The Best AP Environmental Science Review Books of 2019

By February 5, 2019 October 16th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Unsure what the best AP Environmental Science review books are for 2019? In this article, we comprehensively detail our favorites, the runner-ups, and best value picks for this year’s top study guides for AP Environmental Science. Time to get that 5.

With how the world is drastically changing right now due to industrialization, it is now important to learn more about sustainable living. Environmental science is a field of study that contributes to how we should live our lives as sustainable as possible. However, based on the most recent Advanced Placement or AP Environmental Science test scores, there were not a lot of students that got high scores. Only 8.8% got a 5 in the exam while more than 52% of those who took the exam got low scores of 1 and 2 in total.

That said, if you want to ace the AP Environmental Science exam or just want to learn more about environmental science in general, you need a good AP review book by your side as you prepare for the big test. If you choose any of the books we have listed down for you, there probably is no reason why you won’t be able to get a 5 in the exam.

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

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

Environmental Science for AP by Andrew Friedland, Rick Relyea

Your foundational knowledge of AP Environmental Science should start somewhere. In that regard, there is no better tool to use to build the foundations than a textbook that was specifically designed for the AP Environmental Science course and exam. Because it was made for AP purposes, it completely follows the outline set by the College Board while making sure that everything in the book serves to better your understanding of environmental science.

One of the most helpful study tools you can find on the market, Environmental Science for AP focuses on giving you a review experience that is centered on what is in the AP exam coverage. As such, it is beautifully crafted and written to make you understand each fundamental concept in such a way that is not too boring or heavy.

If you aim to use it for review purposes or for a quick reading session, you can find summaries at the end of each chapter. The chapters also have sample questions you can use to challenge yourself while also improving your retention of the things you just read. Those sample questions are similar to the ones you will be encountering in the actual AP Environmental Science exam.

With a five-star rating on Amazon, satisfied customers cannot say enough about how great of a material this book is. They love the fact that everything in the book is so well-detailed but never too much. A brand-new book will run you in the hundreds. If you do not mind a used book, you can get one for typically cheaper. But if you are planning on using it only for a while, the best AP Environmental Science deal for you is to rent one.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a textbook that is designed specifically for the AP Environmental Science course and exam.
  • The concepts are explained in full detail without having to give you too much information that tends to be useless.

Why choose this book:

  • Your foundational knowledge of the subject matter should start with a book that gives you everything you need to know to get a 5 in the exam.
  • It works well as a primary material because of how it can be used as your first step to learning more about environmental science or as a tool for your review.


Strive for 5: Preparing for the AP Environmental Science Exam by Andrew Friedland, Rick Relyea

After building your foundational knowledge for the AP Environmental Science exam, it is now time to move on to a review book that is dedicated to summarizing everything you have read in Environmental Science for AP. Written by the same authors, Strive for 5 was written specifically as a companion book that you should be using for review purposes.

The authors designed this book to evaluate how much you have learned in the AP Environmental Science course or during your own individual studies of the subject matter. In that sense, it gauges how well you have read the textbook and how much you have mastered the key concepts that will be covered by the AP Environmental Science exam.

While the book has sections that summarize the topics you need to know for the exam, it should be used mainly as a workbook because how it contains a lot of practice questions that can improve your understanding of the concepts while also boosting your confidence. The book also contains tips and strategies you can use to gain an edge in the exam if you really are aiming for that elusive score of 5.

The book is in the middle-tier of price points for AP Environmental Science study resources but you can opt for a used one for cheaper. It is an excellent study guide that some Amazon users have considered useful because of how it serves as a workbook that bolsters your knowledge and test-answering skills.

What makes it unique:

  • It works in conjunction with the main textbook or any other textbook designed for the AP Environmental Science course and exam.
  • The material is mainly a workbook that contains strategies and practice questions.

Why choose this book:

  • It helps you practice your answering skills while also giving you an avenue to use the knowledge you have built when you were reading main references and textbooks.
  • The book is an excellent partner to the main textbook or any other book that was meant for AP purposes.


Sterling Test Prep AP Environmental Science: Complete Content Review by Sterling Test Prep

A leader in the industry, Sterling Test Prep has always been an excellent source of great AP review materials. In this case, this review book for the AP Environmental Science was designed purely as a content review material that you can use as your main reference in case you do not have access to or the budget for expensive AP Environmental Science textbooks.

Because this material is a complete content review, it gives you every detail and concept you need to get a 5 in the upcoming AP Environmental Science exam. It completely follows the College Board’s outline to the letter while providing you with an avenue to better understand the topics that will be covered by the exam.

The good thing about this book is that it is completely dedicated to its craft and has mastered it. In a sense, it is quite an easy read that does not tend to be too heavy even though it explains the concepts and topics in full detail. This is because it was written specifically to be easily understandable. It was also designed well enough to be easy on the eyes.

At its price, Sterling Test Prep AP Environmental Science is by far one of the more affordable books if you are looking for a material that provides you with a pure content review. Satisfied customers love the book because it provides you with a comprehensive review while also only giving you the details you actually need for the exam as opposed to other books that tend to waste your time by giving you more than what you need.

