The 4 Best AP World History Review Books [2021-2022] (2022)

Article by Jane Newsom. Last Updated: Monday, Aug 2, 2021.

Contents

  • 1) AP World History Overview
  • 2) Best AP World History Books
  • 3) Best AP World History Flashcards
  • 4) Course Summary
  • 5) Exam Summary
  • 6) Wrapping Up

AP World History Overview

AP World History covers a broad array of topics and themes spanning history from 600 B.C.E to present, and 5 major geographies including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.The course presents a representation of the most common understandings, themes, and skills taught by professors from a variety of colleges in introductory World History courses.There are no prerequisites for the class, but students should possess the ability to read and write at a college level.

We’ll cover the course, exams, and our pick for the best AP World History review book. Plus, Flashcards and Study Guides for test year 2022 below, but if you just can’t wait, here’s the short list:

The famous saying says “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”Modern times are full of contentious relationships between nations, and the sorts of context for current events that can be provided through the study of History can be very useful.Whatever your motivation for studying AP World History, we’re here to help you succeed!

Best AP World History Books

AP World History has several strong contenders for the best review book and study guides, which we’ve ranked for you above. Continue on for detailed information on each book!

(Video) 2022 AP World History Free-Response Questions with Emily Glankler

Cracking the AP World History Exam

Editor's Choice

Cracking the AP World History Exam

2022 Edition

by Princeton Review

Pros: Solid digital and print resources.
Cons: Some answer explanations lack clarity.
Best For: Year long study aid to compliment course textbook.
Our Rating: 5 / 5

Cracking the AP World History Exam by Princeton review is our top review book on this list.It has so many amazing features, and there’s basically nothing missing from this book.Features included:

  • 5 Full length practice tests (4 in the book + 1 online).
  • Tried-and-true strategies to help you avoid traps and beat the test.
  • Essential tactics to help you work smarter, not harder.
  • Key terms, timelines, and detailed maps, in every content review chapter.

Cracking the AP World History Exam takes the #1 position, and it’s an overall very solid book.With so many excellent practice tests, it’s sure to put a score of 5 within your reach!

Barron’s AP World History

Barron's AP World History

2021 Edition

by John McCannon Ph.D.

Pros: In depth review and tons of online content.
Cons: Some people find certain sections to be overly wordy.
Best For: Year long course supplement, or final exam review.
Our Rating: 5.0 / 5

Barron’s AP World History is our second pick for Best AP World History review book for 2020. It has tons of great study material, as well as access to bonus online content.Additional features include:

  • 5 full length practice tests (2 printed and 3 online) with detailed answers and explanations.
  • In-depth review of world history covering the major course themes.
  • Strategies for each of the 4 test question types.
  • Study planning resources to help you focus your time.

This book is well suited for students who either want to supplement other required course materials, or for those looking for a last minute review leading up to the exam.Whatever your use case, we consider this book to be your second best bet for exam prep.

5 Steps to a 5: AP World History

5 Steps to a 5: AP World History

2022 Edition

by Peggy J. Martin

Pros: Comprehensive material with multiple full length tests.
Cons: A decent amount of overlap with course textbooks and somewhat wordy in places.
Best For: Supplemental study aid for the duration of the course and leading up to the exam.
Our Rating: 5 / 5

5 Steps to a 5: AP World History is a good overall review book which rounds out our list.It has a great overview of course material, as well as bonus online and printed materials.The full list of features included in the book are:

  • 4 Full length practice tests (2 in book and 2 online).
  • Hundreds of practice questions with answer keys.
  • Proven strategies specific to each section of the test.
  • Comprehensive overview of the AP World History Exam format.

When it comes to reviewing for the exam in the days leading up to it, 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History is a great study resource.It’s got some of the best practice questions and online resources of any review book on our list.

(Video) How to Get a GOOD GRADE in Your AP CLASSES

Sterling Test Prep AP World History

Sterling Test Prep AP World History

2020 Edition

by Sterling Test Prep

Pros: Comprehensive World History overview helps with understanding broad concepts.
Cons: No answer keys.
Best For: Supplemental material which compliments other exam specific guides.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Sterling Test Prep AP World History is a solid book for students looking to supplement assigned readings all year long.Features include:

  • Full length text book could act as a stand alone resource.
  • Practice questions covering course materials

This book isn’t specifically tailored to students working to review the course material or exam specifics leading up to the test.That said, it’s a pretty solid overview of the key concepts and themes covered in the World History course and test.

