The Best AP US Government and Politics Review Books of 2019

By December 13, 2018 April 7th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Stressed about which AP US Government review book to get? In this article, we detail our top picks, runner-ups as well as best bang for your buck for best AP US Government review books of 2019.

Since the Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics (AP US Government and Politics) exam can be as difficult as the exams of introductory US Government and Politics exams in college, studying for it may be quite tricky especially if you do not have the proper background in high school and the tools to help you succeed. In the most recent exam, 46.8% of the students who took this test could not score 3 or higher. This goes to show how tricky the AP US Government and Politics exam can be.

Luckily, there are review books that can help you get the job done and score a grade of 5 or at least a passing grade in the AP US Government and Politics exam. But, because there are plenty of AP US Gov. review books and materials claiming to be the best, it can be easy to choose the wrong ones and ultimately fail in the exam. To help you know which ones are the best for you, we have put together a list that can guide your decision.

Check out our YouTube video in the summary section at the end to remember everything you read! If you want to just get back to studying, get our top pick for AP US Government review here.

Our Favorites (the Best AP US Government Review Books)

Cracking the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam by The Princeton Review

When it comes to delivering a comprehensive and holistic review for any kind of AP exam, not a lot of publishers can do it as well as The Princeton Review. Cracking the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam continues the great legacy of The Princeton Review’s fantastic AP exam review books by giving you everything you need to know to ace that test.

In that regard, the information and details that are in this review book are updated and revised to fit the changes and the updates in the College Board’s outline. You also get a comprehensive content review of every topic that will come out in the AP US Government and Politics exam. The book will then assist your retention with a glossary that contains all the important information, cases, and dates that may come out in the exam.

In addition to its comprehensive content, The Princeton Review also gives you study guides that can help you improve your studying habit and reach your study goals. This book also gives out useful information on the latest updates from the College Board and everything else you need to know about the test format and the topics it covers.

To help test out your comprehension and how well you studied each chapter, there are end-of-the-chapter drills for that matter. These drills and quizzes have their own answers and explanations to help you understand where you were wrong and how to better improve yourself in the future. In addition to that, the book also gives tips on how to best strategize for different types of questions especially a new type such as data analysis. These strategies have been used to perfection in the past and have been tried and tested by some of The Princeton Review’s satisfied customers on Amazon.

The selling point of this review book has always been its practice tests. The full-length tests are much more challenging than the actual AP US Government and Politics exam to help you adjust to the pressure of answering the real thing. These practice tests have answers and explanations to assist you in knowing how to improve your answers in the future.

For its price, it is a great book that can give you everything you need to know and learn for the upcoming AP US Government and Politics exam. There isn’t a lot of negatives about it and it has received a lot of great reviews online on Amazon. This is why it is consistently one of the best-selling review books on the market.

What makes it unique:

  • It covers a comprehensive and holistic review of the AP US Government and Politics exam outline.
  • The practice tests are considered more difficult than the actual exam.
  • It gives tips and strategies that are unique and better than most of its competitors.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want a well-rounded approach to your review, this one takes the cake.
  • It can be a good supplementary study aid to any other main textbook on US government and politics.

AMSCO Advanced Placement: United States and Government by David Wolfford

AMSCO designed this book to work both as a textbook for the AP US Government and Politics course and for the exam. In that sense, it is a comprehensive book that can be used for a semester, for a whole year, or even for just a few months of reviewing for the exam.

To give you an overview of how exactly the AP US Government and Politics exam will be like, this review book’s contents are divided into five chapters or units that mirror the College Board’s curriculum and outline. Then, to bolster how well you understood each chapter, there is an essential question that improves your grasp of what you have just read and to foster more learning and reflection.

Also, each unit or chapter ends with a summary that includes all of the key concepts and references that can improve your retention. You will also be assessed with multiple-choice questions and other types of questions at the end of the chapters.

This book also aims to make you think like a real political scientist. To help you in that regard, it includes landmark Supreme Court decisions that have their own analysis and explanations. You will be able to develop your own analytical skills because of these in-depth explanations and, as such, you will also be able to have the same mindset of a political scientist in the middle of the actual exam itself.

