Best AP World History Prep Books

3 min readdecember 14, 2021


Ashley Lin

AP World History: Modern 🌍

577 resources
See Units

Preparing to take the AP World test, and looking for methods to prepare? Definitely purchase a review book early on in the course (but it’s never too late)! Remember that these books are intended to support your learning in the classroom, and should be used alongside a more content-heavy textbook/classroom teachers’ lectures. Choosing the right review book for you can be based upon a variety of factors, including: content, AP World specific test preparation, format of textbook, extent of DBQ/LEQ/SAQ preparation, and more. Thus, it is important to be informed regarding the pros and cons of each book, in order to make a decision that aligns with your learning style.
Watch: AP World History - 🎥 AMA: I Scored a 5 on AP World

#1: Cracking the AP World History Exam — Princeton Review

  • Conversational voice, very easy to digest
  • Wide margins for note-taking and making connections
  • Effectively addresses content: not too specific/broad
  • Two sample tests included
  • Draws relationships with College Board themes, provides relevant timeline/key terms
  • Price is economical, in relation to amount of content provided
  • Not content-heavy enough for self-studying (always get a more content heavy textbook to serve as the base)!
  • No sample essays, could elaborate more about DBQ/SAQ/LEQ

#2: AP World History, 7th Edition — Barron’s

  • COMPREHENSIVE overview of AP World Key Concepts and connects to themes, very content-heavy
  • Challenging practice exams that may be more difficult than the actual exam
  • Good tips on AP World test-taking techniques, including for multiple choice, SAQ, LEQ, and DBQs!
  • Too much material for short-term AP World review, plan at least two months to go through
  • Academic writing style, can be ‘boring,’ sometimes overly wordy
  • No practice questions offered at the end of each chapter

#3: AP World History — 5 Steps to a 5

  • Short and more digestible than other review book options
  • Provides a variety of study plans based on your time until exam to guide productive study habits
  • Each unit includes helpful quizzes and charts that enhance understanding
  • Even less content-heavy than Princeton, not enough for self-studying (always get a more content heavy textbook to serve as the base)!
  • Very high level content, little details to draw connections
  • Two of four practice exams on the computer — not how the real exam is administered

As all of this sinks in, don’t forget that as part of your AP World review, Fiveable can also provide many supplementary resources, from content live-streams, to live essay writing seminars, to information-based kahoots. All this means is that you have the necessary framework to supplement your learning — and with a strong content base, there is no doubt you will do well. Best of luck to you on the AP World exam. Fiveable believes in you! Yes, taking this exam may seem like a daunting endeavor, but know the college credit will be worth it in the end. Enjoy your new review book, and we’ll see you on our next AP World livestream!

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
✏️Frequently Asked Questions
🚀Thematic Guides
🗺Regional Guides
🤓Historical Thinking Skills
🧐 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
📋Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
📝Long Essay Questions (LEQ)
📑Document Based Questions (DBQ)

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