AP® U.S. History All Access Book + Online + Mobile (Advanced …
Saturday, December 29, 2018

AP® U.S. History All Access Book + Online + Mobile (Advanced …

PrepScholar

Call Direct:
1 (866) 811-5546

Sign In
Start Free Trial

Choose Your Test


SAT Prep
ACT Prep

SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The Best AP US History Books: Full Expert Reviews

Posted by Halle Edwards | Feb 1, 2017 8:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

 

main_usflag-1.jpg

Need some help studying for AP US History? Look no further. In this post, we cover the best AP US History books – from textbooks to prep books, and even study tools like flashcards and websites. Read on to get the best tools for studying for the exam!

 

Best AP US History Textbook: The American Pageant 

body_americanpageant.jpg

As we covered in our textbooks review , The American Pageant is far and away the most popular APUSH textbook. Not only does it cover all the material for the US History exam, it also has lots of embedded tools as well, including timelines at the end of chapters to help you learn dates and inclusion of primary sources to help prepare you for the Document-Based Question (DBQ).

Plus, The American Pageant reads like a novel, rather than a textbook, so many students find it more engaging than your usual class reading. (That said, if you want a more straightforward, plain-spoken textbook, check out our textbook review post and also keep reading for our thoughts on prep books.)

To take a brief example, this is what The American Pageant section introducing Christopher Columbus reads like:

“Onto this stage stepped Christopher Columbus. This skilled Italian seafarer persuaded the Spanish monarchs to outfit him with three tiny but seaworthy ships, manned by a motley crew. Daringly, he unfurled the sails of his cockleshell craft and headed westward. His superstitious sailors, fearful of venturing in the oceanic unknown, grew increasingly mutinous. After six weeks at sea, failure loomed when, on October 12, 1492, the crew sighted an island in the Bahamas. A new world thus swam within the vision of Europeans.”

It definitely sounds like a novel! 

A more straightforward textbook introduction of Columbus (from Making America) goes like this:

“Eager to capitalize on the new technology and knowledge, Christopher Columbus, an ambitious sailor from the Italian port city of Genoa, approached John II of Portugal in 1484 and asked him to support a voyage westward from Portugal, to the East Indies. The king refused when his geographers warned that Columbus had underestimated the distance. Undeterred, Columbus peddled his idea to various European governments over the next several years but found no one willing to take the risk. Finally, in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella’s defeat of the Moors provided Columbus with an opportunity.”

Pageant is also a favorite of many teachers of the AP US History class (it’s mentioned on tons of blogs and reviews from AP US History teachers). So if you’re without a textbook for AP US History, you’re a teacher shopping around for your class, or if you just want extra study material, this is the best textbook for you.

You can rent the latest edition of the textbook for around $34 on Amazon. But here’s another tip – you can buy older editions of the textbook used on Amazon for as little as $7. Since the textbook doesn’t change dramatically between editions, buying an older edition used is a great way to get a super-cheap and useful textbook.

 

Best AP US History Review Book: Cracking the AP US History Exam

cracking ap us history-1.jpg

Price: About $15

If you’re looking for a book to help you review for the AP Test, Cracking the AP US History Exam is your best bet (note: a prep book does NOT replace a textbook you would use during the school year – it’s a big picture overview, not a teacher!).

This book has clean, concise, readable summaries of AP US History to help jog your memory and review what you need to know for the exam. The summaries are very quick and to-the-point, so you don’t have to slog through tons of pages. It also contains end-of-chapter review questions to help you retain information as you move through the book.

Plus, not only does the book cover all of the historical information for the US history exam, the book also spends plenty of time explaining the AP exam essays, including the tricky document-based question. So not only does the book prep you for the AP US History exam’s material, it helps you get ready for the exam itself.

The Princeton Review’s book also includes two full practice tests which tend to be more challenging than the actual AP test – which is good, because this helps you get the best practice. (Some prep books have the opposite problem – their practice tests are too easy, so you take the real test somewhat unprepared.) These practice tests would be an excellent study resource.

