Studying for AP Tests

Oh, the long terror-filled late nights of dread (and procrastination!) leading up to that horrid AP test…I’ve been there too, so don’t fret! Here’s my advice on studying for your APs and which brands of study books to buy (especially if you wait until the last week like I did – don’t be me LOL)

Here’s the summary, broken down by subject and the type of person you are – yes this matters too, whether you like it or not:

here’s a nice flower to de-stress before I proceed to overwhelm you with advice


1. Crash Course by REA – this brand (the small books, not the huge-king-size ones that they also sell) was everybody’s best friend in the final month/weeks/days/hours/seconds leading up to our accursed AP tests.

NOTES: However, I don’t recommend Crash Course for every subject! I personally think it’s perfect for subjects that require more factual memorization than logic/numbers such as: Environmental Science, Biology, European History, U.S. History, etc.

2. 5 Steps to a 5 – Super compact and concise information that’s all you need to know, usually very easy on the eyes and helps you set up a study habit – even for the procrastinators (yay)

NOTES: 100%, 1000/10, 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 recommend for Psychology especially! Since I was taking five APs during my junior year, I was much too overwhelmed by the workload and ended up barely studying leading up to the APs. So, the night before and morning of, I only reviewed the practice tests + their answers, and many of them showed up on the AP test too! Super helpful. It’s also not bad for explaining history concepts, but could do better in the chemistry department.

my trip to Canada back in 2014!! gorgeous and scenic area to visit any time ❤

If you’re a TRYHARD:

First of all, I salute you and your brethren.

1. All of the above I recommended for Procrastinators!! Definitely use those in addition to your current books/the following I will describe in detail, if you can spare the time.

2. Barron’s – best overall test prep for all of the history tests, sciences, you name it.

NOTES: I really didn’t like the math Barron’s books though, so I ended up never using them. For math, the best study tip I can give is to practice from all of the released tests that CollegeBoard provides you with. If you can do at least a majority of them with no problem, you’ll definitely do well.

3. Princeton Review – very good for the numbers/logic kind of subject, such as Physics, Chemistry, etc.

NOTES: On a personal level I think it’s best for the sciences – chem and physics will be your best bet when using this brand.

here’s another Canada picture!! one of my favorites bc of the gorgeous contrasting colors

Now, I didn’t mention prep books for languages because I believe you should only take a language AP if you are absolutely fluent (or at least able to hold a decent conversation/write/read in the language). Otherwise, not taking one won’t hurt you.

And there you go! I believe these main brands should be able to get you through all the AP tests you may take, and another huge study tip: get an idea of how the grading scale will be calculated, in addition to printing and studying the released tests!! Those will definitely be a great help.

AP prep books can definitely be a lot of money if you buy them straight from the store (but it will be the newest revision for your year), so you can sell it off to someone the following year! Or, buy it off cheap from somebody prior to your year. Yay friends!

Now go out there and get that 5 in May!



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