The Best AP World History Review Books of 2019

By December 20, 2018 June 11th, 2019 AP Book Reviews
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Finding the best AP World History review books can be hard. We’re here to help. In this guide, we break down our top picks for AP World History review books in 2019.

Because of how vast world history is not only as an academic course but as a study as a whole, it can be difficult to review for it if you are planning to take the Advanced Placement World History or AP World History exam. The exam itself is not the easiest one you can take because, after all, only 56.2% of those who took the most recent exam got a score of 3 or higher.

In that sense, you will need a definite guide to know what you have to study for instead of just breezing through all of your world history textbooks. Review books are there not only to help you study for your AP World History exam but to also substantiate whatever may not have been taught to you back in your high school world history courses.

But, because of how many review books are out there on the market, it may even be more difficult to pick out the right ones than the actual exam itself. To help you choose the best material you should use for your review, here are some of the best AP World History review books we believe will give you the highest score possible in the upcoming AP World History exam.

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 World History here.

Our Favorites (the best AP World History review books)

Cracking the AP World History Exam Premium Edition by The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is widely regarded as one of the better-known publishers of AP exam review materials. Their version for world history is no exception when it comes to excellence as a study tool. Just like its brothers, Cracking the AP World History Exam is one of the best-selling books on the market because of how useful it is for anyone looking to pass or score high in the AP World History Exam.

Cracking the AP World History Exam prides itself for being a review book that delivers everything you need to know to get that score of 5 in the exam. It is a book that delivers important information and detail from a larger perspective rather than from a more focused and smaller point of view. Nevertheless, it still focuses more on the things that you actually have to study for despite giving you a larger and thematic perspective.

This review material is fairly easy to understand and comprehend because it approaches you with a conversational style of writing that makes you feel like the book is actually speaking to you. In that sense, you will have a better grasp of the important concepts and details because it is like the book is telling you a story.

Despite giving you a larger thematic perspective, this book also knows how to deliver summaries really well. Each important event or time in world history has been summarized in a way that is easy to understand and retain. This helps you if you do not have the luxury of time.

Another aspect that makes this book great is that it guides you in how to answer multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions while helping you assess your own progress in your review. This version also allows you to access study plans online as well as the list of things and terms you may want to take note of for the exam.

The best thing about this review material are the four full-length practice tests that are all considered more difficult than the actual AP World History exam. These exams allow you to adjust to the pressure of an exam and to gauge yourself by challenging you with more difficult questions. If you can do well in the practice test, there is no reason for you not to get a high score in the real exam. This is why it is one of the best-selling and most reviewed review books on Amazon. And, for its price, it delivers for its value.

What makes it unique:

  • It is comprehensive yet simple and easy to understand and digest.
  • This material helps you gauge your performance and progress with tips, study plans, and practice exams.

Why choose this book:

  • This is one of the best AP World History review books you can find on the market because of how well-rounded and complete it is.
  • The practice tests will surely challenge you but will make you more than prepared for the actual AP World History exam.
  • It is affordable for the amount of content it contains.

Barron’s AP World History by John McCannon

If you want a comprehensive world history review that covers everything you need to know from start to finish, then Barron’s is your weapon of choice. This review material is a thorough book that lets you study the entire coverage from the foundation of civilization all the way to modern-day history. There probably isn’t a more complete review book in terms of coverage.

Because of how comprehensive this material is, it is perfect if you have a lot of time on your hands. It is more like a textbook but is summarized and is easier to read and understand. And even though it may be a long read, Barron’s is not a very difficult book to digest and is actually fit for both your review and your actual world history courses.

Since this is still a review book and not a textbook, Barron’s contains tips and strategies for answering all kinds of questions such as multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay. It also helps you make your own study plan by providing charts and keywords/phrases/concepts that will make reviewing easier and a lot more bearable.

One of the key features of this book is that it has practice tests that are not necessarily difficult but challenging enough to make you feel like you are taking the actual AP World History exam. These tests help you gauge your performance as well as your understanding of the key concepts that will surely come out in the actual exam.