Because you will be needing strong writing skills for the AP US Government and Politics exam, this book has a writing feature that will develop and improve the way you write and argue in your answers. You will also be able to test those skills out in the practice exam that comes with this review material.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a pretty balanced and comprehensive review material that focuses on delivering content, tips, and strategies.
  • The analysis of landmark Supreme Court cases is a feature that not a lot of other books have.
  • This book helps develop and improve your argumentative writing skills.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a book that can be used for AP US Government and Politics courses and as a review material. In that sense, it is pretty flexible.
  • If you want to improve your writing and analytical skills, this is certainly the book of choice for you.

Barron’s AP U.S. Government and Politics by Curt Lader

Barron’s continues their line of excellent review books by delivering a quality material that can be used by students both as a supplementary or as a primary source for their AP US Government and Politics exam. The great part about this book is that it is consistently updated to fit the College Board’s new curriculum and outline.

A highly recommended book by experts and satisfied Amazon customers alike, this review material offers an in-depth and comprehensive review that is tailored fit for the updated outline. The subject review is so extensive and wide that it covers Supreme Court decisions on top of its in-depth content on the branches of the government and on the two main political parties in the US.

Like any great review material, this book does not only come with a comprehensive subject review but also with tips and strategies that can help give you the edge in the upcoming AP US Government and Politics. And, to make sure you are well-equipped for the exam, it comes with a lot of practice tests and questions that each all have answers that are explained well enough for you to understand and digest.

With a rating of about 4.5 stars on Amazon, customers can’t help but rave about how effective this study aid is at helping them get the results they want in the AP US Government and Politics exam. It simply knows how to deliver a detailed content review that is almost unmatched by its competitors. The great part about it is that Barron’s make topics and concepts easy to understand while also highlighting everything you need to know to pass or even get the highest score possible in your exam. Its positive attributes more than make up for its price tag.

What makes it unique:

  • It offers an in-depth and detailed review of the important concepts and topics that will come out in the exam.
  • The answer key it provides explain the answers in a clear and concise manner.

Why choose this book:

  • It is one of the best books you can buy if you want a comprehensive and substantial read.
  • Like any other great Barron’s review material, it is a well-rounded book that offers more than just a detailed subject review.

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

AP US Government and Politics 2019: Review Book and Practice Test Questions for the AP US Government and Politics Exam (Guide to 5) by Accepted Inc.

This is not a typical review book that merely dictates the things you need to know for the exam. Instead, Accepted Inc.’s guide for the AP US Government and Politics exam includes a comprehensive subject review that delivers a precise and quick read for you so that you won’t have to waste a lot of time reading through long summaries.

A great book in its own right, this material follows the College Board’s outline to the letter and covers all the topics that will come out in the exam. What sets it apart from its competitors is that it is easy to understand because of how it relates the concepts to real-life examples and by using graphics that are easier to digest. In that sense, it is a light read that does not weigh down on you after you spend a few hours reading it.

Like any other good AP US Government and Politics review book, this material gives tips and strategies that you can use to get a better score in the exam. There are also practice questions you can try to test yourself with. All those practice questions have their own answer keys and explanations that will help improve the way you approach the exam. The best part is that there are four full-length practice exams that mimic the actual AP US Government and Politics exam.

As good as this book is, it is a mere runner-up on our list because of how the multiple-choice questions it contains do not follow the same style of questioning as the actual test itself. Even reviews on Amazon say that the sample questions are not reflective of the updated style of questioning the College Board uses. Some say those questions are even too easy. Nevertheless, it is still an easy-to-read and effective study aid that can help give you the edge in your exam.

What makes it unique:

  • The content review part of this book is quite easy to understand because of how it connects the concepts to real-life examples.
  • Because of how it takes a different approach in its style of questioning, it is quite unique.

Why choose this book:

  • You can opt to choose this book if you don’t mind the style of questioning it uses. If your focus is on the content, which is what really matters in the end, then this is a solid choice for you.

5 Steps to a 5: AP U.S. Government & Politics 2019 Elite Student Edition by Pamela Lamb

McGraw-Hill Education prides itself in delivering quality AP exam review materials. Following the trend of its predecessors and brothers, the 5 Steps version for the AP US Government and Politics exam is a great book in its own right and is even made better by the Elite Student Edition that’s available for purchase on Amazon.

