7 Best AP Environmental Science Prep Books (2020)

Best AP Environmental Science Study Books

The best AP Environmental Science prep books cover all necessary material in an organized fashion while also supplying sufficient practice tests. Students require practice material to assess their skills, and that same material is a valuable resource for educators and tutors.

The Best Books to Prepare for the AP Environmental Science Test

Our #1 Choice
Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2020 Edition: Practice Tests &...
Runner Up
AP Environmental Science: With 5 Practice Tests (Barron's Test Prep)
Also Consider
5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020
Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2020 Edition: Practice Tests &...
AP Environmental Science: With 5 Practice Tests (Barron's Test Prep)
5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020
Our #1 Choice
Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2020 Edition: Practice Tests &...
Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2020 Edition: Practice Tests &...
Runner Up
AP Environmental Science: With 5 Practice Tests (Barron's Test Prep)
AP Environmental Science: With 5 Practice Tests (Barron's Test Prep)
Also Consider
5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020
5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020

Our Top Recommended AP Environmental Science Prep Books

There are many options when it comes to finding the best AP Environmental Science prep book, but our list of top recommendations includes the most reputable publications from trusted sources. It’s worth checking out the preview material online for a few of these books before deciding which one will work best for your needs.

1. The Princeton Review: Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2020 Edition

The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam prep book offers a comprehensive content review that reflects changes for the 2020 exam.

Publisher: Princeton Review; Updated edition

Year: 2019

Number of pages: 400

Grade: A+

The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam prep book includes two full practice tests for students that come with thorough answer explanations in each section. There are also note on updates made to the exam for 2020 and additional free content available online.

This book also explains strategies that you can use for each part of the exam and various approaches to the multiple-choice segments. You’ll also find plenty of information about how the test is structured, how the exam gets scored, and other useful resources. This prep book can also help with setting up a study plan, and the glossary of terms serves as a helpful reference.

Cracking the AP Environment Science Exam also touches on the confidence of the student through their “Your Knowledge, Your Expectations” chapter. The guide for this book also goes section by section, which is an excellent way for students to prepare for how they will use this book.

Pros

  • Highly organized information with a detailed table of contents
  • Multiple practice tests and thorough explanations for the answers
  • Excellent as a study guide but also a good reference book

Cons

  • Doesn’t strictly follow the APES curriculum in some parts of the book

2. Barron’s AP Environmental Science: With 5 Practice Tests

Barron’s AP Environmental Science prep book comes with five practice tests and updated content for the multiple-choice and essay sections.

Publisher: Barrons Educational Series; Eighth edition

Year: 2020

Number of pages: 544

Grade: A+

Barron’s AP Environmental Science prep book comes with five practice tests and many updated parts to the sections that cover the multiple-choice and essay portions of the test. This book contains two practice tests with three more available online. You’ll also find a comprehensive overview of the latest AP exam format and answers to common questions, so you know what to expect on test day.

This prep book breaks up the content using illustrations, and diagrams, so it’s more engaging to the student and easier to follow along. Students and educators can use their books with their favorite mobile devices or computer to access online content, and all questions come with thorough explanations.

Unlike other books, the majority of this text focuses on what you need to know for the exam with less focus placed on the structure of the exam or timing. There is a brief overview of the test format at the beginning of the book, but the author quickly moves along to comprehensive subject reviews.

Pros

  • Lots of subject-based information
  • Use this program online with your favorite device
  • Each chapter includes practice questions and explained answers

Cons

  • Minimal discussion on test-taking strategy or exam format

3. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020

The 5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science prep book for 2020 helps students design a study program and determine their test readiness.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition

Year: 2019

Number of pages: 352

Grade: A

The 5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020 prep book features a five-step method for preparing a student to take the AP exam. This book starts by introducing the program and helping the student set up a customized study program that works for them. The next section focuses on the students’ current strengths and weaknesses by determining their test readiness through a diagnostic exam.

Students will score their own practice exams in this book, and each of the answers gets clearly explained. Step three focuses on strategies to use during each part of the test, including how to take a multiple-choice test and write an essay. From there, the book focuses on the subject material and teaching the student in a time-efficient manner only what they must know to score high on the test.

This book contains many review questions, answer explanations, and essay prompts for each section, giving the students many opportunities to figure out where they need to improve.

Pros

  • Time-saving five-step process that is thorough
  • Practice exams help to build confidence
  • The appendixes include useful conversion factors, acronyms, websites, and videos

Cons

  • Doesn’t reflect the changes to the APES curriculum

4. AP Environmental Science Crash Course Book + Online

The AP Environmental Science Crash Course book works well for students with limited time, those that dislike studying, or as a reference.

Publisher: Research & Education Association; Pap/Psc edition

Year: 2011

Number of pages: 288

Grade: A

The AP Environmental Science Crash Course book with an online accompaniment uses a format designed to save time but pack in as much learning as possible. This course provides useful strategies for the student to help them answer questions during the exam without overloading them with information.

This book starts with an overview of basic math and science concepts the student needs and then moves on to key terms and what a test taker will need to be successful. From there, the book dives into subject-related content before moving on to more complex topics that tie together several basic subjects.

The section on test-taking strategies gets divided into multiple-choice and essay portions of the exam, which allows students to decide what combination of approaches works best for them. The online practice exams are also an excellent way to prepare for the 2020 test, which will also take place online.

