The Best AP Human Geography Review Books of 2019

By January 4, 2019 September 11th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Not sure what the best AP Human Geography review books are? In this article, we detail our top picks, runner-ups as well as best bang for your buck in which AP Human Geography study guides will help you ace the big test.

In 2018, over 54% of those that took the Advanced Placement or AP Human Geography exam got a score of 3 or higher. That means that test scores for this exam have never been higher since 2011 and have been the highest in the decade so far. However, this doesn’t also automatically mean that the AP Human Geography exam has been getting easier and easier. In fact, it might get even more difficult considering the upward trend of the exam results.

That said, you have to be prepared for the worst whether the exam will get more difficult or not. If you have prepared well enough for anything that comes out of the AP Human Geography, it wouldn’t really matter if the test is harder or difficult. This is why you should equip yourself with any of these top AP Human Geography review books.

If you prefer a video summary, check out the summary section of this guide. If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for AP Human Geography here.

Our Favorites (the best AP Human Geography review books)

Barron’s AP Human Geography by Meredith Marsh, Peter S. Alagona

Barron’s has always been one of the leaders in the industry when it comes to publishing high-quality review books for the AP exams. Their material for the AP Human Geography exam is quite as impressive as any of their best-published works. It’s a book that’s meant for long-term reviews and is as complete a material as you can find on the market.

This book helps you understand your key areas of weaknesses by testing you out with a diagnostic test. It helps you understand where you need to focus your studies on since you probably won’t be able to zero in on all of the topics in the College Board’s outline.

Speaking of outline, Barron’s religiously sticks to the content and information that you need to master for the exam. It does not tend to float around on minor details and concepts that probably won’t be necessary. This helps you focus on what really matters as far as the content of the exam is concerned.

The content review is also very easy to understand and digest especially for visual learners because of how it easy on the eyes and well-organized to help you master all kinds of geographical topics such as population, cultural, political, agricultural, economic, rural, and urban. To make things easier, there is a glossary of terms at the end of each chapter that you can use to improve your retention of the most important details and terms.

This top AP Human Geography review book aims at helping you master how to answer the different types of questions you will be encountering in the exam by including tips and strategies that are proven to be effective. In that sense, you will be able to see what kind of an approach you should take when encountering one question type or another.

To top it all off, Barron’s has two practice tests that can help you know what it feels like taking and answering the actual AP Human Geography exam. This book has qualities that make it worth the price. That is why it consistently gets good reviews on Amazon as most satisfied customers think it is a well-written material that gives them exactly what they need.

What makes it unique:

  • Sticks to the content faithfully and does not tend to stray away despite how Barron’s is known to provide content that gets too deep.
  • It provides a good way of helping you understand and memorize all of the terminologies that are needed to get a 5 in the exam.

Why choose this book:

  • It’s our favorite choice for a long-term review that will last for at least a month or two because of how comprehensive and in-depth it can be.
  • It can be quite a heavy read but it is best AP Human Geography review book for those that prefer extensive content reviews.

Cracking the AP Human Geography Exam by The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review once again proved themselves as publishers of top-quality AP review materials with this book for the AP Human Geography exam. Following the same style and format that has been working for years, Cracking the AP Human Geography Exam has everything you need to know to get that 5.

This book contains a very detailed content review that follows the College Board’s outline to the letter. This part even explains geographic models in a really understandable manner. Each chapter also ends with a list of the key terms and information you might need to memorize for the upcoming AP Human Geography exam.

Like any good book by The Princeton Review, this material comes with high-quality test-taking strategies that have already been proven to be effective in past exams. Anyone can certainly benefit from the tips given by this book as Cracking has a good track record of producing students that have gotten high scores on AP exams.

Lastly, to help improve your retention and your test-taking skills, this material contains practice questions and tests that are designed to mirror the same style and format used in the actual AP Human Geography exam. They are even just as difficult or more challenging than the exam itself. All of those questions and tests have their own answers and explanations to help you know where your weak points are and to help you improve on those weaknesses.

Cracking the AP Human Geography Exam is something of a bargain especially for the quality of a review it provides you. This is why it is a bestseller on Amazon and has consistently gotten great reviews that say how great of a resource it is at helping them get a score of 5 in the AP Human Geography exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It gives some of the best and unique test-taking strategies.
  • The practice questions and exams can be quite challenging.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a great resource to have especially if you have at least a month to go before the AP Human Geography exam.
  • The book has a relatable tone that students can easily understand. It is great for those who prefer books that aren’t too heavy to read.

AMSCO Advanced Placement Human Geography by David Palmer

This book by AMSCO was specifically designed to be used not only for review purposes but mainly for the AP Human Geography course itself. In that sense, it is a pretty flexible book that contains everything you need to know for the AP Human Geography course and the exam.

The way the book is divided actually mirrors the structure of the AP Human Geography curriculum to make it easier for you to follow the line of thinking needed to get a high score in the exam. Each of those chapters also ends with assessments, key terms that will help you remember the important details you just read, and questions that are designed to mirror the ones you will be encountering in the exam. Those questions can be multiple-choice, free-response, or source-based.

The material makes it a point not only to not only equip you with the necessary contextual knowledge for the AP Human Geography exam but also with the writing skills needed to ace it. In that sense, there are activities in the book that are designed to improve the way you write your answers to the free-response questions.

