For quick reference, here are links to related books we have reviewed:
A Note on Advanced Placement Books
COVID-19 Update: In March, the College Board announced all AP exams would be administered online.
While colleges are becoming less likely to give you advanced standing for your AP classes, they still do nonetheless scrutinize your scores to gauge your academic qualifications. Like the SAT and ACT tests, the AP tests are standardized. They are, however, much more content based and, therefore, measure study skills more accurately than the other two tests. As a result, we strongly recommend you to purchase – and use – your study books well in advance of your test dates!
The books we have reviewed here can be used to augment your classroom learning and help give you an edge when it comes to your AP score. Best of luck and please don’t hesitate to call us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) if you want to discuss your profile in greater detail!
For ease of use, we have broken our books out according to subject test.
CliffsNotes AP Biology, 5th Edition by Phillip Pack
Author Phillip Pack has been teaching AP Biology for over 20 years and that experience manifests in the answer explanations and multiple choice question strategies.
5 Steps to a 5: AP Biology 2020 Elite Student Edition by Mark Anestis and Kellie Ploeger Cox
Our clients speak very favorably of the 5 Steps series and this book certainly delivers. The tests are very closely calibrated to the actual AP test and its content is well organized to help you quickly brush up on the content memorization.
Ultimate AP Biology: Everything you need to get a 5 by Deborah Goldberg and David Maxwell
This is a comprehensive study tool. (Hence we don’t object to “Ultimate” in its title.) Three full-length practice exams accompany 462 flash cards and 600 additional multiple-choice and free-response practice questions as well as test taking advice and a solid review of the material covered on the AP biology test.
Barron’s AP Calculus: With 8 Practice Tests, 15th Edition by Dennis Donovan, David Bock and Shirley Hockett
This hefty study guide covers both Calculus AB and Calculus BC and contains four full practice exams for each. Barron’s has produced some good study guides, but this may be their best. We recommend this book for all AP Calculus students who are struggling a bit and need the additional content explanations.
5 Steps to a 5: AP Calculus AB 2020 Elite Student Edition by William Ma
This is another easy-to-follow guide in the 5 Step series with four high quality practice tests — two in the book and two more online — as well as flashcards, games, diagnostic tests, etc. Be sure to order this book (or any AP book for that matter) early.
Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam by Mark Howell and Martha Montgomery
Be Prepared is another excellent option for the student who has a pretty good fundamental understanding of the AP Calculus material and is looking for content summary and some practice exams. (The guide contains a total of 5 practice tests: 3 for AB and 2 for BC.)
English Literature and Composition
5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature, 2020 Edition Elite Student Edition by Estelle Rankin and Barbara Murphy
The 5 Steps for English Literature carries the same proven formula of the other books in the series: six high-quality practice exams, condensed review material, daily “homework questions” and your choice of three different study plans depending on your time frame.
Cracking the AP English Language & Composition Exam, 2020 Edition by Princeton Review
This Princeton Review guide has very sound advice for acing the essays and a good summary of AP English material in addition to five practice tests that will augment nearly any test taker’s preparation efforts.
5 Steps to a 5 AP US Government & Politics, 2020 Edition by Pamela Lamb
The 5 Steps for AP US Government book includes the time tested 5 steps approach with seven total practice tests as well as an interactive, customizable AP planning app.
AP U.S. Government & Politics Crash Course for the 2020 Exam by Larry Krieger
This REA publication is one more example of how a highly qualified author (Mr. Krieger has been recognized by the College Board as a top AP class instructor) helps produce a quality book. Students who have procrastinated with their AP Government preparations will find this book to be especially helpful.
Cracking the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam, 2020 Premium Edition by Princeton Review
Yeah sure we like the detailed review of pertinent AP Government topics and the five full-length practice exams, but the book’s strongest selling point is the detailed free-response question explanations and essay examples.
5 Steps to a 5 AP US History, 2020 Edition Elite Student Edition by Daniel P. Murphy and Stephen Armstrong
The 5 Steps to a 5 series has long been one of our clients’ favorites. The six full-length practice exams (three in the book and three online) are fairly realistic and it contains three different study schedules for those students who can’t get the early start we recommend.
AP U.S. History Crash Course for the 2020 Exam by Larry Krieger
The Crash Course series has some vocal fans and, if you find yourself short of time, this may be just the guide for you!
Cracking the AP U.S. History Exam, 2020 Edition by Princeton Review
If you are a fan of the Princeton Review books, we think you’ll like this one too. In addition to five full-length practice tests, it also showcases Princeton Review’s approach to multiple-choice test questions.