Why makes it unique:

  • It is dedicated to giving you a complete content review of the topics covered by the AP Environmental Science exam.
  • The book is written in an easy-to-understand format to make the review process much more bearable.

Why choose this book:

  • It works as the main reference material in case you are on a tight budget.
  • This material can be used in conjunction with other books that are designed to improve your practical knowledge and test-answering skills.


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

AP Environmental Science Crash Course by Gayle Evans

With this material for the AP Environmental Science exam, Crash Course continues a long-standing tradition of providing excellent review books that are meant for time-crunched students who are also on a budget. Giving justice to its name, this book gives any kind of student a literal crash course of the topics covered by the College Board’s outline.

Known as a book meant for a quick review, Crash Course contains only the information and concepts you need to get a high score in the AP Environmental Science exam. It does not waste time on fluff or on any other details that would only take up space in both the book and in your head. That said, it provides you with a focused and targeted review that you can use if you do not have a lot of time in your hands.

Aside from its quick content review, this book gives you test-taking strategies that are proven effective. Purchasing the book also grants you access to an online practice exam that is time-tested to make you feel like you are taking the actual AP Environmental Science exam.

AP Environmental Science Crash Course is one of the most affordable books on the market and has helped a lot of students that are on a time and budget constraint. It is a favorite among Amazon customers and has earned a five-star rating due to how effective it is at doing its job. The only knock on this book is that is not as updated as all of the other materials on the market but is still one of the best AP Environmental Science study aids you can use.

What makes it unique:

  • It provides you with a literal crash course that is designed to give any student a quick review.
  • The book contains only the information and details you need to get a 5 in the exam.

Why choose this book:

  • Because it is an affordable material, it is best for those looking for a cheap review book.
  • It can work as a book of last resort days or even hours before the exam.


Barron’s AP Environmental Science by Gary Thorpe

Barron’s is a leader in the industry as it consistently produces top-quality review materials that have likewise produced students that have gotten scores of 5 in the AP Environmental Science exam. This complete review book has a holistic approach and would have ranked higher up on this list had it been a more updated version. Nevertheless, you can never go wrong with a material such as this.

As mentioned, this book has a holistic approach in the sense that it you with a little bit of everything. It has a comprehensive content review section that fits the topics in the College Board’s outline. This part includes helpful diagrams and figures that can make learning easier. It then provides you with an overview of the exam format as well as tips for taking the test.

Priding itself as a good source of practice materials, this review book has practice questions at the end of each chapter to provide you with an avenue for testing out what you have just read. The book also comes with two full-length practice tests that are designed to boost your confidence. Of course, the tests and the questions have their own answers and explanations.

You can purchase a brand new book for a reasonable price. However, if you do not mind using a second-hand material, you can go for a used book for about half the price of a new one. That said, it is a book that really lives up to its name and is worth every penny you spend on it.

What makes it unique:

  • It has a holistic approach in giving you a complete and quality review.
  • The book has a lot of useful visual tools that can help you learn and understand the concepts of AP Environmental Science better.

Why choose this book:

  • If you fancy a book that gives you a complete review experience, then this one should be on your list.


The Best Value for Your Money (good and affordable)

Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam by The Princeton Review

Cracking ranks as one of the best AP Environmental Science review books on the market. With this material, you gain access to one of the most holistic and complete study aids you can find anywhere else. In that regard, it certainly gives you the bang for your buck.

Priding itself at giving you techniques that work, this book contains tips and strategies that are proven to be effective in the AP Environmental Science exam. These tactics were designed not only to make you work hard for that 5 but also smarter for a high score.

The content review portion of this book contains one of the most comprehensive topic reviews as well as useful tools such as activities and exercises that are meant to improve your retention of the subject matter. It also contains a list of the important terms and concepts you need to excel in the exam.

The best part of this review book is the section on practice tests. Cracking is known for making challenging and difficult practice tests that are designed to make you feel the actual pressure of taking the real AP Environmental Science exam. If you can answer the practice tests well, then there is no reason for you to get a 5 in the exam.

On the lower end of prices for APES resources, Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam is considered one of the best values for your money. It has also gotten a lot of positive reviews on Amazon as it provides you with the most helpful tools you need to perform really well on the AP Environmental Science exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It provides you with a complete review experience that ranks as one of the best on the market.

Why choose this book:

  • Go for this book if you want a review material that provides you with a holistic approach during your studies.
  • It is affordable yet so complete and helpful for any type of student out there.


Summary of the Best AP Environmental Science Review Books

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

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Environmental Science for AP® $175.99 848
Strive for 5: Preparing for the AP® Environmental Science Exam $42.99 408
Sterling Test Prep AP Environmental Science $25.95 424
Barron's AP Environmental Science with Online Tests $24.99 544
Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2019 Edition $18.99 400

Considering that the AP Environmental Science exam focuses more on multiple-choice questions and is also 40% free-response questions, you really need to master the fundamental aspects of environmental science. It takes knowledge and practice to perform well in any kind of exam (this one included). And there probably are no better study aids you can use than the ones we have chosen.

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