Lastly, the book offers you a chance to know what it feels like answering the actual AP Human Geography exam by providing a full-length practice exam that correlates to the College Board’s curriculum and mirrors the same style and format that is being used in the AP exam. With a middle of the pack price tag, it can be a little bit more expensive compared to the other books but it is actually a good price to pay when you consider the fact that it is made for the course itself and not merely just for review purposes.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a versatile book that can be used for the AP course and for the AP exam.
  • The writing skills activities are really helpful when it comes to improving the way you answer free-response questions.

Why choose this book:

  • Go for this book if you are also taking the course because of how it works for both the course and the exam.
  • It can be quite a lengthy read. In that sense, it is best for those who have a long preparation time.

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

AP Human Geography Prep Plus by Kaplan Test Prep

The most updated review book by Kaplan Test Prep to date, this material was revised to completely align itself with the latest changes in the College Board’s outline for the AP Human Geography exam. That said, it is a book that gives you content, guidance, and practice all in one good and balanced material.

This book contains up-to-date content that mirrors what the current curriculum for this course. The good part is that the content review is so focused and pinpointed to the concepts that really matter to help you save time and effort instead of having you read things that probably won’t come out in the exam. Each chapter also ends with quizzes you can use to help your retention and comprehension.

Priding itself in giving you expert guidance, Kaplan Test Prep has test-taking tips and strategies that are specifically designed not just for any exam but only for the AP Human Geography exam. It even contains customizable study plans that aid you in monitoring your goals throughout the entire review process.

The material contains three full-length practice exams that were designed to make you feel like you are actually taking the real thing. It’s actually a bargain for the price tag it has but it might not be the best choice for you if you are looking for a book that has a more thorough content review than this one.

What makes it unique:

  • The study plan is customizable depending on your individual goals and remaining time.
  • It has up-to-date content that gives you the latest information on the upcoming AP Human Geography exam.

Why choose this book:

  • Choose this book if you want one of the most updated materials on the market.
  • It is quite a well-balanced review material that gives a little bit of everything you need to get a high score in the exam.

Sterling Test Prep AP Human Geography: Complete Content Review for AP Exam by Sterling Test Prep

Known for delivering review books that focus on one single thing, Sterling Test Prep’s material for the AP Human Geography follows the same style that made this line of books so successful. In that sense, it stays true to its nature by focusing only on content review and nothing else.

While this book might seem like it is not as complete as any other material on the market, its content review is so comprehensive and intensive in the sense that it contains everything you need to know about the topics covered by the AP Human Geography exam. You won’t even need to read another book’s content review after reading this one.

The material is written in a good and engaging way as it is also organized well enough to be a light read even though it is as comprehensive a book as you can find. It is also so easy to understand because of how clear and concise it seems to be to the point that you can zero in and focus on one chapter and another without feeling like the book is a heavy read.

Because of how complete it is as a content review material, it works well as a supplementary book to your AP Human Geography course and as one of your main resources for the AP Human Geography exam itself. The only weaknesses this book has are its price and the fact that it does not have anything to offer other than a content review.

What makes it unique:

  • It completely focuses on content review and masterfully delivers it.
  • The book is so versatile that it can be used for both the AP Human Geography course and for the exam as well.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want to focus your studies on content, then this book should be on the top of your list.
  • It works well as a complementary material together with other books that give you more than just a content review.

The Best Value for Your Money (good and affordable)

AP Human Geography Crash Course by Christian Sawyer

If you do not have the luxury of time or if you are looking for a book that can deliver a quick crash course for the AP Human Geography exam, then look no further than Crash Course. As the name suggests, it is supposed to function as a quick review guide for anyone looking to study for the exam in a short amount of time. It sounds too simple but it actually works.

Despite priding itself at delivering a focused review that only gives you the things you need to learn, Crash Course actually provides an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the topics that will be covered by the exam. It is just that it does not dwell on the things that matter and nothing else so that you can make the most of whatever time you have left to study and prepare for the exam. The good part is that it is easy to read and light on the eyes.

Not to be outdone, this book also gives quick tips and strategies that you may want to use to answer the exam like a pro. It tackles the different types of questions that will come out in the exam such as multiple-choice and free-response. You can even test yourself out even further by taking the online practice exam provided by the book.

AP Human Geography Crash Course is pretty affordable and it can give you the best value for your money given that it is a quick read and a comparatively cheaper option for you. The way it values your wallet and what little time you have to study is what makes it a favorite on Amazon.

What makes it unique:

  • It really is a crash course that delivers to you everything you need to know in a short amount of time.
  • The book is able to cover the contents of the outline in a quick yet quite comprehensive manner.

Why choose this book:

  • This is one of the best materials to go for if you are short on time and on money.
  • It works well as a companion for other materials. In such a case, it works best as a material you should use days before the exam.

Summary of the Best AP Human Geography Review Books

In this guide, we went over the following best AP Human Geography review books:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Barron's AP Human Geography $22.99 360
Cracking the AP Human Geography Exam, 2019 Edition $18.99 480
Amsco Advanced Placement Human Geography N/A 440
AP Human Geography Prep Plus 2019-2020 $21.99 492
Sterling Test Prep AP Human Geography $25.95 375
AP® Human Geography Crash Course $14.95 240

Since the AP Human Geography exam is 50-50 multiple-choice and free-response in terms of composition, you need to have a well-balanced preparation that focuses on the things you need to know for both types of questions. That said, you need one or two of the books we have chosen for you because they deliver a quality content review and an avenue to hone your test-answering skills.

Hope you found this guide on the best AP Human Geography 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 History & Social Sciences, AP History & Social Sciences, or our general Advanced Placement section.


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