It’s the first day of class. You’ve heard rumors about this teacher (let’s call him Mr. X) and his methods. The bell rings to start the period and as you look around you can see your peers’ faces filled with fear, faces that mirror your own.
Hopefully, the following period proves the naysayers wrong. This AP class will be taught by a certified and intelligent teacher who is really trying to help everyone in the classroom pass. But that’s not always the way it is. Sometimes Mr. X is just like the rumors said: apathetic and rude, and definitely interested in teaching you the AP you signed up for.
For the first few months of the class this kind of lazy teaching may only irk you, but as the countdown to those huge tests approaches, you grow increasingly irritated and anxious. How can you even hope to be prepared to sit down in March and pass?
Well, if that’s you, or if you are one of those students who decided to put in the effort of teaching yourself some AP course, here is a concise compilation of all the resources you need to ace the test.
These are my personal favorite print resource for any and all AP classes. Thanks to the concise summaries of lengthy lessons, all put together in an easy to read and even entertaining fashion, this is certainly valuable at the end of the year, but also as a crutch while slogging through hard to understand classes. I know plenty of people that relied on these books like textbooks in AP classes where the teachers just weren’t up to snuff, as well as those who used them as additional help in classes that despite excellent teachers were simply difficult.
I have personally always prefered Princeton Review or Barron review books; however, the Kaplan review books are still a valuable resource. In addition, some find that the Kaplan books are written in a more easy to understand style. I would recommend that before purchasing any review book, you head to your local Barnes and Noble and skim through each of these brands to see what type of diction you prefer. If you have the cash, or you find some good deals, I would heavily recommend buying multiple brands of review books for an AP course so you can be sure that you have the best helper.
Barron’s review books
Similarly to Princeton Review and Kaplan, these books are well made and will be a valuable aid. I prefer Barons to Kaplan, mostly because I have more experience with Barron’s as they have been the required review book in 2 or 3 of my AP courses. Each time they have been proven to be well done. However, again I recommend shopping around for the perfect brand for you.
5 Steps to a 5
I first came into contact with this book as I worked through it during an AP English class. Unlike the other books mentioned above, this one is half as thick, because it is more practice tests than review. While the additional practice tests were helpful in preparing me for the realities of the test, I felt that to be truly prepared, I had to purchase a different book as well. I would consider this book a supplement to one of the big three: Princeton Review, Kaplan, Barron.
This is the only AP specific site I included, but with good reason. Biology Junction’s chapter by chapter outlines were what got me through AP Biology, and I recommend them at every junction possible. They are well written, in-depth, and illuminating, even to particularly non-scientifically minded people like me.
This unique online and mobile quiz site is helpful in all arenas of educational thought, but particularly in difficult AP classes. While not as helpful in overall review, the quizzes are particularly helpful in mastering specific topics and ideas.
I believe one of the most underrated and valuable resources out there for AP review, and help throughout the year, is the College Board’s AP section. There are brief summaries of key topics, practice questions, and perhaps the most important piece of the review, example essays and long response answers from previous years.
Hopefully you can find at least one new aid giver among this list, and if you’ve already established your favorite, comment below what it is!