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best ap european history books

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Ap Euro

History of Europe

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Educational Resources


What are the best resources for an AP European history test?

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6 Answers

Angela Cheng

Angela Cheng , studied at Brown University

I took AP Euro last year as a sophomore and got a 5. I didnt do a lot of the assigned reading homework my teacher gave, but just paid attention in class and crammed in the end. Heres a list of books I used, and my opinions of them regarding their preparation for the AP exam:

  • Kagan – The Western Heritage – This is the textbook they give you for the class. Completely useless for both my teachers unit tests and the AP exam. Dont bother to read it.
  • Palmer – A History of the Modern World  – Basically, this is a supplementary book they give you in class. Its atrociously long and detailed, so I never bothered to read it too much throughout the year. After the AP exam, I felt it wasnt necessary reading it, but it was useful for the unit tests my teacher was fond of springing on our class.
  • Birdsall Viault – Modern European History – This book is really useful for looking up specific facts and dates quickly because of its organized layout. I didnt use this book a lot because it gets boring and tedious to read really quickly. Also, it does not include a section on modern European affairs (post-Soviet Union). With the increased focus of the exam on the modern time period, I recommend really studying it with the AP Achiever, which does include it.
  • Chris Freiler – AP Achiever – I used this the entire month before the AP exam. Its really useful for cramming in all the lessons you felt you never remembered or bothered to learn. I aimed to read each chapter and do the questions at the end of each chapter in 2 days, so I would get the book done in time. The content in each chapter has helpful, bolded, obscure terms that the AP exam is incredibly fond of dropping in the exam that your teacher has never covered. Its also written in a way that is interesting, and enjoyable(?) to read. Also, I learned to write FRQs and DBQs from this book because my teacher never went through the requirements of writing a high-scoring essay. This book is the one book I recommend. Even if you dont do too much throughout the year, or are looking to self-study, just use this book the weeks leading up to the exam. It totally saved my butt.

That being said, even if you just pay attention in class, youll get at least a 3 or even 4 on the exam. If you aim for a 5, I highly recommend self-studying before the exam with the AP Achiever.

[1] I havent tried the Princeton Review book, but I hear its not quite as detailed or up to date as the AP Achiever. However, I do have a friend who used it and got a 5.

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Marliece Barrios

Marliece Barrios

I took AP Euro last year (as a sophomore) and got a 5. To be completely honest, all I really did was diligently read the book when the teacher assigned the and listened to his lectures. We used the McKay "A History of Western Society" textbook, and it was really easy to follow along. The night before every test, I read the entire chapter(s) out loud in front of my brother or dog, to help myself retain the information. About 1–2 months before the test, I bought a Barrons review book for AP Euro, and read and annotated that. After i finished, I took one of the multiple choice tests (i didnt conduct a full mock test for myself because i was too lazy to write and then grade my essay lol BUT if english is not your greatest strength, i definitely recommend doing so). The night before the test, i revisited my barrons book and re read all my highlights and comments. That was the extent to which I reviewed. Since I was also in AP Chemistry at the time, I placed Euro on the backburner in order to focus on the more challenging class. If I was really unprepared about a certain topic or unprepared, I would watch lecture videos on Youtube (search Ellen Zitani or Tom Richey! Tom is much more well known in the AP history community, but I relied more on Ellen Zitanis lectures as they had a closer resemblence to a real class lecture).

In the end, just know that your score does not define you nor represent your intelligence, from a history standpoint or otherwise. A certain element on this test boils down to luck, and you shouldnt sweat it if you dont get a 5 or even a 4. At the end of the day, enjoy it – if you plan on taking any other AP classes in the future, it doesnt get any better than AP Euro, so just be happy with what you accomplished instead of what you didnt.

Luke Liu

Luke Liu , Entrepreneur

Assuming you are getting in-class instruction and have access to a textbook, the next best thing would be do as many practice questions as possible.

Here is a good resource with over 1000 AP style practice questions:…

A Barrons or Kaplans review book is also always a solid option.

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Adrienne Michelson

Adrienne Michelson , I took AP Chemistry Exam and Course

This sucker. AP European History Crash Course (Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course) (9780738606613): Larry Krieger, Advanced Placement, European History Study Guides: Books Good tips and a lot of important information condensed into a small book!

Jean Seok

Jean Seok , CEO, Learningpod

Learningpod has 300+ free practice questions on AP European History by Kaplan Test Prep. (Go to Browse Topics from the top nav.)

Kevin Li

Kevin Li

The AP Euro test has changed its format from when I took it, which was May 2015. As a result, my answer may not be the most accurate, but my favorite book was the AP® European History Crash Course Book + Online (Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course) (9780738612010): Larry Krieger, Patti Harrold: Books . I crammed through it in one night (not all books are crammable – but this one was succinct) and ended up with a five on the exam and I’d mainly attribute my score to that book.