5 Best AP Lang Review Book 2019

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Even if you don’t intend on going into the humanities, taking AP Lang would prove to be beneficial for your college career. This Advanced Placement course will help you write essays better which can then help you gain a steady footing in your academic journey. To ace this class, however, you might need the help of the best AP Lang review book.

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

  • Friendly price
  • Extensive content including a complete overview of the course and exam coverage
  • Contains sample student essays and critiques

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

  • Fantastic price
  • Easy to digest content
  • Well-rounded

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

  • Contains actual AP Lang essay prompts used in the previous years’ exams
  • Concise discussion of all the topics that will be covered in the exam
  • Focuses on the different portions of the exam and how to take each on

How do you find the best supplemental material for this course? Let this quick guide help you.

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best AP Lang Review Book

Officially known as AP English Language and Composition and can also be referred to as AP English or AP Comp, AP Lang is described as college-level “rhetoric and writing curriculum”. Like other AP courses, it’s an entry-level and pre-requisite course for more advanced college English courses. It will also let you earn free college credits if you scored 4 or higher on the AP Lang exam. This course can be offered to high school juniors or seniors, depending on the school.

Being one of the most popular AP courses today, you might be wondering whether you should get take this course or not. It might not make sense if you’re not planning on going into the liberal arts but it can still be a very useful class if you want to write top-notch essays in college.

Due to the nature of its curriculum, your writing, analyzing, and research skills will be honed and improved in this class. It aims to teach students to better evaluate, synthesize, and argue their ideas in writing. Such skills will prove to be very useful for other courses, so by learning them in high school, you’ll gain a steady footing in taking on advanced college courses.

Despite its focus on writing, you’ll also need to do a lot of reading in AP Lang. This is possibly more taxing and time-consuming for some students, so you have to be ready for this challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t need to drown in readings if you want to ace this course. The best AP Lang study guides will be able to assist and simplify the process for you.

But since not all review books are made equally, you might need some help to find the right title for your needs. For this, we’ve rounded up a few tips to help you get the right supplemental material that can help you crush the AP Language and Composition exam. Check them out below:

Find out what others used and what they can recommend.

How you fare in AP Lang depend largely on your skills but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a tip or two from others who took the course before you. Their experience can teach you a thing or two about which review materials worked well for their skill set, work ethics, and class conditions. While yours may not completely match, you can still tell whether what worked for them will work for you, too.

Try to learn about their content.

Some review guides will have more extensive and useful content than others so it’s crucial that you look into this detail when searching for the best title for your preparations. It shouldn’t be too hard to learn about this detail, however, as a lot of reviews will tell you about the focus and highlights of a specific book’s content.

Look for something with a good balance of content, practice materials, and AP Lang tips. This way, you can be sure that you’ll get to cover your bases when preparing for the big day.

In terms of information presentation, you should also try to look for a title that you can understand. Despite being designed to help you understand the course better, not all of them might do a good job in the delivery of the information. So be very particular about how the book is written.

Product Reviews: 5 of the Best AP Lang Review Books Today

To make your search for the best AP Lang review book, we’ve also rounded up five great titles that a lot of former students found useful and helpful. Check them out below and you might not need to look further to get the supplemental material you need.

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

As many would expect, the Barron’s AP English Language and Composition Seventh Edition tops this list of the best AP Lang books. Why not when the publisher is best known for its great comprehensive content, affordable price, and good design? You can expect all of that in this AP Lang review book and more.

A highly-recommended title for AP Lang students, this Barron’s review book is said to offer everything you need in a supplemental material for the said course. It’s quite thorough in covering the topics and concepts that are discussed in the course so you can be sure that it will be helpful if you need to brush up on them before the day of the AP Lang test.

This is possibly why a lot of people consider this as a good title to help you with the AP Language essay section. Lots of users say that it can help you improve your writing, so if you feel like you need to focus on that area, this can be of help.

Its practice AP Lang FRQs are challenging enough to really test the knowledge you’ve picked up from the class. It also contains sample essays with critiques, so you’ll be able to compare and self-evaluate your work as well as determine whether it’s already good enough to get good scores.

There are divided opinions when it comes to how this book helps in the multiple choice portion of the test but it might still be very useful because of the amount of its content. With its 5 full-length practice exams and one additional online exam, it can already grill you enough to prepare you for the exam.

The only downside to this title is its large amount o content. A lot of users say that it contains way more than what the exam covers. This might leave you confused and affect your study coverage, so you have to be careful when using it. However, it might still prove to be useful if you would like to become more prepared for more advanced college English courses.

