The Best AP Computer Science A Review Books of 2019

By February 1, 2019 April 7th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Not sure what the best AP Computer Science A Review book is for 2019? No worries, we cover it all in this article.

In the previous year, almost 70% of those who took the Advanced Placement or AP Computer Science A exam got a score of 3 or higher. That is as high as any number can get especially considering that more and more students are now interested in computer science, which is the fastest growing field of study in the United States.

But, even though you are interested in learning more about computer science, it does not mean that you will necessarily get a high score in the AP Computer Science A exam. It still depends on how well you prepared for the exam and on what materials you used to review for it. In that sense, you may want to use the review books we have listed to help you prepare for the upcoming AP Computer Science A exam.

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

Our Favorites (the best AP Computer Science A review books out of the bunch)

Barron’s AP Computer Science A by Roselyn Teukolsky

A leader in the industry, Barron’s continues its tradition of excellence by providing an AP Computer Science A review book that ranks as one of the best on the market. This complete study aid has a holistic approach in the review experience it provides as it not only gives a comprehensive content review but also extra information and details you might need to get a 5 in the upcoming AP Computer Science A exam.

This review book comes with a section that is completely dedicated to giving you a comprehensive content review of the topics covered by the College Board’s outline. This part of the book includes detailed analyses of the many concepts that are covered by the main topics as well as a part that discusses computer labs.

Some of the highlights of this review material include five tests: one diagnostic test, two full-length practice tests, and two more online tests. The diagnostic test is designed to help you gauge your current knowledge and skills as you prepare yourself for your review. Meanwhile, the four practice tests are for the purpose of putting the finishing touches in your review as you build your confidence up in time for the exam.

Finally, this book includes a section where you are given tips and strategies you can use to get a 5 in the exam. There are also charts that show you the scoring suggestions for the free-response type questions in the AP Computer Science A exam.

For its price, this book is one of the more affordable complete review materials on the market. On top of its comparatively affordable price, Barron’s is also a recommended product on Amazon as a lot of satisfied customers have given it positive feedback saying that it really helps you understand the AP Computer Science A concepts even if you just studied it for a week or two.

What makes it unique:

  • It has a holistic approach that aims to give you a complete review experience.
  • The content review section is complete with charts and diagrams that help you understand the concepts better.

Why choose this book:

  • Not a lot of books are as complete as this study material is.
  • It has a total of five tests that all aim to improve the way you answer and boost your confidence.


Cracking the AP Computer Science A Exam by The Princeton Review

As one of the best-selling publishers of AP review materials, The Princeton Review has outdone itself yet again with Cracking the AP Computer Science A Exam. This review book is just as good as any other product out there on the market because of its complete approach in delivering to you a material that aims to help give you a 5 in the AP Computer Science A exam.

This book has sections that are dedicated to helping you out in different ways. For example, a part of the book gives you test-taking strategies that are said to have been tried and tested in the past. Meanwhile, there is a part that focuses on a comprehensive content review. Each chapter of this part of the book ends with sample questions that can help you retain what you had just read while also making sure you understand the topics completely.

The cream of the crop of this book are the two full-length practice tests that are designed to be just as challenging or even more difficult than the actual AP Computer Science A exam. In a sense, if you are able to answer the practice tests confidently while also getting a high score in them, there won’t be a reason why you would not be able to get a 5 in the actual exam.

With its price tag on Amazon, it ranks as one of the more affordable books considering the fact that it is a complete review material. Satisfied customers on Amazon say that it has not only helped them get a good score in the exam but also in their high school computer science classes. In that sense, it is a versatile book that can also be used for general learning.

What makes it unique:

  • It approaches your review with a style that not only focuses on content review but also on essential details such as test-taking strategies.
  • The practice exams are considered more difficult than any other on the market.

Why choose this book:

  • Go for this book if you are looking for a review material that is already complete on its own.
  • If you want to challenge yourself with this material’s practice exams, it should be at the top of your list.


