To buy or not to buy an AP review book? That is the question

Elliot Wang
staff writer

With the AP Exams coming up in early May, students have already begun to prepare for their exams. One possible method is through the use of AP review books.

Senior Robert Summers-Berger recommended the use of AP review textbooks from the Barron’s brand. “[Their books are] stuffed with information” and contain “anything you could possibly want to find,” Summers-Berger said.

Barron’s brand AP review textbooks can be found on Amazon, and, according to Amazon, the Barron’s brand AP Psychology textbook is the third highest sold AP test guide on their website, after Princeton Review books. According to the Barron’s website, their review textbooks are designed to be “ideal for classroom use” as “many of [their] guides [were] written by experienced teachers[.]” Barron’s also produces SAT preparation books as well.

Teachers may also have preferences on the subject AP review textbooks and how they should be used. History teacher Anne-Marie Steppling said that rather than having a preference for a specific textbook, she simply prefers that the students of her AP US History class “find the one that meets their needs,” Steppeling said.

Steppling also said that the main studying advantage specific to AP review books is the practice questions, as “practice questions can be very helpful to get the students to think as historians” and utilize or analyze strategies such as comparing and contrasting or use of point of view and audience to enhance a work of writing.

Social studies teacher Christina Rice, who teaches an AP US Government class, said, “[Barron’s and Princeton Review AP books] tend to be very popular … [but] I like Five Steps to a Five … they do more organizational charts and … it’s a little bit more interactive.” Regardless of what review book students choose, Rice said that “they all pretty much do the same things,” and the book that a student should choose “needs to be something they’re going to use.”

In relation to the method in which a student should utilize the book, Rice said that the “content section [can be used] as an alternat[ive strategy] to reading the whole textbook.” Rice also said that students should “put on their calendar when to do review tests,” as this increases commitment for the student.

Textbooks from Barron’s, Five Steps to a Five and Princeton Review can be found on online shopping websites such as Amazon, as well as some bookstores.

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