Best AP World History Flashcards

In addition to the excellent books mentioned above, AP World History students will see significant benefits in prepping using flashcards.Our top picks for Best AP World History Flashcards are outlined below:

Barron’s AP World History Flash Cards

Editor's Choice

Barron's AP World History Flash Cards

3rd Edition

by Lupinskie & Caporusso

Pros: Well organized and comprehensive terms.
Cons: Some cards are somewhat densely packed.
Our Rating: 5 / 5

Barron’s AP World History Flash Cards are a great compliment to Barron’s AP World History review book, or any of the other books outlined above.It serves as a fantastic way to memorize key facts and information tested in the test in a way that’s fun and entertaining.Key features include:

  • Over 420 flashcards.
  • Covers all major periods and themes from AP World History course.
  • Bonus online practice test.

We fully recommend flashcards as a supplement to any full length book. Barron’s are our #1 recommendation for AP World History flashcards.

5 Steps to a 5 AP World History Flashcards

5 Steps to a 5 AP World History Flashcards

1st Edition

by Peggy J. Martin

Pros: Available in multiple formats.
Cons: Somewhat out of date.
Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

5 Steps to a 5 AP World History Flashcards is our second pick in the flashcard category. Their flashcards are effective, but haven’t been updated in recent years.Key Features include:

(Video) AP World History: 1900-Present

  • Over 600 flashcards with key terms.
  • One item per card with bulleted answer summary.
  • Multiple formats including digital and print available.

All in all, we generally recommend the Barron’s flashcards for most students.If you’re looking for even more review material, or you have a strong liking for the 5 Steps to a 5 series review, these are a passable resource.

Course Summary

A full Course Descriptionfor AP World History is available from collegeboard.org.

There are 5 key themes covered by AP World History, the same which you would expect to find in an entry level college history class:

Interactions Between Humans and the Environment

Environmental factors have shaped the societies in which humans have organized throughout history.Things like rainfall patterns, climate, and available flora and fauna dictate the natural and human curated resources available.In more recent times, human activity has begun to shape the environment in turn.

Development and Interactions of Cultures

The origins, use, adaptations, and dissemination of ideas between societies is the second major theme covered.Various ways in which humans interact lead to the exchange of parts of their cultures. These cultural changes can be tracked across societies over time.

State Building, Expansion, and Conflict

The origin and impact of hierarchical systems in different periods and cultures is the third theme in AP World History.Comparing the different types of states, such as kingdoms, empires, and nation states can help one understand the different types of structures which occur in different cultures.

Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems

The 4th theme studies the different ways in which societies have developed to produce, distribute, and consume goods across time and place.These factors influence things like migration, social structure, cultural and technical diffusion, and state formation.

Development and Transformation of Social Structures

The final theme studies the relationships between humans, how societies develop and place their members in groups, and how people interact based on these groups.It also focuses on how social practices, roles, and practices are created, maintained, and changed over time.

With such a wide variety of material to review, a quality book is an essential part of getting that 5 score you’ve got your eye on.

Exam Summary

The above mentioned major themes are thoroughly tested in the AP World History exam.The student’s knowledge is assessed through questions in multiple choice or free response format, lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes.The exam is broken up into 4 parts, and the parts are weighted to determine a final score between 1 and 5.

Section 1: Multiple Choice and Short Answer

  • Part A: 55 multiple choice questions, lasting 55 minutes, 40% of overall score.
  • Part B: 3 short answer questions, lasting 40 minutes, 20% of overall score.

Section 2: Free Response

  • Part A: 1 document based question, lasting 60 minutes, 25% of overall score.
  • Part B: 1 long essay question, lasting 40 minutes, 15% of overall score.

The multiple choice section is grouped into sets between 2-5 questions each. Each question asks the student to respond to a primary or secondary source like a written passage, image, or chart.Question sets will focus on a particular period, but may require students to make connections to other thematic developments from other periods.

The short answer section has 4 total questions, with students required to answer the first and second, and either the third or fourth question.Each question requires the student to cite examples of historical events or concepts related to the topic.

The document based question requires a student to present an argument based on historical source material. It includes 7 documents like charts, graphs, written material, etc.Students are also expected to include examples and information which is not explicitly included in the document set for top marks.