The Princeton Review book also has helpful strategies for tackling multiple-choice questions and helps explain how many raw points you should aim for to pass, or get a 5 on the exam, depending on your goal. This info is extremely useful in helping you develop a strategy for the US History exam.

Finally, the book has been updated for the recent AP US History class changes and, additionally, it gives you access to an online portal for more up-to-the-minute information.

Perhaps the downside, if you consider it one, is that The Princeton Review‘s angle is to paint the test as a bogeyman, and the tone can be a bit snarky. (I personally like The Princeton Review books for that reason, but I know others prefer materials that are less biased against the test.)

 

Other AP US History Book Mini-Reviews

If you’re not a big fan of The Princeton Review’s angle or if you just want another prep book, this is a brief overview of some of the other APUSH books on the market and their pros and cons. Based on your study needs, you can pick out the best prep book (or books!) for you.

 

Kaplan

kaplan.jpg

Price: About $14

The Kaplan AP US History book gives you tons of practice, thanks to the five full practice tests it includes. The practice tests also reflect the AP US History redesign, unlike some past popular favorites which have been criticized for not sufficiently updating their practice tests (for example 5 Steps to a 5 and Crash Course). 

However, some worry that many of their practice tests can be either too easy (with direct questions about the date of events, or DBQs focused mainly on cartoons/images rather than written sources). Readers have also pointed out some of the information in their summaries is incorrect.

Verdict: This is a great book for extra exam practice, but not the best source for a clean, accurate US History summary. This should not be your main review book.

 

Crash Course

us history crash course.jpg

Price: About $8

The AP US History Crash Course book is the briefest, fastest read – so it may be the best choice if you’re in a pinch! Crash Course is known for being very clear and concise.

The drawback here is that there is only one practice test – meaning both Princeton Review and Kaplan give you better bang for your buck in terms of practice.

Verdict: This is a great book for a quick review of US History, but not a great book if you want lots of test practice. If you have a teacher who gives tons of practice exams, so you just need a brief review of the material on the AP test, this may be the book for you.

 

AMSCO

body_amscous.jpg

Price: About $19

AMSCO’s book has decent reviews and well-written chapter tests that are very similar to the actual AP test. However, it only comes with one full practice test at the end of the book, so it may not be the best deal.

The big drawback of this option is that for some reason the student edition of the book doesn’t automatically come with an answer key, and it’s apparently very hard to order an answer key for the practice tests. Only teachers can order the answer keys, so you have to find a way to ship them to your school.

Verdict: Since practice tests are only useful tools when you can review the answers, unless you want to go out of your way to order this book and the answer key, we suggest one of the other prep books to save yourself the trouble.

 

Barron’s

barrons-1.jpg

Price: About $11

Think of Barron’s as the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none: It has a decent summary and practice tests and has been updated for the AP Redesign. However, its summary is not as snappy and readable as The Princeton Review‘s, it’s not as short and concise as Crash Course, and it doesn’t have as many practice tests as Kaplan.

This might be your best bet if you want a second prep book, but it shouldn’t be your first choice.

Verdict: You should buy a prep book with a clear goal in mind: either for all-around review and practice (Princeton Review), tons of test practice (Kaplan), or a fast, efficient review (Crash Course). Barron‘s is second-best at all of those things, so it should be your second prep book as opposed to your top choice.

 

Best Free Study Tool: Online AP US History Quizzes

Just looking for multiple-choice practice and lots of it? Our recent post has a compilation of AP US History quizzes from several textbooks’ websites and other free resources around the web. Altogether, there are hundreds of quizzes you can take that focus on each era of US History.

This is a great way to review parts of US History you don’t remember that well, or to get an overall review for the AP US History Test. The drawback here is that these questions are not AP multiple-choice; they are multiple-choice questions from various textbooks and websites. Plus, many of them are focused on just one era of US history, so you don’t get the wide range of questions you see on the actual AP exam. Still, these quizzes will help you master specific eras of US history for the actual AP test. I highly recommend checking them out!

 

Best Study Tool for Purchase: Barron’s US History Flash Cards

body_barrons-4.jpg

Price: About $11

While the Barron’s book doesn’t rank as favorably as Princeton Review’sKaplan’s, and Crash Course’s review books, their US history flashcards are a great way to review key facts, dates, and figures in US History. Flashcards can be an excellent learning tool, and these save you the hours it would take to make your own.

