What Are the Best AP Spanish Language Textbooks and Prep Books?

4 min readseptember 30, 2021

Sander Owens

Sander Owens

AP Spanish Language 🇪🇸

54 resources
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Welcome! 👋 This guide will provide you an overview of the best textbooks and prep books for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam so that you can choose how best to study whether you are self-studying or just looking for some extra help before the AP exam.
Let's dive in!

Textbooks 🤔

As with all of the other AP language courses, there is a bit of a problem if you are looking for a one-stop AP approved textbook. As described on the AP Spanish Language Course Audit page, the College Board does not offer a list of textbooks approved for the Spanish Language exam because they want the exam to focus on building your language proficiency.
If this worries you, there is an alternative solution. On that same course audit page, there is an example syllabus for the course that is designed to help new teachers learn how to teach the course. Still, it could prove to be a valuable resource for self-studying, as it provides a framework and sample activities for you to do, as well as links to helpful resources. Obviously, since it is designed for teachers, it won't be 100% useful, but it could provide a useful framework that textbooks typically provide.
Also, in general, if you are in a class, you shouldn't need to get another textbook, and prep books are probably better for your needs, so definitely keep reading to get our advice on those. If you are self-studying, a textbook probably wouldn't be the best choice either, as those frequently only work well with a supplemental teacher.

Prep Books 📚

Unlike textbooks, there are some fantastic prep books that align with the AP exam curriculum, each with its own pros and cons, so decide which one is the best for you!

Barron's AP Spanish Language and Culture


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At only $9.69 new, this book is quite a bargain, especially as it includes two practice tests, with actual audio material. However, students sometimes find Barron's books a little wordy, so take that into account. However, this book contains comprehensive explanations of all of the different types of questions.
In addition to helpful explanations for sample problems and exams, there is also a section containing a brief introduction to all of the cultural information that you will need to know to succeed on the exam. If only two practice tests aren't enough for you, consider the premium edition, which includes three extra online practice exams for less than $2.00 more, which is quite a good deal.

Barron's AP Spanish Flash Cards

These are somewhat pricey, at over $17.00 new, but if you are the kind of person who likes physical flashcards, these are definitely the ones for you. However, free quizlet sets can achieve the same purpose (check out our Best Quizlets guide for more on that), so only purchase these if you see significant value-added with them.

Princeton Review AP Spanish Language & Culture


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Princeton Review's book is nearly double the price of the Barron's book, at $20.49, but it still includes the same number of practice tests as the Barron's. So, what makes it more expensive? For starters, it is more comprehensive and includes a grammar review that you might find helpful. It also includes access to some of Princeton Review's online materials if you believe that that sort of thing might be of use to you.
However, some consider the Princeton Review to be overpriced and also a bit wordy, so it is something to think out when considering this option. Don't let it discourage you — some have found it to be a very valuable resource.

5 Steps to a 5: AP Spanish Language and Culture


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Many consider the 5 Steps to a 5 to be the most helpful and concise prep book for AP exams, but this book, at $26.00, is the most expensive of any of the prep books mentioned. It includes the same number of practice exams as all of the prior options, so this may not be the best option for you. However, it contains supplemental audio material on a CD that is more than just simple exam questions: there are exercises designed to improve understanding audio sources, as well as practice your speaking, two of the more challenging portions of the AP Spanish Language exam to master.
We hope this guide has provided you with some information to help you make the right choice about which book will be best for you. Don't worry, though, you really can't go wrong! By studying hard and using resources, you're bound to get a 5!
Browse Study Guides By Unit
👨‍👩‍👧Unit 1 – Families in Spanish-Speaking Countries
🗣Unit 2 – Language & Culture in Spanish-Speaking Countries
🎨Unit 3 – Beauty & Art in Spanish-Speaking Countries
🔬Unit 4 – Science & Technology in Spanish-Speaking Countries
🏠Unit 5 – Quality of Life in Spanish-Speaking Countries
💸Unit 6 – Challenges in Spanish-Speaking Countries
🙏Exam Reviews

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