The long essay question requires students to choose from 1 of 3 essay topics.Each topic covers 3 periods from the curriculum, and the student must develop and support an argument with specific examples and information.

For exam dates, refer to The College Board AP Calendar.

Wrapping Up

AP World History is a challenging topic covering tons of information spanning from 600 B.C.E to present day.There are a good number of books out there, but many of them don’t pass muster. We’ve gone ahead and rounded up our list of the Best AP World History review Books for 2020, to help you choose.

Which book is right for you? It depends heavily on your particular circumstances. To recap our list of recommendations for different use cases:

Top Overall RecommendationBarron’s AP World History
Top Pick For Course SupplementBarron’s AP World History
Top Pick For Last Minute PrepCracking the AP World History Exam
Top Pick For FlashcardsBarron’s AP World History Flash Cards

For students looking to supplement other required course textbooks in year long study, our top recommendation and top pick overall is Barron’s AP World History.This book has tons of great information and access to loads of online resources. We think this is likely your best overall bet.

(Video) The French Revolution: Crash Course World History #29

For students who have less time to review before taking the exam, we think either the Barron’s AP World History or Cracking the AP World History Exam make great choices.Each book has tons of review and practice questions, do a good job describing the exam contents, and have useful strategies you can put to work on the test.

Our top pick for flashcards is Barron’s AP World History Flash Cards. It’s a solid resource that pairs well with the Barron’s guide, or any of the other books on this list.

Whatever your circumstance, supplemental study and review materials are a key part of ensuring success on the exam.We’ve listed some of the best AP World History review books available. Good luck, and study hard!

Sources and Further Reading

Related Posts

  • The 4 Best AP US History Review Books [2021-2022]
  • The Best 4 AP English Language Review Books [2021-2022]
  • The 4 Best AP Psychology Review Books [2021-2022]
  • The 4 Best AP English Literature Prep Books [2021-2022]
  • The 4 Best AP Art History Books [2021-2022]

FAQs

Is a 4 good on AP World History? ›

What is a good AP® World History score? Scores of 3, 4, and 5 on an AP® exam are passing scores and generally considered a good score. The College Board defines a 3 as 'qualified, 4 as 'well qualified,' and a 5 as 'extremely well qualified.

Is it hard to get a 5 on AP World History? ›

Fewer than 10% of test-takers receive a perfect score on the AP World History Exam. Compared to other AP classes, only half as many test-takers score a 5. However, that does not necessarily make AP World History one of the hardest AP exams. Instead, the difficulty depends a great deal on your teacher and school.

Is Barrons good for AP World History? ›

Barron's AP World History is our second pick for Best AP World History review book for 2020. It has tons of great study material, as well as access to bonus online content. Additional features include: 5 full length practice tests (2 printed and 3 online) with detailed answers and explanations.

What textbook is used for AP World History? ›

One textbook that is updated to the current AP course that we would recommend is Ways of the World, 4th. ed., by Strayer and Nelson.

What percent do you need to get a 5 on AP World? ›

The percentages needed to get a 5 are as follows: Art History: 71% Biology: 63% Calculus AB: 63%

How many people got a 5 on AP World? ›

AP Score Distributions
Exam54
AP Psychology14.1%21.2%
AP United States Government and Politics12.0%11.6%
AP United States History10.1%15.9%
AP World History9.7%18.5%
5 more rows

Is 5 AP classes enough for Harvard? ›

Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.

What is the hardest AP class? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Chemistry. 56.1% 10.6%
  • U.S. Government and Politics. 57.5% 15.5%
  • U.S. History. 58.7% 13.0%
  • Human Geography. 59.0% 11.8%
  • European History. 59.3% 13.7%
  • Statistics. 60.0% 16.2%
  • English Literature. 60.1% 9.3%
  • World History.

Which AP is the easiest? ›

Top 10 Easiest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
AP Class/Exam*Pass Rate (3+)Perfect Score (5)
1. Physics C: Mechanics84.3%41.6%
2. Calculus BC81.6%44.6%
3. Spanish Literature75.1%17.6%
4. Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism74.4%40.4%
6 more rows

Is Kaplan or Barrons better? ›

In terms of value for money, Kaplan is the best option. For its price, Kaplan also provides quality instruction and materials. Is Barron's SAT Premium Study Guide an effective book? It really depends on where you're at in your preparation for the SAT.

