3 Best AP Japanese Language & Culture Exam Prep Books (2022)

Best AP Japanese Language Study Books

Preparation for the AP Japanese exam is no small task. It would help if you dedicated hours of intentional focus on the lessons, strategies, and practice tests necessary to help you succeed on test day. This process all starts with finding a quality AP Japanese Language and Culture Prep book. You need a prep book that compliments your study style and helps you retain information most effectively.

Our goal is to provide you with the necessary research on AP prep materials so that you can make an educated purchasing decision. We go in-depth on the top three prep books online right now, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as our overall grade and ranking. We also leave you with an FAQ section, which seeks to answer the most asked questions from test-takers.

Reviews of the Best AP Japanese Prep Books

1. Dekiru! AP Japanese Preparation Course

Dekiru! AP Japanese Preparation Course delivers a comprehensive blueprint for experienced Japanese students who want to score high on the AP exam.

Publisher: Cheng & Tsui

Year: 2017

Number of Pages: 486

Our Final Grade: A-

The Dekiru! AP Japanese Preparation course was created by the bestselling authors who started the Dekiru! Series. Experienced students will find focused practice exercises in speaking, listening, writing, and reading. The goal of this prep book is to fully simulate the AP exam with its engaging, interactive exercises. These fun events include text chat, compare and contrast questions, and listening skills.

On top of the grammar and vocabulary practice, there are 20 lessons on Japanese culture. You can set yourself up for success on the AP exam’s cultural component, gaining insights on festivals, media, technology, and others. Another key feature of this prep book is the vast list of 410 kanji definitions, readings, and examples that you will run into.


  • Full list of kanji and relevant exercises help you feel fully prepared for that section
  • The simulation of tasks and questions helps to mirror the test accurately
  • Targeted practice format helps you to master the subject fully


  • If you are someone with limited experience in Japanese, this may not be the best option.

2. Strive for a 5: AP Japanese Practice Tests (Hiromi Peterson)

Strive for a 5: AP Japanese Practice tests provide you with a robust set of practice tests and resources to help students of all levels get ready for the big test.

Publisher: Cheng & Tsui

Year: 2009

Number of Pages: 304

Our Final Grade: B+

Strive for a 5 AP Japanese prep book sets the bar high with 20 practice tests, which refines your skills in vocabulary, grammar, kanji, and other concepts for the AP exam. This book also prepares you well for the cultural component of the test because it provides comprehensive notes on a collection of 20 topics. There is also periodic advice from experienced teachers on how to navigate the exam.

You do not need to go in a specific order through this book, but you can choose which section you want to tackle first. There are many chapters of the book that cover writing, reading, listening, and speaking. The book also provides a full answer key for when you are testing yourself or planning your studying. If you want to learn through audio, the package also includes complimentary, downloadable recordings.


  • The prep book includes a higher than average number of practice tests
  • There are detailed sections for many cultural topics
  • The audio component is included with the package


  • Consumers state that there are a few small errors that a native Japanese person would notice.

3. The Handbook of Japanese Verbs

The Handbook of Japanese Verbs provides a full, comprehensive course on mastering the most critical Japanese verbs.

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2015

Number of Pages: 500

Our Final Grade: B-

Not only will the Handbook of Japanese verbs prepare you well for the AP exam’s grammar and vocabulary skills, but it also equips you for Japanese society! You will find over 4100 synonyms and 2800 verbs in this insightful reference book. These terms are ordered and structured based on how often you use them, which allows you to comprehend how to speak in Japanese fully.

You can also put these verbs into practice with the 2600 Japanese sentences, including translations in English. If you want to test your reading knowledge, there are expansive review sections to help you out. You can also experience conjugation charts for verbs, an overview chapter for recalling vocabulary and practice charts to track your ability to write.


  • The book also includes about 4300 definitions and expressions in English
  • There are ample review sections to test your knowledge and prepare for the AP exam
  • There is an expansive list of verbs, phrases, and definitions


  • The book is more of a supplemental resource and does not cover all parts of the exam.


When does the AP Japanese Language and Culture Exam take place?

The AP Japanese Language and Culture exam usually get administered in the early part of May.

How much time should I budget to prepare for the AP exam?

Depending on your already-existing Japanese proficiency level, you usually want to set aside 1-2 months of focused preparation for the exam. You should also schedule 1-2 weeks of final review and question-asking.

What characters am I allowed to use for the written response questions?

Students can utilize hiragana, katakana, and kanji appropriately when providing a written response.

How does the AP exam test for cultural knowledge?

Students will need to address a combination of audio and print texts in the exam, which require a comprehension of Japanese culture.


The AP Japanese test is challenging, but you can defeat it with excellent resources and a driven mindset. As you can see, there are a variety of prep book options suited for your study style. It is up to you to define how you want to study, how much time you want to commit, and what score you wish to achieve. It all starts with belief, and the prep book is your tool to dominate the AP exam.

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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.