Because of how effective the book is, satisfied customers on Amazon have all claimed that it has helped them prepare for the AP World History exam. Some even say that they used the book for their high school world history courses because of how comprehensive yet simple it is unlike other textbooks.

Nevertheless, it is a material should only be used if you are not in a rush with your review. If you only have a few weeks left before the exam, you may be better of using other review materials because of how it might take you a while to completely read and digest the contents of this book. But, despite how long the book is, its typical price is a good one to pay for the quality it provides.

What makes it unique:

  • It provides a comprehensive review that covers the entire coverage prescribed by the College Board.
  • The charts and key concepts will allow you to make your own study plan in an organized manner.

Why choose this book:

  • It has two full-length practice tests that mimic the actual AP World History exam. And, depending on the version, you may even have access to three more practice tests online.
  • The material connects the theme required by the College Board to that of the events of each important historical period.
  • This pick for best AP World History review book is great for those who have about two months left before the exam.

5 Steps to a 5: AP World History by Peggy J. Martin

5 Steps to a 5 has consistently been one of the best review materials not only for world history but for other AP exams as well. But, as a review material for world history, this book stands out because of how it not only helps you review for the AP World History exam but also because of how it prepares you in a more holistic way.

Following its usual five-step plan, this reviewer will help you set up your own study plan first before you do anything else. It then allows you to gauge how prepared you are by testing you out with a diagnostic exam. And before you get to the actual review, it will give you a comprehensive overview of the exam format while helping you formulate your own strategies and approach to answering it.

After strategizing, you will then be given a thorough and comprehensive review of the important terms and concepts you will have to equip yourself with for the AP World History exam. This part of the book is comparatively shorter than other reviewers and is fairly easy to comprehend, understand, and digest.

The final part of the review material are the two practice tests that are specially made not only to help you gauge how well you have already reviewed but to also give you the necessary confidence that you should have when you are already about to take the actual exam. The practice tests are not more difficult than the AP World History exam but are challenging enough to let you feel what it is like to take the real thing.

Priced affordably, it is a good review book that will certainly help you achieve a 5 in your AP World History exam. Otherwise, it is still a reliable companion for anyone looking to pass the exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It has four practice exams. The two are in the book while the rest are online.
  • This book comes with different study plans for you to choose from depending on how much time you have and how well-prepared you already are.
  • Each unit comes with quizzes that can help you digest what you have just read.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a simple and quick read that can be used by those that do not have a lot of time left before the exam.
  • The step-by-step process makes it easier for you to know how far you have already gone in your review and how well you have already prepared.

The Runners-up for Best AP World History Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

AP World History Prep Plus by Kaplan Test Prep

Considered one of the best at making review books for AP exams, Kaplan Test Prep has done well with its AP World History Prep book to the point that they actually guarantee that you will actually do well in your AP World History exam.

Kaplan’s guarantee comes from how well they devised this review material to realistically fit what you need to get a higher score in your exam. The review contents of the book are focused on the more essential details and concepts you need to learn in whatever study time you have. It is a rather quick and simple read compared to other materials.

The book comes with study plans that can be adjusted depending on your goals and how much time you have left before the exam. There are also strategies that will help you know what kind of approach you need to have when taking the AP World History exam. In that sense, it is a really helpful material in a holistic sense.

Nevertheless, it lacks when it comes to content considering that it is not as comprehensive in that department compared to its other competitors. And while it does have practice tests, they are not as difficult and as challenging as some of the other review materials on the market. With that said, it is still a good book that is fairly affordable.

What makes it unique:

  • The study plan it comes with is customizable.
  • Instead of giving quizzes after each chapter, the quizzes come before to help you know what you are lacking.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a quick read that is ideal if you are in a rush.
  • There are three tests that can help you gauge how well you will be able to perform in the upcoming AP World History exam.

World History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examinations by Perfection Learning

Designed for the AP World History exam, this book can be used as a textbook for the actual course, a review material for the exam, or as a supplementary resource for those taking college world history courses. It is considered one of the more helpful materials when it comes to the book’s content because of how it simplifies whatever world history textbooks say.