The Runner-Up for Best AP Computer Science A Review Book (still good but a little lacking)

5 Steps to a 5: AP Computer Science A by Dean Johnson, Carol Paymer, Aaron Chamberlain

5 Steps to a 5 has long been one of the most celebrated lines of review materials for the AP exams because of its systematic step-by-step approach in helping you get a 5 in the AP Computer Science A exam. It still follows the same kind of style that has made 5 Steps such a fantastic top-selling book on the market.

This material starts the five-step program with a guide that helps you make your own study plan. It will then have you take a diagnostic test so that you could gauge your current preparedness of the upcoming AP Computer Science A exam. After that, you will develop your own strategies for the test so that you will gain an edge.

The fourth step, which is the content review section, is a comprehensive part that touches every topic on the College Board’s outline. Each chapter ends with practice questions that are designed to make sure you were able to absorb all that you have read. And one of the content review’s best features is that there is a section that is entirely devoted to teaching you algorithm writing.

The final step in this systematic style of review is the practice tests. The book comes with three full-length practice tests that are designed to not only help you gauge yourself for the upcoming exam but to also improve your confidence level. That quality is already a great asset on its own as this book is on the lower end of price ranges for best AP Computer Science A review books. The price makes it a really affordable book that does its job fairly well even when compared to the other top names in the industry.

What makes it unique:

  • It brings you the same systematic five-step approach that has made this book popular among students and teachers alike.

Why choose this book:

  • If you fancy a more organized method of reviewing, then this should be at the top of your list.
  • It is quite affordable considering its quality and track record.


The Best Value for Your Money (good and affordable)

Decoding AP Computer Science A by Moksh Jawa

A study aid that was specifically designed for a high school level learner, Decoding AP Computer Science A is one of those books that not only help you get a high score in the exam but also build your foundational knowledge of Java and other concepts in the realm of computer science. It basically helps you learn more about computer science while also having a better appreciation for that subject matter.

The curriculum used in this book has been tried and tested on more than 2500 students across the United States. This means that it certainly has worked in the past and will continue to work well in the future for students taking the upcoming AP Computer Science A exam.

Also, the content review section of this book can be clearly understood by any high school student because of how it was written by the author with the perspective of a teenager in mind. This section of the book also gives you solid real-life examples that you connect the concepts of computer science in a way that is easy for you to understand and digest.

Finally, the book has tips and tricks you can use and keep in mind as you take the exam so that you will get an edge on the day of the big test. In a way, the material was designed to help you learn the topics for the AP Computer Science A exam both theoretically and practically.

The paperback version of this book is a little more expensive than the Kindle. While the paperback version might not be the most affordable book on the market, it gives you the bang for your bucket especially because of how Amazon users have consistently ranked it as one of their favorite review book for the AP Computer Science A exam. The best part is that the author has made a pledge to use the proceeds of the book to help improve the country’s appreciation and understanding of computer science.

What makes it unique:

  • It teaches you the fundamentals of computer science in a way that is easy to understand since it was written from the perspective of a high school student.

Why choose this book:

  • It is not only affordable but is also useful as well especially if you are looking for a material that is easy to understand.
  • Buying this book will help the author’s mission in making computer science and other means of technology more available in areas that lack the knowledge and funding for it.


Summary of the Best AP Computer Science A Review Books

Here’s a table of what AP Computer Science A review books we evaluated:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Barron's AP Computer Science A with Online Tests $23.99 528
Cracking the AP Computer Science A Exam, 2019 Edition $18.99 352
5 Steps to a 5: AP Computer Science A 2019 $18.00 512
Decoding AP Computer Science A N/A 466

AP Computer Science A might be the easier exam compared to AP Computer Science Principles if you factor in the number of those that got a 5 in both exams but it still does not make this test an easy one. That is because you need to master your foundational knowledge and skills both theoretically and practically if you want to ace the exam. And when it comes to tools that can help improve both of those aspects, you deserve to use only the best review books on the market.

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Check out our archives for other AP Math & Computer Science, AP Sciences, or our general Advanced Placement section.


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