If you have a hard time learning material, or need to see things in front of you to understand it, this may not be the best route for you to take if you want to pass your classes.
What do you think of these tips. Have you ever passed a class without the book?