Following the usual five-step format that made this line of review books popular, 5 Steps to a 5 has an updated content that matches the College Board’s redesigned outline and exam format. Every topic is addressed thoroughly and in a way that reflects what will come out in the AP US Government and Politics exam.

This review book also has a lot of practice exercises and questions that each have their own answers and in-depth explanation to help you know where you went wrong and how you should improve. These questions reflect the type of questioning that will come out in the actual exam. There are also sample responses to the free-response type questions to help you know what kind of strategy to take when tackling such problems.

As good as this book is, it seems like it does not excel in one particular area. The Elite Student Edition, which is what you should go for if you want the best product, is also quite expensive. But, despite its weaknesses, it has the potential to become a useful study aid as long as you pair it with other supplementary materials.

What makes it unique:

  • The Elite Student Edition has extra content that includes 180 additional questions.
  • It is a step-by-step procedure that is easy to follow and comprehend for a lot of students.

Why choose this book:

  • You should purchase and use this book if you want a more systematic and step-by-step approach to your review.
  • It has hundreds of practice questions and three full-length practice exams to test your knowledge and to improve the way you answer.

The Best Value for Your Money (Good and Affordable)

No Bull Review – For Use with the AP US Government and Politics Exam by Jeremy Klaff and Harr Klaff

The title of the book really reflects the nature of what this review material is. It is known to not waste your time on anything unnecessary during the entire review process and will only give you what you need to get the highest score possible. In that sense, it is a concise review book that goes straight to the point to deliver a review experience that is easy for both your time and your money.

The book contains a quick content review of important terms, concepts, Supreme Court decisions, and themes together with their respective explanations. There are also hundreds of multiple-choice questions and a lot of free-response questions you can use to practice for your exam. There aren’t a lot of practice questions but it can’t be something you can expect for a book that costs less than others listed here.

What makes it unique:

  • Contains only about 146 pages and goes straight to the point in helping you review for your exam.
  • It is one of the easiest reads on the market because of how quick it is at helping you recall only the things you will be needing for the exam.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are short on time and on money, there is no reason for you to look for anything other than this book.
  • It can be a good supplementary review book you can use as your final resource a few days before the exam.

AP Comparative Government and Politics Study Guide: Review Book & Practice Test Questions for the Advanced Placement Comparative Government & Politics Exam by Test Prep Books

Though it claims to be a comprehensive guide, this 88-page book is one of the most affordable and quickest reads on the market. It delivers a kind of review that only covers topics and concepts that will surely come out in the exam. In that sense, it contains a quick overview that briefly yet concisely tackles and explains the things you need to know.

Not focusing on content alone, it also contains tips and strategies that can help improve the way you answer your exam. There are also a few practice questions that can train your mind to adjust to the actual questions you will be encountering in the exam. And, of course, those questions have answers and explanations.

For its price, there is a lot to love about this book and its value. It is a really affordable, light, and quick read that won’t take up a lot of your time. Most customers on Amazon say that this helped them as a last-minute review material they use a day or a few hours before their exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It is so brief and simple. It does not dwell on things that won’t matter when you are already a few hours away from your exam.

Why choose this book:

  • Like other cheap and short review materials, it is great as a last-minute resource you can use after you have already exhausted all of the other books you use.

Summary of the Best AP US Government Review Books

Putting everything together, here are the best AP US Government review books what we went over today.

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Cracking the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam $25.99 400
AMSCO Advanced Placement: United States Government $26.50 752
Barron's AP U.S. Government and Politics $22.99 320
AP US Government and Politics 2019 $19.99 170
5 Steps to a 5: AP U.S. Government & Politics 2019 $28.00 528
No Bull Review $10.99 146
AP Comparative Government and Politics Study Guide N/A 89

Like any other AP Exam, the AP US Government and Politics exam is not something you can just take by relying on your accumulated knowledge. Because of that, review materials really are indispensable tools you should equip yourself with. Take a pick at any of the books we have listed for you and choose what you think best fits your study habit and the amount of time you have left before the exam. But, if you do not mind spending extra or if you have more time in your hands, do not hesitate to use multiple review books.

Hope you found this guide on the best AP US Government 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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