Best AP Macroeconomics Books – 2020 Exam

Scoring a five in your AP Macroeconomics exam might seem difficult, but it is not impossible! With the right guidance and proper resources, you can certainly fare well in this exam, even if you're one of those self-studying students who forgot about the AP Marco exam until a month before. 😉 

The Ultimate AP Macroeconomics Prep List

Some of the books below are a better fit for those who are taking the class and are looking for additional practice. Others are best for self-studying. Make sure you get the book that's right for your needs!

Barron’s AP Macroeconomics follows an extremely detailed approach while familiarizing students with the nitty-gritty of macroeconomics. 

As with other books from Barron, this one comes with review materials along with a set of useful practice tests. The review materials cover vital concepts like supply and demand, consumer choice as a theory, the structures of the market, economic growth, financial policies, inflation, national income, GDP, determination of interest rate and more. 

The book also comes with two full-length practice tests (one about Macroeconomics and another about microeconomics) touching upon every important test question. The questions are supplemented by detailed answers and explanations. Note that these tests are online and can be conveniently accessed from the tablet, smartphone, or laptop of the student.

As with other study materials from Barron, the defining aspect of this book lies in the complexity of the questions. Unlike common guidelines that include a set of superficial questions, this book only includes questions that are relevant to the course. In some cases, the questions are more complex than the actual questions featured in the AP Macroeconomics exam. This way, students get to prepare more efficiently for their upcoming exam. 

Barron's AP Macroeconomics has received rave reviews from students and educators alike. So, we would recommend this book for everyone who is looking to familiarize themselves with the tough concepts of this challenging subject. Since the book includes both review materials and questions, students can thoroughly assess themselves after completing it. 

Pros

  • Follows a detailed and thorough approach.
  • Covers vital topics like the determination of interest rates, national income, the structures of market, demand, and supply, and more.
  • Includes a set of useful AP questions for both micro and macroeconomics.
  • Features free-response and MCQ questions at the concluding section of every chapter. 

Cons

  • Some users have found the review materials to be unnecessarily condensed.

If you’re a time-crunched student who’s looking to ace the AP macroeconomics exam, REA’s Crash Course is a perfect pick! 

Tailored for the last-minute crammer, this book helps recapitulate every essential macroeconomics topic that is likely to be tested on the exam.

It is based on a detailed analysis of the AP Macroeconomics course outline as well as the important AP-tests. It excludes all extraneous information, allowing you to focus only on the things that you'll 'actually' need in your exam.

One of the biggest highlights of this book is its simple and easy-to-approach format. Since the author uses simple examples and easy-to-grasp language, understanding the complex course concepts become easier. Some of the important concepts included in this book are economic growth and performance, global trade and finances, determination of price, inflation, unemployment and more. In a bid to make things simpler for beginners, the author has also added the important formulas and definitions that are required in your AP exam. 

Other useful additions of this book are the useful test strategies and the AP practice exam. The test-taking strategies are detailed question-level guidelines about answering the MCQs and free-response questions. The author shares some tried-and-tested methods for framing better answers that are likely to fetch you more marks. The AP practice exam is equally useful. Following a timed-testing approach, this exam includes detailed questions, answers, and explanations. Since the scoring analysis is automatic, you get to evaluate yourself instantly. We were also impressed by the fact that this test follows a balanced approach by adding every important concept and question as found in your ‘actual’ AP test. 

So, whether you’re looking for some guidance at the last minute or an additional review to prepare better; this book will exceed your expectations in every department. 

Pros

  • Ideal for students who require last-minute assistance.
  • Includes important AP macroeconomics concepts like unemployment, inflation, economic growth and more.
  • It comes with a set of useful test-taking strategies that help frame your answers better.
  • The free AP exam included in this book follows a balanced approach in the choice of questions.

Cons

  • Some concepts of this book are unnecessary and superficial.

You can never go wrong with study materials from Princeton Review, and Cracking the AP Macroeconomics Exam is yet another best-selling book that lives up to the publisher’s name. 

Unlike other books, this review material includes guidelines for both the micro and macro-economic exams. It comes with two full-length practice tests along with explanations and content reviews. To simplify your study woes, the authors have also included targeted strategies for every type of question. 

The strategies alone are one of the biggest features of this book. Unlike other techniques, these are tried-and-tested for avoiding traps and getting the highest score. As a part of these strategies, you also come across some useful guidelines pacing yourself and guessing more logically. When you finally pair them up with the overall course review, you end up studying faster and better.

As with other AP macroeconomics books, Cracking the AP Macroeconomics exam features detailed content reviews for both micro and macroeconomics topics like demand, supply, inflation and the likes of them. Unlike any other content review guide, this book also includes a set of important charts and figures that help to illustrate the market conditions, theories, and market trends. We were also impressed by the engaging drills that help save time on the MCQ section of every exam. 

Once you buy this book, you also get to access the online study plans, a useful list of important terms, and updated information about the upcoming course changes. 

The practice tests are supplemented by well-reasoned answers. Additionally, the book also walks you through some essential, sample questions. Overall, Cracking the Macroeconomics exam offers thorough and glitch-free guidance over this complex course.

