The Best AP Music Theory Review Books of 2019

By February 19, 2019 October 16th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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In this article, we detail the best AP Music Theory review books available . We’ll tell you what to get, what other study guides to consider, as well as what can be a good bang for your book. Read on for more.

In the last Advanced Placement or AP Music Theory exam, there was a significantly large improvement in performance as more students got scores of 4 and 5. A total of 41.4% of those that took the exam scored in that bracket. It could either mean that the test was getting a little bit easier or that the students were just performing better than the last ones that took the exam.

No matter what the reason for the increase in scores is, you have to do your part well to actually be one of the students that got a 5. And if you want to be at your best and perform like a topnotch student, you need the best AP Music Theory review books the market can offer you.

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

Our Favorite (the best AP Music Theory review books)

Barron’s AP Music Theory by Nancy Scoggin

Barron’s continues to be an excellent choice for those who are looking to take the AP Music Theory exam because of how it approaches the review in as complete a manner as any other. In that regard, it gives you a holistic review experience that hits you in all angles and provides you with tools that make reviewing more interactive. 

This book contains an extensive content review of the topics covered by the AP Music Theory exam as well as fundamental knowledge and information about the things you should know by heart. On top of that, it gives you access to a website where you can download music files that are vital to making this review book as complete as it is.

You are also given helpful test-taking strategies that can improve your chances of getting a 5 in the exam. Of course, a complete Barron’s book always has practice tests. This book comes with two full-length practice exams that are designed to boost your confidence and help you gauge your preparedness for the actual test.

For its price, Barron’s AP Music Theory is worth every penny. It has a five-star rating online and has benefited a lot of customers that have used this book to get a good score of 4 or 5 in the AP Music Theory exam. Simply put, it is something you cannot do without if you want to perform well in the upcoming exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It has a holistic approach that tackles the exam and its topics in more than one way.
  • The book comes with downloadable audio files that improve your understanding of music theory.

Why choose this book:

  • There is no reason other than the fact that it is the best AP Music Theory review book you can find on the market.


The Runners-Up Best AP Music Theory Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

Julie Johnson’s Guide to AP Music Theory by Julie Johnson

Not one of the most popular books on the market, Julie Johnson’s material for the AP Music Theory exam is still something you should consider if you want to learn more about the topics and get a high score in the exam. That is because it also has information and details worth knowing if you want to gain the edge.

The book completely follows the College Board’s outline while also adding a touch of personality. The content review portion is written in a clear and easy-to-understand format that any student can appreciate. There are also sections that focus on things such as ear training, musical excerpts application, as well as practice questions. And, like any good AP Music Theory book, it comes with a disk that contains audio tools.

This book comes with a price tag that is in the middle-tier of AP Music Theory study guides. It might be more expensive than some of the books on this list but it is worth the price, as most Amazon users would say. With a considerably high rating online, this book is well-loved because of its straightforward practice drills and its focus on classical music theory.

What makes it unique:

  • The book has a section on the application of the concepts of musical excerpts as well as another that focuses on training your ear.

Why choose this book:

  • It is quite helpful and can develop your knowledge and appreciation for classical music theory.


The Best Value for Your Money

AP Music Theory Exam Secrets Study Guide by AP Exam Secrets Test Prep Team

Like Julie Johnson’s book, this material was not published by one of the most popular names in the industry. Nevertheless, that does not take away the fact that it actually has its way of helping you pass the AP Music Theory without taking up too much of your valuable time. In a sense, it helps you become more time-efficient during the review period and while you are taking the exam.

With its comprehensive content review portion, this book helps you ace the exam because every topic was well-researched by a dedicated team of exam experts. It also has a section that shows you what the usual weakness of a student is when taking the AP Music Theory test, and it helps you know how to overcome such a weakness to gain an edge over the other students taking the exam.

The book is only 144 pages long, which means that it is true to its word in helping you learn everything you need to know for the exam. The problem is that it falls into the middle to higher end of prices and is more expensive than all of the other books on this list.

That said, if it is so expensive, why is it on the “best value for your money” list? It is because it certainly is worth every penny you pay for it especially considering that it will not waste a lot of your valuable time. Time is a commodity you can get back, and this book helps you save as much of it as possible by offering you a quick review experience that does not compromise quality.

What makes it unique:

  • The book’s secret is that it helps you learn all of the topics needed for the exam in such a short amount of time.

Why choose this book:

  • If you can afford it and if you do not have a lot of time left before the exam, you may want to put this book at the top of your list.
  • It saves up a lot of your time, which you can use to do other productive things.


Summary of the Best AP Music Theory Review Books

To sum up, here are the best AP Music Theory review books we looked at today:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Barron's AP Music Theory $34.99 696
Julie Johnson's Guide to AP Music Theory $39.95 394
AP Music Theory Exam Secrets Study Guide $62.99 144

The free-response portion of this exam is composed of nine questions. As previous exams would show, that is where most students struggled the most and the most challenging part is usually the melodic and harmonic dictation exercises. In that case, there is no reason for you not to equip yourself with a top-quality review book such as those we have listed for you.

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