Pros

  • Online practice exam more closely mimics the 2020 exam
  • Several test-taking strategies clearly explained for each section
  • Covers only the most necessary material

Cons

  • The organizational style is unique and won’t work for all students

5. The Princeton Review- ASAP Environmental Science: A Quick-Review Study Guide for the AP Exam

The Princeton Review ASAP Environmental Science study guide book offers a time-saving review that covers only essential material.

Publisher: Princeton Review; Study Guide edition

Year: 2018

Number of pages: 304

Grade: A

The Princeton Review ASAP Environmental Science prep book is an ideal choice for those studying at the last minute, or for those that need a refresher. This book doesn’t touch on strategies or the test format like other books, but it is well organized. You won’t find practice exams in this book either, and there isn’t a discussion about essays or multiple-choice questions.

Instead, this book goes over subject-related content is neatly divided chapters with more free content available online. This book is ideal for students, but it’s also an instrumental reference book for educators or tutors working with the same material.

Many educators use this book to help shape their curriculum plan or as a supplement to another exam prep book.

Pros

  • Well organized and concise content
  • Easy to use as a reference guide or as a supplement to another prep book
  • More free content available online

Cons

  • No discussion about the test format or test-taking strategy

6. The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2019 Edition

The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam uses proven techniques and offers free online content.

Publisher: Princeton Review; 2019 Edition

Year: 2018

Number of pages: 400

Grade: A

The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam prep book comes with two full-length tests and comprehensive answer explanations for each section. This book also provides strategies for each part of the exam and helpful advice for approaching multiple-choice questions, essays, and managing your time.

The chapters in this book go over more than just the terms a student needs to know, and in the end, you’ll find a section called “reflect” that helps cement the knowledge conveyed. The glossary of this book is also a useful reference, and chapter drills come with explanations so you can mix up how you study to stay motivated.

This book walks a student through the entire process of preparing for the exam, but it’s not ideal for those on a time crunch. Many students have also found the examples and practice material from this book were slightly harder than the actual test to better prepare test takers.

Pros

  • Two full practice exams and more material available online
  • Includes drills in each chapter and reflection points
  • In-depth content and explanations

Cons

  • Provides more material than is strictly necessary
  • Very few changes from the previous version

7. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Environmental Science 2020 Elite Student Edition

The 5 Steps to a 5 AP Environmental Science 2020 Elite Student Edition features three practice exams and a time-efficient method without skimping on content.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition

Year: 2019

Number of pages: 576

Grade: A-

The 5 Steps to a 5 AP Environmental Science 2020 Elite Student Edition provides an easy to follow five-step program that comes with extra content in the book, three full exams, and access to more content online. This guide is also available in digital form so you can access it on your favorite device from anywhere.

Daily activities supplied by this book only take five minutes a day, offering increased learning and reinforcing essential concepts. This prep book starts with advice on setting up a study program to suit the student’s individual needs. Some students will require more study time than others to prepare for the exam, and this guide details what actions should happen, leading up to the night before, and the day of the test.

There is also a diagnostic test to help a student gauge how much studying they need to do before taking the exam. This test also offers detailed answers and explanations so that students understand all of the related concepts and scoring for the segment. The book’s central chapters feature an organized mix of material to teach students valuable information in a specific way, which improves their test scores.

Pros

  • Available in print and digital formats so you can use it on any device
  • Drills and practice material to make learning more engaging
  • Detailed answer explanations and subject matter review

Cons

  • Does not reflect some changes made to the test answer format for 2020

FAQ

Picking out the best AP Environmental Science prep book can be difficult with all of the options available, but the answers to some frequently asked questions can help.

Q: Do I need the newest version of this type of book, or will an older version suffice?

A: A prep book that is a year or two old is fine for studying purposes as long as you are aware of the changes that have happened to the exam. The most commonly overlooked difference is that the exam offers four answer choices instead of five, like in previous years.

It’s also possible to get an older test prep book and supplement it with a newer book of practice exam questions. Some of these books change very little from one year to the next, but the questions in newer books should more closely mimic questions on the actual exam.

Q: What type of book should I get if I need extra help preparing for this exam?

A: Several different prep books employ various structures for studying to suit the individual needs of students. If you feel you need extra content to review, additional explanations, or more practice problems, it’s best to skip books marketed as “time-saving” or for “last-minute studiers.”

Look for books that offer several practice exams and essay prompts with thorough answer explanations and grading rubrics. A grading rubric or a diagnostic test are helpful ways to gauge your progress as you study and also establish your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to testing material.

Q: What content should I look for in a prep book?

A: The content in a test prep book should include all of the segments you’ll find on the test, which is often multiple-choice and essay. Essay prompts are useful tools for learning material and gaining test-taking confidence, but grading rubrics are essential for gauging how well you’re doing.

Multiple choice strategies are also useful things to know when taking a timed test, and understanding different strategies to employ will help you secure a higher score.


Conclusion

The best AP Environmental Science prep book has a structure to suit your learning style while also providing sufficient content to prepare you adequately. Some of these prep books focus solely on the material you need to know, but most often, they will have additional content such as strategy, creating a studying plan, exercises and drills, and practice material.

You don’t have to use the newest book on the market to score highly on the AP test, but you should choose a book that prepares you for how and what to study and what to expect on test day if you are new to standardized testing.

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Brett Gordon
 

Founder of ExamCave.com