In a way, it is a lot better than what high school textbooks have because of how simplified and easier it is to understand. It is written in a way that makes it easier for students to comprehend the important concepts and events that have happened in world history. As far as written material is concerned, this book ranks up there with the best of them.

While satisfied Amazon customers have all raved about how useful and great this book is when it comes to helping them review for their AP World History exams, it is not as holistic in its approach as other review materials on the market because it does not come with customizable study plans or great strategies and tips on how to take the real exam. The practice tests also do not come with answers. You have to look for them yourself.

Despite being a more expensive book, it is still a good material to have. It may have some weaknesses and shortcomings but, when it comes to content, it is a really helpful book that can become one of the best AP World History review books if it improves on its weaknesses.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a written a lot better than other review books and textbooks.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want a book that is easy to understand and digest in terms of its material, then this is the right choice for you.

The Best Value for Your Money for Best AP World History Review Books (good and affordable)

No Bull Review by Jeremy Klaff and Harry Klaff

As the title of the book suggests, this review material does not waste time on any bull when it comes to helping your review for your upcoming AP World History exam. Believing that you should not be using a full-length review material, the authors wrote this book to help you make the most out of your time and money with by delivering a short study aid.

Not as long and as comprehensive as its competitors, No Bull Review delivers a quick review that dwells only on the most important concepts, events, terms, and themes of world history by using short and simple explanations. Each chapter then ends with multiple-choice questions that can help you gauge how much you have learned.

While it does not have a full-length practice test, the book still contains practice multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions that can help you test yourself. There are also sample questions and answers that can give you ideas and strategies on how to tackle and answer the actual AP World History exam.

Meant to be used as a quick study guide for those that do not have the luxury of time, this review book is priced reasonably on the lower end. It is an affordable book that can certainly be used as a study aid or as a supplementary material to textbooks or other review books.

What makes it unique:

  • It is simple and quick in its approach when explaining the most important things you need to know for your exam.
  • The sample questions and answers will help you know how to prepare yourself for the upcoming exam in a quick manner.

Why choose this book:

  • It is simple and easy to understand for a price that anyone can afford.

AP World History Crash Course by Jay P. Harmon and Advanced Placement

Known for delivering literal crash courses, Crash Course helps you review in a quick and affordable way that does not take up a lot of time and money. It is considered as a last-minute choice especially for those that do not have a lot of time left on the clock or for those looking for a book that tells them everything they need to know in the shortest amount of time possible.

Delivering a targeted review that lets you know only the things that you need to be able to remember for the upcoming exam, this book matches the course outline description of the AP World History exam while also delivering test questions that are similar to what you should be expecting. It is an easy-to-read book that gives you a crash course in the important events of world history while also teaching you strategies that can boost your confidence.

A highly recommended book among satisfied customers in Amazon, this is a material everyone should have whether it is used as a primary review book or as a supplementary reference. And, for its price, AP World History Crash Course gives you the bang for your buck especially if you do not have time and money to waste on more expensive review books.

What makes it unique:

  • It is simple to read and understand.
  • Despite being a short review material, it comes with strategies and practice tests that can make you gauge how well-prepared you already are.

Why choose this book:

  • It is for those that don’t have time to waste or are on a last-minute cramming spree for the upcoming exam.

Summary of the Best AP World History Review Books

As we wrap everything up, here is a table of the best AP World History review books we went over today.

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Cracking the AP World History Exam 2019 $25.99 560
Barron's AP World History $23.99 512
5 Steps to a 5: AP World History 2018 $18.00 352
AP World History Prep Plus $21.99 420
World History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination $26.50 732
No Bull Review $10.99 216
AP® World History Crash Course $14.95 240

So what’s the best AP World History review book for you? It actually depends on what you need. If you are looking for comprehensive reviews, then you can take your pick out of our favorite review books. However, if you are looking for a more targeted and focused review that won’t take up a lot of time, go for the shorter and more affordable ones. You may even want to buy two or more books if your time and your money permit.

Hope you found this guide on the best AP World History 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.

Also, if you’re looking for AP World History tips, read our comprehensive list here.


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