The Best AP Psychology Review Books of 2019

By January 11, 2019 October 16th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Knowing what are the best AP Psychology review books is vital for snagging a 4 or 5 on the exam. In this article, we review our top picks, our runner-ups as well as the best AP Psychology review books for value.

In 2018, 65.7% if those who took this exam scored 3 or higher. But when it comes to reviewing for the Advanced Placement Psychology, or AP Psychology, exam there are plenty of review books to choose from on the market. There are those that claim to be the best while there are those that are actually more effective than their other competitors. It normally takes experience to know which review book stands out.

However, you don’t have the time or the money to try every review book out on the market especially considering that you need your time to study for the exam. There are plenty of AP Psychology review books that each have their own strengths and weaknesses. In that regard and so that you do not have to try each book yourself, we have put up a list of what we think are the best and what AP Psychology review books deserve your consideration.

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

Our Favorites (the best AP Psychology review books)

5 Steps to a 5 AP Psychology by Laura Lincoln Maitland and Rochelle Solomon-Battersby

One of the more popular line of AP exam review books, 5 Steps is an effective review book and study aid for the AP Psychology exam. Its five-step guide helps you get from point A to point B in a step-by-step process that can indeed improve test scores and can even possibly give you a score of 5 in your upcoming exam.

This book follows the same five-step process that has made this McGraw-Hill Education line so popular among students. The first step is the study plan, which is then followed by a diagnostic test. The third step is where you formulate your own strategy for your upcoming AP Psychology exam. You will then have to review the important concepts and details in the fourth step before finishing the process with the practice tests.

However, what makes book stand out among its competitors or even the other 5 Step books is that it gets the job done better. It starts out by introducing what you will be expecting in the AP Psychology exam in a clear and concise manner. You will be briefly shown a comprehensive overview of the outline and the exam format and content and what you will be needing on that day.

There is also a guide that will help you make your own study plan and how you should prepare for the exam depending not only on how much time you have left but also on your own personality as well as your study habits. In a sense, it is a study plan that adjusts to you as a person and not the other way around.

Each chapter is also comprehensive. They cover everything that is in the College Board’s outline while also making sure they summarize every key concept you need to know in a rapid manner. The good part about the chapter-per-chapter review part of this book is that it is well-written and very easy to understand.

For its price, 5 Steps to a 5 is a great review material for you to use especially with how it is updated. That is why it is a favorite among satisfied customers, who have all loved it for its simple format and for the practice test that can gauge how well you will perform in the actual AP Psychology exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It helps you get a 5 in your upcoming exam with its step-by-step process. Not a lot of review books follow such a well-organized procedure.
  • The book has three practice tests. There are also three more tests available online.

Why choose this book:

  • This book is great for those who want a more organized way of studying and reviewing for the upcoming exam.
  • It adjusts well to your own study habit and personality.


Cracking the AP Psychology Exam by The Princeton Review

Truly one of the more effective lines of review books, Cracking the AP Psychology Exam is still a great choice for anyone looking to get a high score in the AP Psychology exam. The Princeton Review made sure that this review book is well-made and is one of the highest quality material out there on the market.

When it comes to helping you know the best strategies to take during the actual exam, there are not a lot of review books that can stand toe-to-toe with this one. It contains updated information and a comprehensive review of the problems and questions will be coming out in the upcoming exam. In that regard, it gives out tips on how to tackle those problems and how to pace yourself both during the review process and during the exam. Each tactic is tried and tested and will help you know how to work smart and hard.

In line with that, the book also contains a step-by-step process that will guide you in how to organize your studying habits for the exam. It also helps your review by giving you some resources that could bolster your knowledge and help your retention. The content is also comprehensive and easy to understand.

As one of the best-selling books on Amazon, this review material has helped a lot of satisfied customers in scoring a 5 in the AP Psychology exam. Some say that it has improved their vocabulary in psychology and have also aided them the most during the entire review process. For its price, Cracking the AP Psychology Exam gives you the bang for your buck especially with how well-balanced the book is.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a well-written review material that not only helps you strategize but will also aid you in knowing the important concepts that will most likely come out in the exam.
  • The Princeton Review’s selling point is the challenging practice tests that tend to be more difficult than the actual AP Psychology exam.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want a holistic approach in your review, this book helps you in creating your own study plan, in strategizing for the exam, in knowing the key concepts, and in testing how well you have studied for the exam.
  • It is not the most affordable of the best AP Psychology review books but it does make up for the price because of how valuable it can be in your review.


Barron’s AP Psychology by Allyson J. Weseley and Robert McEntarffer

One of the most thorough review materials on the market, Barron’s is a study aid that should always be a weapon of choice for anyone looking to get the highest score possible in the AP Psychology exam. When it comes to content, it is as comprehensive as any other material and will surely bolster your knowledge of the key concepts that will come out in the exam.

A book that prides itself in its content, Barron’s follows the College Board’s outline and curriculum to the letter. Each chapter contains everything you need to know based on the questions that will come out in the exam. These chapters also start out with a list of the key terms and important people you should know by heart. It even has a list of the names of the psychologists you should be focusing on so that you do not have to remember every psychologist’s name in history.

But, even though this book is best known for its comprehensive content, it also does well in giving out tips and strategies you might want to use during the exam. Its chapters also end with multiple-choice questions that have their own answers and explanations. And, to finally gauge how well you will perform in the exam, the book comes with two full-length practice tests that mirror the format and the difficulty of the actual AP Psychology exam.

