8 Best AP European History Prep Books (2020)

Best AP European History Study Books

AP European history is a content-heavy AP course. The course, and by default, the exam, covers a broad span of European history — almost 600 years. The amount of information needed to score highly on the AP exam can be a catalyst for some stress. However, scores for AP Euro get higher every year, and it’s possible that you’ll score higher, too, so long as you put in the work.

A handy way to do this is by choosing an AP European history review book. These books are essential tools, especially when it comes to understanding the historical context while also practicing AP test-taking strategies.

But there are tons of AP Euro prep books out there. So, what’s the best AP European history review book out there? We narrowed it down to eight worthy options.

Best AP European History Prep Books

1. Barron’s AP European History Premium, 10th Edition

A versatile prep book ideal for cramming or daily studying.

Publisher: Barron’s Test Prep

Year: 2020

Number of pages: 712

Our final grade: A+

“Barron’s AP European History Premium” is an excellent choice for different types of students. It doesn’t matter if you’re cramming for the exam or studying with plenty of time left — this prep book is versatile enough that any AP Euro student can use and benefit from it.

It’s a wholly useful (and affordable) option for anyone, and it can be paired with Barron’s AP Euro flashcards for extra practice.

However, this prep book is a bit hefty, and as such, some of the sections are written in a way that can be difficult to understand.

Pros

  • The charts included help summarize need-to-know events that took place during Europe’s extensive history.
  • After each chapter, there are many ways for students to review what they just read, including short-answer, multiple-choice, and essay questions with answers.
  • There are five full-length practice exams to help students get used to the AP European history exam’s format.

Cons

  • The verbiage used in passages isn’t as conversational as it could be and is difficult to understand in some parts.

2. Cracking the AP European History Exam Premium, 2020 Edition

An excellent AP Euro prep book created by the tried-and-true Princeton Review.

Publisher: College Test Preparation

Year: 2019

Number of pages: 512

Our final grade: A

In general, The Princeton Review and its AP exam prep guides are a solid choice for any prospective test-taker. But “Cracking the AP European History Exam Premium” is an especially good choice for those studying for the AP European history exam. It has everything you could ever need in an AP prep book: comprehensive material, test-taking strategies based on the type of question, and, of course, practice exams.

There aren’t many downsides to “Cracking the AP European History Exam Premium.” If anything, the content review section could’ve been a bit more detail-oriented.

Pros

  • Each chapter offers a thorough review of the AP European history topics that’ll show up on the exam.
  • This prep book identifies and elaborates on the types of questions you’ll encounter during the exam, so you can better prepare.
  • The five full-length practice exams are challenging, reflective of the level of difficulty found in the actual AP exam.

Cons

  • The content review sectioncould’ve been a bit more detailed.

3. 5 Steps to a 5: AP European History, 2020 Edition

An easy to understand, step-by-step guide to tackling the AP European history exam.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Year: 2019

Number of pages: 352

Our final grade: B+

The “5 Steps to a 5” series is a trusted source for AP students, and it has been for years. For AP European history, the five-step plan includes full-length practice exams and comprehensive topic review. Its coordinated strategy is its best feature, allowing prospective test-takers to master European history in just five steps.

Although there are practice questions and practice exams, “5 Steps to a 5: AP European History” doesn’t have as many opportunities for practice as some of its competitors.

Pros

  • This prep book includes a thorough overview of the AP European history exam’s format, so you’ll know exactly what to expect come exam day.
  • It also comes with a mobile AP planner app that you can use to block out time and organize your study sessions.
  • The step-by-step studying strategy is helpful for students who like more structure during their study sessions.

Cons

  • There could be more opportunities for practice.

4. ASAP European History: A Quick-Review Study Guide for the AP Exam

Ideal for cramming or quick review sessions.

Publisher: College Test Preparation

Year: 2018

Number of pages: 256

Our final grade: B

“ASAP European History” is the procrastinator’s saving grace. It’s perfect for students who are cramming before the exam or who only need a few concise study sessions. This prep book covers all the vital concepts and details you’ll need to know while ensuring you won’t get too bogged down in the details.

Its only downfall is the lack of small details that some students want while studying AP Euro.

Pros

  • This prep book hasa guide to help students prioritize their studyingby identifying what they must, should and could learn in the time before the exam.
  • The book gives students plenty of visuals in the form of maps, charts, and graphs, to better explain key topics.
  • There are also “ask yourself” questions aimed to highlight areas or topics that you might want to spend a little extra time reviewing.

Cons

  • This prep book isn’t as useful for students who want as much detail as possible when reviewing.

5. AP European History Crash Course, Third Edition

A quick but comprehensive guide to AP European History.

Publisher: Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course

Year: 2020

Number of pages: 384

Our final grade: B-

If you’re crunched for time, “AP European History Crash Course” is a safe bet. It’s organized clearly, so you’ll be able to jump from section to section without getting confused. You can rest assured knowing the information in this prep book is information you’ll need to know — there’s no added fluff or extra details.