What's better Barrons or Princeton Review? ›

Just given the choice between the two, we prefer Barron's. On the flip side, we liked Princeton Review's practice exams and answer solutions better. Though it varies test to test, on average, Princeton Review seems to offer more practice tests than Barron's.

Is Princeton Review Good for AP World? ›

The Princeton Review book should be a good fit for a wide variety of students. If you have a month or two to study and are looking for a one-size-fits-all accessible guide to the test, you should go with that one.

What is the hardest AP history? ›

[11] Clear your schedule: US History (APUSH) is rated as the most time-intensive AP exam to study for by students who took this class (7.1 / 10).

Does Harvard accept AP World History? ›

Harvard confers 4 or 8 credits for eac eligible AP exam depending on whether the exam covers one semester or one full year's worth of material.
...
Advanced Placement Exams.
EXAMAP SCOREHARVARD CREDIT
AP World History50
MATH AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
AP Calculus AB*54
AP Calculus BC*58
39 more rows

Which AP History is the best? ›

Princeton Review's Cracking the AP US History Exam is our top recommendation for best AP history review guide for 2020. As with years past, the guide contains a wealth of information, tips and tricks, and practice tests.

What is a 70 on an AP test? ›

Usually, a 70 to 75 percent out of 100 translates to a 5. However, there are some exams that are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The AP Grades that are reported to students, high schools, colleges, and universities in July are on AP's five-point scale: 5: Extremely well qualified.

What is a 75 on an AP test? ›

Here are the basics of the AP English exam: it has 55 multiple-choice questions, worth 45% of your score, and three essays, worth 55% of your score. Each essay is graded between 1 and 9.
...
Step 3: Use the Chart to Estimate Your Scaled Score.
Composite Score (0-100 or 0-150)Scaled Score (1-5)
76-913
50-752
0-491
2 more rows
21 Mar 2020

What AP exam has the lowest pass rate? ›

AP Physics 1

Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—137,229 students took it in 2021. Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate of any AP exam (42.1%) along with one of the lowest percentages of students scoring a 5 (just 6.9%).

Can you get a 0 on AP exam? ›

AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many U.S. colleges grant credit and/or advanced placement (that means they let you skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above.

Are AP tests curved? ›

are some AP test curved? Specially is the AP gov test curved? No AP exams are scored on a curve, ever. On published exams, cut off scores for each grade varied from year to year based on question difficulty.

Can your teachers see your AP scores? ›

Can teachers see your AP scores? Teachers with access to AP score reports for educators can see your AP scores. According to the College Board, "Only teachers authorized through the AP Course Audit for the most current year for which AP score data has been released have access to their students' exam scores online."

What APs does Yale accept? ›

Yale accepts scores of 4 and 5 on the AP® exams for credit. The score requirements vary by department. You can use your AP® credits to “accelerate” your Yale education. With the professor's permission, you can use your AP® credits to take higher-level classes sooner.

Is 7 APs enough for Ivy League? ›

Ivy League

To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.

Can a 1400 get me into Harvard? ›

While a 1400 makes you eligible to apply to places such as Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, it won't make you a competitive candidate.

What is the most failed AP exam? ›

What Are the Most Failed AP Exams? All AP exams have a passing rate of at least 50%. The most failed AP exams are Physics 1 (failed by 48.4% of all students), Environmental Science (failed by 46.6% of all students), and Chemistry (failed by 43.9% of all students).

Is 7 AP classes a lot? ›

Students looking to earn admission to highly selective colleges should take multiple AP classes to bolster their applications and demonstrate they can handle challenging coursework. Some college admissions experts recommend taking as many as 7-12 AP courses before applying to the most elite universities.

Is 5 APs too much? ›

You can definitely take 5 APs, but just make sure to stay on top of your work and spend a good amount of time studying to make sure you know the material.

What is the least popular AP exam? ›

In 2021, the least popular AP exams were as follows, based on number of test-takers:
  • AP Italian (2,102 test-takers)
  • AP Japanese (2,204 test-takers)
  • AP German (4,315 test-takers)
  • AP 3-D Art and Design (4,573 test-takers)
  • AP Latin (4,889 test-takers)

What is the second hardest AP class? ›

2. Environmental Science: The second hardest AP class is environmental science, with a passing rate of 53.4%. This class is often known for students underestimating the course.

