The Best AP Calculus BC Review Books of 2019

By January 29, 2019 September 11th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Calculus is hard enough as it is. But with the right help, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we detail our top picks for the best AP Calculus BC review books of 2019.

Advanced Placement or AP Calculus BC is considered the easier of the two AP Calculus exams. Compared to AP Calculus AB, which had over 57% examinees with scores of 3 or higher, AP Calculus BC had over 80% examinees scoring 3 or higher in the recent exam. What is even more surprising is that 40.4% of those who took the exam got scores of 5. That is more than those who got scores of 3 and 4.

While the most recent AP Calculus BC exam results might make you think that it is quite easy to get a 5, you still need to be more than prepared for the unexpected. You should always go beyond the call of duty and prepare for any kind of exam like it is your last. That said, you need to be able to equip yourself with the proper tools to get a score of 5 in the upcoming AP Calculus BC exam. That is why we have put together this list of the best AP Calculus BC review books you can use to prepare for your exam.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for AP Calculus BC prep book here.

Then, read our 75 AP Calculus tips and test taking strategies guide here.

Our Favorites (the best AP Calculus BC review books out of the bunch)

AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes: AP Calculus BC Interactive Lectures Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Rita Korsunsky

This is not your usual AP exam review book. While most review books usually contain tips, a content review section, and practice tests, this one is a material that solely focuses on delivering you quality lecture notes based on the author’s slideshow presentation of her AP Calculus BC course and review lectures.

In a sense, this book is a good way to start your review because you have to recall everything you have read or learned in your AP Calculus BC classes before you actually try to take practice tests and sample questions. And what makes this review material the best in that regard is that it contains everything you need to know and learn for the upcoming exam regardless of what your level of understanding and knowledge is.

The book has a targeted approach to every lesson that is on the College Board’s outline. Each lesson has specific examples and corresponding formulas that will help improve your understanding and skills of such concepts. It also helps that the book illustrates the problems in a clear and concise step-by-step approach that is good for both intermediate and basic learners.

Completely updated to fit the changes in the latest AP Calculus BC exam, this book has everything you need as far as up-to-date information and lessons are concerned. It also contains a list of all of the formulas and theorems you need to know by heart in order for you to get a 5 in the AP Calculus BC exam.

Considered one of the best AP Calculus BC review books on Amazon, this material has received five-star ratings from all the satisfied customers that have had the pleasure of using it. They love the book because of how it makes them understand concepts in a direct approach that is not very difficult to understand. And what is even better is that the author’s track record speaks for itself. All of her students pass the AP Calculus BC exam while 94% of those students get a score of 5. If you think about it, it must have something to do with her lectures book.

What makes it unique:

  • It is purely focused on lecture notes based on the slideshow lectures of the author.
  • It makes you feel like you are listening to a topnotch AP Calculus BC teacher just by reading the lecture notes.

Why choose this book:

  • It is the best place to start if you have forgotten your calculus basics or even if you do not know anything about the topics covered by the AP Calculus BC exam at all.
  • None of the author’s students have failed in the AP Calculus BC exam.


Multiple Choice Questions to Prepare for the AP Calculus BC Exam: 2018 Calculus BC Exam Preparation workbook by Rita Korsunsky

This is a companion book to the first item on this list. Written by the same author, this review material was meant to be used for practical purposes after you have read and digested every topic that is covered by the AP Calculus BC exam. While this book might work well with the author’s lecture notes, it can still be used in conjunction with other review materials as well.

A review book dedicated to multiple-choice questions that are patterned after the ones you will be encountering in the real AP Calculus BC exam, this material contains six practice exams that can indeed challenge you and help you prepare for the upcoming test. On top of that, the book also has a section on formulas and theorems as well as a chapter that is solely dedicated to giving you tips on how to ace the exam. And, of course, there is an answer key to help guide you on where you went wrong.

The author, an award-winning teacher that has a 100% passing rate in the AP Calculus BC exam, made this review material while focusing on what the student wants and needs to know. In that sense, it helps you learn in a student-friendly manner while reinforcing the skills and knowledge you need to have to get a 5 in the exam.

Feedbacks on Amazon call this book an excellent companion for any review material as it not only helps people practice but also reinforces their understanding of the subject matter. As such, it consistently gets a five-star rating online.

What makes it unique:

  • It was designed as a questionnaire review book that primarily contains multiple-choice questions.
  • The book also contains tips and strategies as well as a chapter that is focused on formulas and theorems.

Why choose this book:

  • Calculus is all about practice. You need to be able to solve problems and answer practice questions if you want to master the concepts of calculus.
  • It works well as a companion to a lot of other review materials but works better when used together with the lecture notes review book.


Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam by The Princeton Review

You cannot say enough about how great The Princeton Review is at delivering high-quality review materials for the AP exams. In this case, Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam continues the same kind of tradition of excellence that The Princeton Review has always been known for. It follows the same format that has helped hundreds of students get a score of 5 over the past years.

The review book uses a well-rounded and balanced approach that can be considered more complete than the other books on this list. It contains a comprehensive content review part that follows the College Board’s outline. Each chapter ends with activities that can be quite interesting to make sure you are engaged as you keep track of your progress. It then gives tips and strategies that have been proven to work in past exams.

What has always been the best part of any Cracking review book are the practice tests. This material contains three full-length practice tests that are challenging enough to make your confidence soar high up. Every question in those tests has a detailed answer explanation to help you know where you went wrong and how you could improve in the future.