Ranging on the lower end for price, Barrons’ AP Psychology is a fairly affordable book that delivers in what it does well. That is why it gets a lot of praise and positive reviews from satisfied customers on Amazon. Nevertheless, it can get boring at times but is still somewhat bearable especially if you want to get that elusive score of 5 in your exam.

What makes it unique:

  • The book specializes at giving you updated content that follows the College Board outline and curriculum.
  • The key concepts and important psychologist section are very helpful for those looking for a quick review.

Why choose this book:

  • If you have a lot of time in your hands and if you want to have a really comprehensive review of the concepts and details you will need for the exam, then you should go for this book.



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

Myers’ Psychology for AP by David G. Myers

Myers’ is one of the best books not only for AP Psychology but also for other psychology courses as well. This is because it is a book that was written not as an aid for review but as a resource to be used for AP Psychology classes. In that sense, it can also be used as a review material if you want the most comprehensive and in-depth review.

The book is divided into sections that correspond to whatever topics are in the outline of the College Board. Because of that, it is an easy read that can surely help your retention. The sections also end with multiple-choice questions that are specifically tailored to fit the style of questioning in the AP Psychology exam.

This material also contains diagrams, charts, and tables that can make retention easier and the review process more bearable. Each page also highlights the important terms and key concepts and their definitions for you to take note of for your upcoming exam. In any case, it acts like a Psychology textbook because of how in-depth the details are but it can also be used for review purposes because of how it summarizes the important parts.

Normally, this book should rank higher up as a one of our favorites. However, the reason why it is a mere runner-up is that it is too long and heavy. It will take a while for you to finish the entire book if you read every section of it in detail. It can also be a little bit difficult to understand especially if you are not as prepared as you should be. And, for a price that can reach in the hundreds, it is one of the most expensive books on the market. Nevertheless, it is still a great material and should still be considered.

What makes it unique:

  • It is arguably the most comprehensive and in-depth read among all of the AP Psychology books on the market because of how it explores in great detail everything you need to know for the exam.
  • Each section highlights all the important concepts that will come out in the exam.

Why choose this book:

  • Because of how long and heavy a read it is, you should choose this book if you have a lot of time in your hands and if you are dedicated to absorbing the vast amount of detail and information it contains.
  • If you want to have a more in-depth knowledge for the upcoming exam, look no further than this book.


Sterling Test Prep AP Psychology by Sterling Test Prep

Sterling Test Prep’s review book for AP Psychology is also an effective tool to use for the upcoming exam especially if you fancy yourself in materials that provide a more thorough experience. This book specializes in a type of review that focuses more on content and details rather on a more holistic approach.

This book’s contents are divided into sections that are tailored to fit the College Board’s outline for the AP Psychology exam. In that sense, all of those sections explore the knowledge areas thoroughly and comprehensively while also making sure that everything that is written on the book is relevant to outline.

Because of how in-depth the detail is in this book, it can rival even some of the best psychology textbooks. There are those that even use it as an accompanying resource for their high school psychology classes. And when combined with other great and more complete resources, it can stand out to help you get the highest score possible in the upcoming AP Psychology exam.

Nevertheless, it still lacks in several areas. Since it focuses more on content, it does not explore in great detail the strategies you may want to take when taking the actual exam. There are also little to no quizzes or practice tests that can challenge you for the exam. In that regard, it should be used in conjunction with other materials.

What makes it unique:

  • For one of our top AP Psychology review book, it is pretty detailed and comprehensive compared to its competitors.
  • It follows the College Board’s outline to the letter.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want to focus more on the contents and on knowing the concepts in a more in-depth manner, then you may want to consider using this book.


The Best Value for Your Money (Good and Affordable)

AP Psychology Crash Course by Larry Krieger

Crash Course has always specialized in delivering one thing—a quick and affordable review for the AP exam. In that case, this review book for the AP Psychology exam is a great choice for those looking for a cheap alternative to all of the other materials on the market while making sure you get the most out of what you paid for.

Because of its targeted and focused approach, Crash Course does not dwell in a lot of details that tend to take up a lot of time. Instead, the book goes straight to the point to deliver a review experience that’s quick and precise. You will only have to learn what you need to know for the upcoming exam while making sure you do it in a quick manner. If you are short on time, then this book is your weapon of choice.

This book also briefly explores the strategies you may want to use for your exam. It gives out useful tips for answering multiple-choice questions as well as essay questions. All of those tips and strategies have been tried and tested in the past and have all been effective. This is why this book is a favorite for a lot of satisfied customers on Amazon. Specifically, reviewers rave about how it summarizes the important key concepts that will come out in the exam. For whatever value it brings, it is a good book for its typical price.

What makes it unique:

  • It goes straight to the point without having to waste words on things that won’t matter in the exam.
  • The book explores in brief everything you need to know for AP Psychology.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are short on time and a little tight on budget, this book will give you the bang for your buck because of how it delivers a quick review for an affordable price.



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Summary of the Best AP Psychology Review Books

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

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
5 Steps to a 5: AP Psychology 2018 Edition $18.00 352
Cracking the AP Psychology Exam, 2019 Edition $18.99 384
Barron's AP Psychology with Online Tests $22.99 384
Myers' Psychology for AP® $178.99 1104
Sterling Test Prep AP Psychology $25.95 474
AP® Psychology Crash Course, 2nd Ed. $14.95 272

Reviewing for the AP Psychology exam is like a battle you have to fight in a sense that you have to know which weapons you should choose with whatever resources you have. In this case, you must be smart about knowing which review book you should use especially if you do not have the luxury of time or a large budget. And because the multiple-choice section of the exam is weighted most heavily, you might even want to consider using the review books that focus on helping you answer such questions.

Hope you found this guide on the best AP Psychology 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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