Pros

  • Includes useful strategies that help you save time and score better.
  • Each of the questions is supplemented by well-reasoned answers.
  • The practice tests help prepare better with their useful, sample questions.
  • Features charts and figures to assist your understanding.

Cons

  • Since this book is tailored for both macro and microeconomics, some of the details (especially the reviews on microeconomics concepts) might seem extraneous.

As you’d probably guess from the name 5-Steps-to-a-5 is tailored for all those students who are looking to ace their AP Macroeconomics exam with a full score. The book includes practice exams, practice exercises, and a comprehensive review of AP Macroeconomics concepts. Additionally, you can also access useful answer-formatting strategies at the end of every. 

Since this book is compatible across multiple platforms, you will find two full-length exams in the book. The two remaining exams can be accessed online. Next in line is the numerous practice exercises that are substantiated with proper answers. The book also includes a full overview of your Macroeconomics exam format and proven strategies that are relevant for every specific section of your test. The practice questions added with this book are available in both MCQ and free-response formats. This allows you to prepare the course with an exam-centric approach. 

As a bonus, this book also comes with an online preparation course with a set of new and interactive AP exam tests and a fully customized study plan. The study plan includes analytics, a set of progress charts, educational games, flashcards, and everything else that comes in between.
Finally, the biggest highlight of this book is probably the five-step plan. According to this plan, you need to create a solid study plan according to the model schedules and evaluate your readiness by completing an AP-style Macroeconomics exam as the first and second steps.

As a part of the third step, you need to work on the strategies that’ll offer an extra edge during the exam. The fourth step involves reviewing the terms and vital concepts that’ll help boost your score. Finally, the fifth step is all about building your confidence with a set of full-length practice tests.
The book is extremely thorough in terms of approach and we’d surely recommend it for the quality of content. 

Pros

  • Includes steps and strategies that’ll help pull up your score.
  • It comes with multiple practice examinations designed according to the format of the actual AP macroeconomics test.
  • It comes with a bonus, cross-compatible AP exam set with interactive quizzes, games, and flashcards.
  • The review materials are thorough and heavily detailed. 

Cons

  • Since this book includes plenty of details, it might not be the best option for beginners who are still familiarizing themselves with AP macroeconomics.

This is one of those rare AP macroeconomics books that can be accessed on any platform. So, whether you're looking to study the course online or offline; this book allows both. 

In addition to the useful reviews and chapter summaries of important macroeconomics concepts, this book also allows you to customize your test preparation with the free online tools. These tools will evaluate your understanding of the various macroeconomics concepts and pinpoint the areas that require attention.

We also loved the AP macroeconomics strategies that ensure you do not waste time and focus only on the important areas. Once you’re done studying the book, you can diagnose your preparation with the seven chapter-based quizzes at the end of each review section and the two mini-tests (one for macro and another for microeconomics). Since the online tools offer instant score reports, you can personalize your study module across. Review those areas where you need attention and use the online study center for creating a unique set of Macroeconomics flashcards.

In addition to these full-length tests and practice quizzes, the book comes with eight-minute-long online quizzes. You can try them to assess your immediate grasp of the concepts.
This book truly stands out with its flashcards, quizzes, full-length exams, and a whole range of useful macro-economics study resources. 

Pros

  • Easy to grasp and follow.
  • Includes an entire range of study tools that help assess your performance after every chapter.
  • It comes with online and offline quizzes, along with flashcards and interactive games.
  • The study materials can be accessed from every platform. 

Cons

  • While the book offers excellent questions, the quality of the chapter reviews can be improved.
  • Since the book includes questions for both micro and macroeconomics, it can be confusing for beginners. 

AP Macroeconomics Exam Format

The AP Macroeconomics exam lasts for two hours ten minutes and it is categorized into two sections, namely the free response and the MCQ sections. Over the following section, we will offer a brief overview of the exam’s structure.

Section 1

Type: Multiple Choice Questions

Number of Questions: 60

Time: 70 Minutes

Score: 66% of your total exam’s score

These questions are relatively easy to tackle. You can fare better if you have a basic understanding of economics and reasoning.

Section 2

Type: Free-Response Section

Number of Questions: 3

Time: 60 minutes (including a reading period of 10 minutes)

Score: 33% of your exam’s score

Note that the second section includes one long and two short questions. While the long question is worth 50% of the score, the shorter ones hold 25% each. In this section, you will be asked for making logical assertions of vital economic concepts, principles, and more. You might also be asked to define these concepts, make a numerical analysis, or draw a graph.

Guidelines to Follow While Preparing For the AP Macroeconomics Exam

The following are some list of guidelines you should ensure during the AP macroeconomics exam.

  • Since you'll get a 10-minute reading time for the free-response section, utilize this time to frame your answers.
  • While drawing graphs, make sure you also distinctly label them.
  • Avoid restating the question while answering it.
  • Always draw a graph if the question requires you to do so.
  • Avoid using the words ‘maybe’ or 'perhaps' in your free-response question section. 
  • If you are unsure about any concept, explain it to yourself before framing an answer.