Things We Liked

  • Friendly price
  • Extensive content including a complete overview of the course and exam coverage
  • Contains sample student essays and critiques
  • Lots of practice material

Things We Didn't Like

  • Covers more than what will be on the AP English exam

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Next to Barron’s, Princeton Review is another popular publisher of review materials. This is why Cracking the AP English Language & Composition Exam is another expected entry into this list. Some students even hail this as the top AP Language exam review book for many different reasons so it’s certainly worth looking into.

There are two things that this title is best known for, however. First is its low price. It’s very affordable so you really shouldn’t hesitate giving it a shot. Combined with its great content, it’s definitely worth shelling out for.

Second is its very concise format. It’s designed to be very easy to use when brushing up on the topics and concepts that are going to be on the exam. Some students were even able to use it as a last-minute reviewer as the information it contains is laid out in a very simple manner that makes it perfect for cramming sessions.

Despite its concise manner of depicting concepts and topics, it’s still capable of providing an in-depth summary of the subject. It’s just that it puts more emphasis on the very topics that you need to pay attention to, allowing you to prioritize the information that you need to process to get ready for the exam.

While lots of users find it very useful for the multiple choice portion of the exam, it also contains handy tips on how to improve your writing style and composition. So if you don’t think you’re a natural writer, this review book might still be useful for you.  

With two full-length practice tests, you can also easily grill yourself ready for the actual exam. Some folks don’t find it enough but since there are lots of good sources for practice tests, this shouldn’t really be an issue. With this book’s price, this limitation shouldn’t be too surprising.

Things We Liked

  • Fantastic price
  • Easy to digest content
  • Well-rounded
  • Challenging practice test questions

Things We Didn't Like

  • Only has 2 practice tests

Editor's Rating:

4.5/5

Every English and literature student knows this publisher so it also shouldn’t be too surprising to find the CliffsNotes AP English Language and Composition, 4th Edition on this list. As most of the other CliffsNotes’ AP review materials are also steadily gaining attention lately, it shouldn’t be surprising that this one is getting popular, too.

What makes this title a very good pick is its very focused approach in presenting concepts and topics for AP Lang. It will only discuss the things that will come out in the exam so you don’t need to get overloaded with unnecessary information. It will cover the most crucial topics like the AP Lang synthesis essay, AP Lang argument essay, and a whole lot of others without making students feel like they’re drowning in concepts.

Another strength of this study guide is its well-crafted practice exams and its use of actual essay prompts from the previous years’ AP Lang exams. With such content, it also aims to help build your confidence in taking the exam.

Some people, however, feel like this book is more like an exam preparation material instead of a review book because it has an extensive discussion on the AP Lang exam format and how you should tackle them. Because of this, you might find it more useful as an additional supplemental material instead.

Things We Liked

  • Contains actual AP Lang essay prompts used in the previous years’ exams
  • Concise discussion of all the topics that will be covered in the exam
  • Focuses on the different portions of the exam and how to take each on

Things We Didn't Like

  • No online content

Editor's Rating:

4.3/5

Those who need a step-by-step guide to get their target score should check out the 5 Steps to a 5: AP English Language 2019. Like the other titles in this series, this study guide covers everything you need to effectively ace your AP exam with a well-organized approach.

The most notable thing about this book is that it provides an overview of the topics that will come out in the exam. This makes it easier to plan your attack in order to cover every topic. It also contains many tips and strategies on how to better understand and remember the topics in each chapter. Top it all off with 6 challenging practice tests and you can be sure that it can help you prepare for the big day.

What some people note, however, is that the book’s actual informational content about the subject is quite sparse. This is why it’s recommended to use it only as a review book and not as your only supplemental material.

Things We Liked

  • Lots of practice materials included
  • Complements coursework effectively
  • Makes creating an effective study plan easier

Things We Didn't Like

  • Informational content is quite limited

Editor's Rating:

4.2/5

The AP LANG. FOR STUDENTS and their teachers: A No Nonsense Guide for AP English Language and Composition Essay Writing is more like a writing manual for this AP course’s students than an actual study guide for the overall exam. So if you think you need more help in the AP English Language and Composition free response portion, this might be of help. 

Created for both students and teachers, this title offers a comprehensive approach to developing a student’s essay writing skills. It also contains actual student essay samples, some of which are even graded, making it a more reliable instructional manual for those who want to improve their writing style and composition skills.

With this book, you might also be able to better understand the AP Lang essay rubric. This can help you better plan how to study for the course’s exam since it can tell you how to boost your scores.

Things We Liked

  • Can help improve your writing skills
  • Made for both students and instructors
  • Very useful for teachers

Things We Didn't Like

  • Selection of essay samples can be improved