8 Best AP Calculus BC Prep Book (2020)

Best AP Calculus BC Study Books

The AP BC Calculus exam has two sections. The first section takes 105 minutes and has 45 questions. It accounts for 50% of the overall exam score. You can’t use calculators in the first 30 questions, but you can do so with the second 14 questions

The second section lasts 90 minutes and consists of six questions. You get two problems to solve for 30 minutes with the use of a calculator, but you won’t use the calculator for the last four questions. So, the question is: what’s the best way to prepare?

In this detailed review, find out more about some of the best AP BC Calculus prep books, where to get them, and some common questions asked about BC Calculus prep books.

Best AP BC Calculus Exam Prep Books

Some of the Best AP Calculus BC prep books include:

1. Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam

A comprehensive AB Calculus BC exam prep book

Cracking the AP Calculus BC Exam by Princeton Review 2020 Edition is a must-have when preparing for your Calculus exam. It features three full-length practice tests and has access to online resources.

You should get this guide as a supplement to your course textbooks when you’re planning to revise for your Calculus exam. The guide also comes with a step by step walkthrough of the must-know formulas and sample questions.

Students get questions from previous years to the current exam year. These questions have a detailed answer explanation to help you improve on similar questions in the future and give you an insight into where you might have one wrong. The end of the chapter has tricks and tips to help with preparation. You also get valuable tactics to help you focus when you have little to no time to study extensively.

Pros

  • Has challenging practice tests and detailed content review
  • Provides a balanced and complete approach
  • Online student tool pages
  • Up to date information on course changes
  • A cheat sheet for all crucial formulas
  • Engaging activities to assess your progress

Cons

  • Not ideal for the free-response section

Publisher: The Princeton Review

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 768 pages

Grade: A+


2. Barron’s AP Calculus

A detailed study guide with a focus on different topics

Barron’s AP Calculus has excellent online reviews thanks to its high-quality study aids. It’s ideal for both AB calculus and BC calculus exam preparation.

The AP BC Calculus section gives you a targeted focus on different topics. One different aspect is the section that teaches you how to use a calculator properly. It’s essential to learn how to use the required tool as it comes in handy during the exam.

Students also get three practice exams for the Calculus BC test. You’ll find this book excellent as it gives you content to study for two exams at once. That means if you are taking the AP Calculus AB exam, you don’t have to buy another book.

On the downside, the book is suitable if you’re looking to polish up on the things you already know about BC calculus. Average students may find it challenging to solve the practice questions. Also, the book hasn’t been updated, which means you may lose out on some information.

Pros

  • A quality books that covers two topics at once without sacrificing on quality
  • Has a dedicated section and practice exams
  • Comes with examples to practice
  • Comes with the new exam format
  • Lets you learn how to use the graphing calculator properly

Cons

  • Previous buyers found that it contains similar content with other Barron’s test prep books
  • It’s still in its 13th edition and hasn’t been updated

Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series

Year: 2017

Number of Pages: 656 pages

Grade: B+


3. AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes-Bita Korsunsky

A perfect book with each lesson targeting a specific formula or skill

Featuring simple to follow review notes, the AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes comes with explanations and examples. In this book are full slides and review of all Calculus BC curriculum topics. You also get a list of theorems and formulas that you need for the test.

The accurate and concise explanations of the example problems help you prepare ahead of the exam. Students who find it difficult to understand Calculus will find this book resourceful. It also serves as a reinforcement for those experienced in the subject.

However, unlike other study guides and prep books, the AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes doesn’t come with practice or quiz tests. You also don’t have access to online resources. The book is best for supplementing with other study guides and books.

Pros

  • An organized and simple to follow approach
  • Comes with theorems and formulas you’ll need for the test
  • Accurate and concise explanations

Cons

  • Doesn’t have practice tests
  • Lacks online resources

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2014

Number of Pages: 187 pages

Grade: B


4. Multiple Choice Questions to Prepare for the AP Calculus BC Exam

A preparation workbook with multiple choice questions for the AP Calculus BC exam

The Multiple Choice Questions to Prepare for the AP Calculus BC Exam is written by an award-winning Calculus teacher, Rita Korsunsky. She has an excellent history and 95% of her students get a score of 5.

The guide comes with multiple-choice questions like those you’ll find in the actual Calculus BC exam. It also meets the College Board requirements, which is a plus.

Students get six multiple-choice exams, tips for taking the AP test, thermos and reference for the formula, and answer keys for simplicity.

What’s more, you can download step-by-step solutions for this book in PowerPoint format. You’ll get everything you need to score a 5 in your exam. Find the well-organized formulas and theorems that are easy to view.

One aspect that makes this guide an excellent option is the section that provides some helpful tips to avoid common mistakes made during the BC exam. The book has fantastic reviews online as previous buyers find it helpful in reinforcing their understanding of Calculus.

