Barron’s AP World History by John McCannon

Rating: 4/5 stars.

I read this book. Literally. From front to back. All 504 pages.

I feel the need to review this because I read it like I would have read any other book – except for annotating, taking the practice tests, etc. I was enrolled in AP World History from 2010-2011, got an A in the course, and received a 5 on the exam (I’m not bragging, just including the information so people know where I’m coming from).

This review book is lengthy. It’s sort of like a second textbook. There is a lot of specific information that didn’t show up on the exam, and some random facts I didn’t even learn in my AP World History class itself. The sheer depth of the material in this book is its only major downside.

However, in contrast to the the saying “less is more”, it’s probably better to know more facts (even if some of them are unnecessary) than not enough facts for the AP exam. If you’re crunched for time you can always skim the chapter overviews which provide a decent summary of the information in each section.

The practice tests in the back of the book are helpful as well. After completing each test, I went back and annotated every question I got wrong. There are also practice essays you can write.

A lot of people ask whether to buy this book or Princeton Review. From what I’ve gathered through my friends who used Princeton and my personal experience with Barron’s, it seems that Princeton is more concise while Barron’s is more verbose. Some of my friends complained that Princeton was too streamlined and didn’t have practice essays (not sure if that’s true though), while others niggled that Barron’s had too much to get through.

I know people who got 5’s using Barron’s, and I know people who got 5’s using Princeton. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, and the fact that you’re utilizing the review book to study is already a good sign.

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

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