Is AP easier than SAT? ›

Some people argue that the ACT is easier because it adds up to a lower score. Universities use both tests as academic measures to compare students. They are similar in difficulty with a comparable level of challenge. Most colleges will back this up, stating both tests are equally challenging.

What percent is a 4 on AP World? ›

19% 18%

Is a 4 on an AP exam OK? ›

Is 4 a good AP score? For most students, a 4 is a good AP score. However, if you're applying to a prestigious, highly selective school like Duke, you may need a 5 to earn credit for certain subjects. The best way to determine what scores you need is to ask your target schools about their AP policies.

Is 4 a good score in AP? ›

A 4 or a 5 is the AP score that will most likely earn you college AP credit. Of course, no matter how you do on the AP test, you still get a grade for that AP class from your high school. Good grades in AP courses always look good on your transcript!

Can you get a 0 on AP exam? ›

AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many U.S. colleges grant credit and/or advanced placement (that means they let you skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above.

What is the hardest AP class? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Chemistry. 56.1% 10.6%
  • U.S. Government and Politics. 57.5% 15.5%
  • U.S. History. 58.7% 13.0%
  • Human Geography. 59.0% 11.8%
  • European History. 59.3% 13.7%
  • Statistics. 60.0% 16.2%
  • English Literature. 60.1% 9.3%
  • World History.

What AP exam has the lowest pass rate? ›

AP Physics 1

Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—137,229 students took it in 2021. Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate of any AP exam (42.1%) along with one of the lowest percentages of students scoring a 5 (just 6.9%).

What is the easiest AP Exam? ›

The five easiest exams for self-study are as follows:

AP Environmental Science. AP Human Geography. AP Psychology. AP US Government and Politics.

How rare is it to get a 5 on an AP Exam? ›

The bad news is that only 7.4% of students scored a 5, which is one of the lowest rates of any AP exam.

What APs does Yale accept? ›

Yale accepts scores of 4 and 5 on the AP® exams for credit. The score requirements vary by department. You can use your AP® credits to “accelerate” your Yale education. With the professor's permission, you can use your AP® credits to take higher-level classes sooner.

What is a 75 on an AP test? ›

Here are the basics of the AP English exam: it has 55 multiple-choice questions, worth 45% of your score, and three essays, worth 55% of your score. Each essay is graded between 1 and 9.
...
Step 3: Use the Chart to Estimate Your Scaled Score.
Composite Score (0-100 or 0-150)Scaled Score (1-5)
76-913
50-752
0-491
2 more rows
21 Mar 2020

What APs does Stanford accept? ›

Stanford accepts AP® scores of 3,4, & 5 for course credit. These requirements vary by department. Stanford has certain classes that everyone has to take called General Education Requirements. You can't use AP® credits to get out of them.

Can you get into an Ivy League with a 4 on AP? ›

It is a fact that five out of the eight Ivy League colleges give college credit for AP exams in which students have scored at least a 4, or in some cases, the score must be a 5. While the AP credit policies vary from school to school, they can also vary from department to department within a school.

What AP score does Harvard accept? ›

Harvard only accepts AP® scores of 5 for course credit. If you have 4 scores of 5, you can opt to obtain Advanced Standing. You can use AP® credits to opt-out of lower-level classes. Harvard has general academic requirements that all students must take.

Do colleges accept 4s on AP Exams? ›

What score do you need for each AP Subject? Colleges are generally looking for a 4 (“well-qualified”) or 5 (“extremely qualified”) on the AP exam, but some may grant credit for a 3 (“qualified”). These scores mean you have proven yourself capable of doing the work in an introductory-level college course.

Videos

1. AP World History Strayer Book Ad
(Ojas Jangada)
2. The rise and fall of the Mongol Empire - Anne F. Broadbridge
(TED-Ed)
3. 9 Key Concepts for AP U.S. History | Up-to-Date for 2022 | The Princeton Review
(The Princeton Review)
4. 2021 Live Review 1 | AP World History | Discussing Units 1-3
(Advanced Placement)
5. Grimes - Player Of Games (Official Video)
(Grimes)
6. Mere Humsafar Episode 32- Presented by Sensodyne - 11th August 2022 (English Subtitles) #ARYDigital
(ARY Digital HD)

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