Pros

  • Provides useful test-taking strategies
  • Helpful explanation of the practice tests
  • Up to date book
  • Downloadable PowerPoint material for further studying
  • Practice questions
  • Reasonably priced and an easy to understand format

Cons

  • It comes with an additional solution CD for a detailed explanation

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2013

Number of Pages: 158

Grade: B


5. Calculus Late Transcendental 11th Edition

A detailed book with examples, exercises, and applications

The Calculus Late Transcendental 11th Edition by Howard Anton is one of the popular Calculus BC textbooks in the market. This book makes it simple for you to understand the critical concepts of Calculus as it covers all the core functions of trigonometry, algebra, geometry, and elementary functions.

All this is to ensure that you’re prepared for the exam. Unlike other guides, this textbook uses visual, verbal, and algebraic approaches to teach the fundamental Calculus concepts.

Pros

  • Has fantastic exercises, examples, and applications
  • Provides a balance between clarity of explanations and rigor
  • Presents concepts in a visual, verbal, numerical, and algebraic point of view

Cons

  • May be expensive

Publisher: Willey, 11th Edition

Year: 2016

Number of Pages: 1168

Grade: B-


6. AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes Volume 1 and 2

A prep book with summarized Calculus BC exam

The AP Calculus BC Lecture Notes Volume 1 and 2 is another fantastic way to prepare for your BC exam within a short period.

Students get printouts of PowerPoint slides of the Calculus exam. These notes are fantastic for review and learning when you need to prepare efficiently and quickly. You’ll love how this book targets specific content and skills. You get every Calculus concept, thanks to the detailed explanations of theorems.

The guide also illustrates step-by-step methods to solve different problems. Once you finish studying the notes, you’ll find all the theorems and formulas you need for AP Calculus BC test preparation.

Another impressive aspect is the multiple-choice type questions that resemble those you’ll find in the actual AP test. These problems have a similar difficulty level like those on the Calculus BC exam.

Pros

  • Detailed topics and notes
  • An easy and clear book
  • Explains challenging concepts easily
  • User-friendly book
  • Ideal resources for students and teachers

Cons

  • May need you to go through weeks before the exam

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2014

Number of Pages: 187

Grade: B-


7. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Calculus BC

A perfect book for the perfect score

The 5 Steps to a 5 is one book that offers skilled and practical knowledge to better understand what AP tests entail. As a student, you get helpful test-taking strategies. Being a revised syllabus means that you get a score that matches the AP Calculus BC exam format.

Inside the book are three complete AP practice tests for the BC exam, three separate study plans, and an application feature that has extra practice questions. You also get assignment notification to check your test readiness.

At the start, you get to create your customized study plan that is followed up by a diagnostic test to determine your knowledge level. Afterward, you can create your strategy using this book as a way to prepare for the exam.

It comes with a content review section with topics outlined in the College Board’s outline. The review section is comprehensive as it connects one section to the other to follow up on what you’ve read.

You also get to review all the different theorems and formulas in the appendix. It’s an excellent and affordable guide that promises to help in your AP Calculus BC exam.

Pros

  • Has an online app with features to help prep for the exam
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comes with practice tests
  • Ideal for both teachers and students
  • Uses a systematic steeply-step approach

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Publisher: Mc-Graw Hill Education

Year: 2018

Number of Pages: 464

Grade: B


8. AP Calculus AB and BC Crash Course

A prep book to get you a high score in less time

Termed as the complete AP Calculus BC book, the AP Calculus AB and BC Crash Course provide a narrow focus for accelerated review. It comes with extensive practice tests with tricks and tips on how to handle the questions.

Students get two full-length practice tests online. The best part is that you get the necessary information for the test without any filler content. You also get expert test-taking strategies that cover free-response and multiple-choice sections.

Unlike other books, the Crash Course has its course and content layout focused on the exam entirely. It also acts as a good resource to complement your course books.

Pros

  • Ideal for last-minute revision
  • Focused content without the fluff
  • Has helpful tips to handle the free-response and multiple-choice sections

Cons

  • Some questions lack accuracy
  • Only ideal as a supplement to other books

Publisher: Research and Education Association

Year: 2014

Number of Pages: 224

Grade: B-


AP BC Calculus Prep Book FAQs

Some of the frequently asked questions include:

What is the best AP BC Calculus Book?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a prep book. Some books are ideal for last-minute revision, while others are detailed and provide comprehensive information. You need to choose a book depending on what you are looking for, your budget, and study needs.

What Should I Study for in the BC Exam?

You should study how to answer the free-response and multiple-choice questions. It’s also essential to learn more about how to use a graphing calculator.

Is AP Calculus BC Difficult?

In my experience, Calculus BC is not very challenging with lots of practice and studying. Go for it!


Final Thoughts

Although AP BC Calculus is a tough course, with the right mix of practice and knowledge, you can easily score a 5 in your exam. The above Calculus prep books will challenge you with free-response and multiple-choice questions.

Remember to start reading early to avoid a last-minute rush as you’ll find it challenging to understand all the concepts and formulas.

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Hannah Young
 

Contributor at ExamCave. Hannah is pursuing a degree in middle school English education at The Ohio State University. Hannah has worked as a writing and math tutor for elementary, middle school, and high school students.