The book’s narrow focus is a surefire way to hone in on only the most essential events and historical dates you’ll need to know for the exam.

However, there are not many opportunities for practice. If you’re looking for extensive content and details surrounding European history, this probably isn’t the type of prep book for you.

Pros

  • There’s no fluff — this prep book gets straight to the point and has a narrow focus on only the information you’ll need for the AP exam.
  • The test-taking strategies included are tried-and-true and aid students in all sections of the AP exam.
  • There’s a full-length practice exam offered online.

Cons

  • There are no added details, so the material isn’t as comprehensive as other options.
  • This prep book also doesn’t have as many test-taking resources.

6. CliffsNotes AP European History Cram Plan, New Edition

An organized way to make a study plan and stick to it.

Publisher: CliffsNotes Paper

Year: 2017

Number of pages: 304

Our final grade: B-

This option is the best for students who’d like to prioritize their studying sessions based on how long they have before their exam date. The study calendars included are most helpful for this, but “CliffsNotes AP European History Cram Plan” is also a quick way to review the subject material.

However, this prep book isn’t the best option for students who want all the details or need a more thorough review. It also only has one real practice exam, which could be a problem for some.

Pros

  • This prep book includes an initial diagnostic exam to illuminate a student’s strengths and weaknesses with regards to test-taking.
  • There’s also a helpful 2-month and 1-month study calendar to organize your study sessions into a particular time frame.
  • The subject reviews also have end-of-chapter quizzes and test-taking tips.

Cons

  • This prep book only has one full-length practice exam, which isn’t enough for some students.
  • It’s also not as comprehensive as other options.

7. Achiever Exam Prep Guide for AP European History

The prep book doubles as both a guide to the AP European history course and AP exam.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Year: 2016

Number of pages: 416

Our final grade: C+

“Achiever Exam Prep Guide for AP European History” is a versatile option for AP Euro students. This book outlines both the actual course and the exam, making it a valuable tool for those taking AP Euro. Although it’s very comprehensive with its content material, this prep book does give readers tips and tricks to use on the exam.

That being said, “Achiever Exam Prep Guide for AP European History” is significantly more expensive than its competitors. If you’re just planning to use this prep book for a quick cramming session, it’s best to go with another option.

Pros

  • This prep book is extremely detailed, providing students with both an overview of the AP Euro course and exam.
  • There are plenty of tips and strategies to help students get the highest score they can while maintaining a calm demeanor during the test.
  • Every chapter includes AP-style questions to prepare students for the level of difficulty that actual AP European history questions will present.

Cons

  • This prep book is more expensive than its competitors, which can hinder students who can’t spend more than $15 on a review book.

8. Sterling Test Prep AP European History: Complete Content Review for AP Exam, 2020

An extensive outline that can be used for review or a supplemental text.

Publisher: Sterling Test Prep

Year: 2017

Number of pages: 566

Our final grade: C

This review book is all about AP European content review. The material is laid out in an organized, clear way so students will be able to use it during or outside of class.

However, “Sterling Test Prep AP European History” does come with some downfalls. For starters, it doesn’t have an index, which can be a challenge for students trying to study the material efficiently. It doesn’t have many opportunities for practice, and on top of that, it’s a bit more expensive, too.

Pros

  • With this prep book, the focus is narrow, prioritizing content review above all else.
  • This book acts as an extensive outline for AP European history.
  • The book’s layout is organized and easy to read.

Cons

  • When purchased new, this prep book is also on the expensive side.
  • This option doesn’t have many clear-cut opportunities for practice.

FAQ

What should I look for in an AP European History prep book?

The AP European History exam differs from other tests because it’s mostly made up of document-based, short answer questions (DBQs) and essay questions. It would be helpful to ensure your AP Euro prep book covers both the format of the exam and offers a sufficient amount of essay and DBQ practice.

Also read: AP World History Test Prep Courses & Books

What are some other materials that might help prepare me for my AP exam?

In addition to an AP European history review book, you might consider looking into flashcards and review guides for the 2020-21 exam. These are both helpful, supplemental materials that’ll help you get the score you want on your upcoming exam.

You may also be interested in: 8 Best AP United States History Prep Books

I only have one month before my exam — is it too late for me?

Definitely not. A handful of AP European history review books are actually tailored to students who might have procrastinated or only have a short period of time before their exam. These prep books prioritize certain essential information and help you find a study schedule that works for you. If you’re planning to cram for the AP Euro exam, just remember to get a prep book that supports that style of studying.


Final Thoughts

AP European history covers a lot of ground. Studying events that occurred anywhere from 1450 to the present day can seem overwhelming. But studying for the AP Euro exam doesn’t have to be stressful.

Pick a prep book that works for you and your study habits. You’ll be glad you put in the work come exam day.

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Brett Gordon
 

Founder of ExamCave.com