One of the best-selling AP Calculus BC review books, Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam has customers raving over it because of how it has helped them get high scores in the test. The polarizing parts of the review book were the practice tests. Everyone was in agreement of how difficult and challenging they were but there were a few others that believed they psyched them out because of how difficult they were. Regardless of that, The Princeton Review has certainly made a quality review book that serves its purpose of preparing you for the upcoming exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It is one of the more well-rounded review books on the market because of how it does not approach the review through a single looking glass but with multiple lenses.
  • The practice tests are some of the most difficult ones you can find anywhere on the market.

Why choose this book:

  • You cannot find a book that beats this one’s quality in terms of how complete and balanced it is.
  • It works as a primary review material because of its comprehensive content review and its challenging practice tests.


The Runners-Up for Best AP Calculus BC Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

Dr. John Chung’s Advancement Placement Calculus BC by Dr. John Chung

This book is not one of the more popular ones on the market but it certainly is a favorite among those who have successfully passed and aced the AP Calculus BC exam by using this material. It was designed not only to help you review but also for you get a 5 in the exam. In a sense, using this material is a make or break if you don’t get a 5.

Like any high-quality review book, this material knows how to summarize the topics in a clear and concise manner. It explains the concepts and theorems in a straightforward way by explaining it in simple terms. That said, anyone who has trouble understanding math and numbers can find that this book is quite easy to use and relate to.

The material also has practice exams that mirror the actual AP Calculus BC exam. They make you feel like you are taking the real thing and may even be more difficult than the actual exam itself. That is one of the primary reasons why there is no reason for you to not get a score of 5 in the upcoming AP Calculus BC exam.

Scoring five stars on Amazon, this book has received a lot of praise for how easy it is to understand how helpful it is at giving you a 5. Some users would say that the practice tests can be quite difficult but it only makes the review experience better as it helps build your confidence up.

What makes it unique:

  • It is written in an easy-to-understand format that makes use of simple examples to make topics easily digestible.
  • The book comes with four full-length practice tests that are as challenging as the actual one.

Why choose this book:

  • If you fancy a book that aims to give you a 5 but challenges you, this material should be on your list.
  • You will be able to spike your confidence up with the difficult practice tests.


5 Steps to a 5: AP Calculus BC by William Ma

Following the same five-step plan that has made this line of review books so popular, 5 Steps to a 5: AP Calculus BC is a great material to use especially if you are aiming for nothing lower than a 5. That said, the step-by-step procedure you will have to follow when using this book can certainly improve your chances of getting that 5.

The book starts out by helping you set your own customized study plan. It will then aid you in determining your level of knowledge with a diagnostic test. After that, you will be using the book to develop your own strategies on the day of the exam. Of course, it then has a content review section that covers all of the topics in the College Board’s outline. Finally, you will be able to test yourself up and boost your confidence by taking the practice tests.

This book is a good material to use because of how comprehensive the review part is and due to the fact that it tends to connect one chapter or section to another to make sure you never forget what you have just previously read. It builds on what you have read in the previous chapter and then explains the next topics by connecting them to the previous ones. The book also has an appendix that contains all of the different formulas and theorems you need to know by heart.

One of the most affordable books on the market, this material delivers the bang for your buck because of how it seems to be a lot cheaper compared to the other books though it does not skimp out on delivering you a high-quality review experience for your upcoming AP Calculus BC exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It uses a systematic step-by-step approach that promises to deliver a 5.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want a book that uses a simple but organized approach, then this material is best for you.


The Best Value for Your Money (good and affordable)

Barron’s AP Calculus by David Bock, Dennis Donovan, Shirley Hockett

Barron’s remains as one of the top choices for any kind of AP review book due to its how the people behind this line of materials maintain a high standard when it comes to delivering excellent study aids for the struggling student. In this case, Barron’s AP Calculus gives you a review book that is designed for both Calculus AB and BC.

Despite how it was made for two different types of exams, it is not as half-baked as it might seem. In fact, it still manages to retain the same type of quality that has made Barron’s so popular and successful. There are dedicated sections to AP Calculus BC to make sure you will only be able to focus on those topics if you plan on having a more targeted review.

Other than having a section for content review, there is also a dedicated section that teaches you how to properly use a calculator because everything you have learned and studied would turn out to be for nothing if you do not even know how to use your tools in the first place. Aside from that, the book also has three practice exams designed for the AP Calculus BC test alone.

What makes this book the best value for your money (aside from its quality) is that you are basically hitting two birds with one stone. You will be getting a quality review material that already covers topics for two exams. This way, you would not need to buy another book if you are also taking the AP Calculus AB exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It already covers two exam topics while making sure it does not sacrifice quality.
  • Though it covers two topics, you won’t get confused because each topic has dedicated sections and practice exams.

Why choose this book:

  • You are basically paying for the price of one book but you will be getting a high-quality material that already covers two topics.


Summary of the Best AP Calculus BC Review Books

To sum up, here are the AP Calculus BC review books we looked at today:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes $37.99 187
Multiple Choice Questions to Prepare for the AP Calculus BC Exam $22.99 158
Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam, 2019 Edition $19.99 768
Dr. John Chung's Advanced Placement Calculus BC $22.99 372
5 Steps to a 5: AP Calculus BC 2019 $18.00 464
Barron's AP Calculus $18.99 656

Like any math test, the AP Calculus BC exam requires you to have a good mix of knowledge and practice. Reading alone will not help you get that 5 you are aiming for. That said, you need review materials that will challenge you with multiple-choice and free-response questions. And even though it might seem like the AP Calculus BC exam is one of the easiest tests, it never hurts to be more than prepared for the unknown.

Hope you found this guide on the best AP Calculus BC review books helpful. If so, share it with a friend!

Looking for more reviews of AP study guides?
Check out our archives for other AP Math & Computer Science, AP Sciences, or our general Advanced Placement section.

Also, make sure you read our 75 AP Calculus tips and test taking strategies guide here.


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