This set gives you 500 cards that quiz you on everything from the exploration period to present day. Furthermore, the cards are divided into seven general categories: Arts and Sciences, Domestic Policies, Presidential Matters, Wars and Foreign Relations, Economy and Business, Legal Issues, and Society and Culture, to help you prepare for the AP exam’s themes.

They’re numbered and labeled so you can quiz yourself by time period or category, which will help you focus your studying. They even come with a metal ring so you can choose which cards to take with you and study! These are a great choice if you want to be able to study on the go.

 

Best Study Website: AP Study Notes

This website has detailed notes on every era of US history, taken from The American Pageant – and it’s completely free! This is a great resource if you’re trying to brush up in detail on a particular era of US History before the AP test in May. The website can also help you prepare for any of your in-class AP US History tests. Get a detailed breakdown of each era at our AP US Study Notes post.

 

Bottom Line

There are lots of potential resources you can use to study for the AP US History exam – textbooks, prep books, flashcards, websites, and more. Don’t feel like you have to use them all to get a high score. On the contrary, you should find a resource or two you find particularly helpful and use it consistently. As long as you pace yourself, and give yourself plenty of time to study and practice, you will be more than prepared when you sit down for the exam in May!

 

What’s Next?

Get more information about the AP program – what the hardest and easiest classes are, when the exams are this year, and whether taking AP classes is worth it .

Taking AP US History this year? We also suggest you take the SAT Subject Test in US History if you’re applying to colleges that require SAT Subject Tests . You can read more about SAT Subject tests, and why you should take them, right here .

Also studying for the SAT/ACT? Learn the best time in your high school career to take the SAT / ACT for the first time , and how long you should study for the SAT / ACT .

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We’ve written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get Sample Lesson

Raise Your ACT Score by 4 Points (Free Download)

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

  • Tweet

Halle Edwards

About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.

Get Free Guides
to Boost Your SAT/ACT

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we’ll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • SAT
    Prep
  • ACT
    Prep
  • For All
    Students

image description

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

image description

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

image description

Score 800 on SAT Math

image description

Score 800 on SAT Reading

image description

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

image description

Score 600 on SAT Math

image description

Score 600 on SAT Reading

image description

Score 600 on SAT Writing

image description

Should You Take the New SAT in 2016 or the Current SAT?

image description

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

image description

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

image description

Expert Guide to the New 2016 SAT

image description

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

image description

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

image description

36 on ACT English

image description

36 on ACT Math

image description

36 on ACT Reading

image description

36 on ACT Science

image description

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

image description

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

image description

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

image description

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

image description

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

image description

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

image description

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

image description

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

image description

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

image description

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Michael improved by
370 POINTS!

Find Out How

Stay Informed

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

 




Home
About The Test
Our AP Products
Contact Us

Barrons Educational Series, Inc.

U.S. History



Welcome to Barron’s online AP U.S. History sample test! This revised test is similar in format and degree of difficulty to the actual AP exam you will see on test day. It covers the latest topics from the new course outline,
historical thinking skills, and time periods in preparation for the May 2017 test.

The test is available in both timed and untimed (practice) modes. You can access answer explanations as you go through the test in practice mode. At the end of the test, you will see a scoring screen with your results.
Scoring for section I Part A is automated. You will need to self-assess your responses for section I Part B and section II Parts A and B.

Note: This online test was created for devices that support Adobe Flash Player. To access the test on an Apple iPad or iPhone you will need to install a web browser that supports
Flash (check the iTunes App Store for free options, including Puffin).

While in the test, if you are unable to click to the next page, you may need to adjust your screen resolution. You can make your screen resolution smaller by holding
down the Ctrl and minus sign buttons on your keyboard.

To begin taking the practice exam, click on the “Start� button below.





Barron's AP Test Prep

*AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the
College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.



Barrons Educational Series, Inc.


© 2016 Barron’s Educational Series, Inc
 250 Wireless Blvd.
 Hauppauge, NY 11788

Privacy Policy