Best AP Microeconomics Books – May 2021 Exam

AP Microeconomics isn't the simplest subject. Every year, only 20% of students get a 5 and, if you opt to self-study, your chances are even lower (especially if you're starting super late.)

However, don't worry! You can still get a 5 with the help of the best AP Microeconomics books listed below.

The Ultimate AP Microeconomics Prep List

As you read through the AP Microeconomics books below, ask yourself what you need them for. Are you looking for additional review material to complement your AP classes? Or do you need to actually learn all the basic economic concepts by yourself?

Different books will have different features. Keep an eye out for full length practice tests and practice drills, detailed explanations and self study tips. All of these things will help you improve your overall exam score.

crash course AP Microeconomics

Let’s face it: AP Microeconomics is not an easy subject and there is no simple way to prepare for the exam. Luckily, the AP Microeconomics Crash Course addresses this issue and helps you prepare better.

Designed for students who are struggling to manage their time, this Crash Course review book will help you memorize the most important concepts that are most likely to come up in your exam.

The AP Microeconomics Crash Course book was created through a detailed analysis of the AP Microeconomics course. This means you'll find test questions similar to the actual AP Microeconomics exam. You'll only have to study the areas that are likely to be tested in the exam - these deserve your attention the most.

In addition to covering important concepts, the AP Microeconomics Crash Course book features the definitions and formulas that are required for the exam.

A huge highlight of this review guide is that it comes with incredibly useful self study and test-taking strategies. In this section, you'll find some great guidelines to help you tackle complex questions.

Additionally, the AP Microeconomics Crash Course book will teach you how to approach the MCQs and free-response questions. Since the guidelines are created by real teachers, you're bound to get a higher exam score. 

Finally, you also get access to a free online practice test when you purchase this book. The free exam involves timed testing that allows you to prepare. The questions are highly balanced, covering every important topic of the exam.

So, whether you need some last-minute guidance or are simply willing to prepare better for your big exam, this is the best AP Crash Course book to help you with both. 


  • Covers the most important topics for your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam
  • Includes definitions of vital concepts and formulas
  • Online access to a free online practice test
  • The tests included in this book follow a balanced approach to covering every important topic
  • It comes with expert guidance from professional teachers


  • Being a crash course, the book misses out on the details while explaining some important concepts
barrons ap microeconomics macroeconomics

When it comes to study resources for the AP Microeconomics exam, you can never go wrong with Barron. This is another useful resource from a trusted publisher, catered towards the test-takers of micro and macroeconomics. 

This prep book covers important microeconomics topics, such as monopsony, national income, market structures, unemployment, and more. Get all the information you need in a comprehensive content review.

Additionally, it also includes full-length AP microeconomics mock exams to help you understand your overall performance. And the best part? You can get online access these practice tests via your tablet, PC, smartphone, or any other device. This way, you have the complete flexibility to take the test exactly when you want to. 

In addition to these tests, this Barron's test prep book also includes exam-taking strategies that help formulate your answers better.

This review book is an excellent resource for anyone who’s looking to ace the AP Microeconomics test. 


  • Easy and simple format
  • Includes useful test-taking strategies
  • The online tests can be accessed via any device
  • Covers every relevant topic for your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam


  • It doesn't include flashcards or interactive games
  • Some details included in the book might seem redundant
5 steps to a 5 ap Microeconomics

As you’d probably guess from the name, 5 Steps to a 5 is specifically tailored to help you secure a full exam score in your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam. The review book doesn’t just review the vital AP microeconomics concepts, but it also comes with useful questionnaires that help you evaluate your performance and preparation. 

Since the book is aligned with the latest syllabus of the upcoming AP Microeconomics test, you don't miss out on the important details either. It is a comprehensive guide, covering every topic that requires your attention. 

The underlining factor of this book is that it comes with cross-platform compatibility. That means you don’t just get access to the physical copies of the AP tests but are also granted access to the digital formats. So, when you finally get the book, you have the flexibility to study it in your home or anywhere else you deem fit. 

As previously mentioned, 5 Steps to a 5 includes four practice exams. While two of them are readily available with the book, two other practice tests can be accessed online.

As a part of the course, you also get an AP planner and useful flashcards. The AP planner is tailored to help you manage your time better. Alternatively, the flashcards help recapitulate the most important concepts of your AP Microeconomics course. Note that the AP planner is fully customizable and can be tweaked according to your study schedule. The flashcards are also incredibly interactive, thereby driving you to study longer.

Along with these nifty additions, you will also find fun games and a powerful analytics tool that helps assess your exam readiness.

Overall, this is one of the best AP Microeconomics for your AP exam, and it has been consistently lauded by parents and educators alike. 


  • The book is aligned with your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam format
  • Includes four practice tests
  • It comes with cross-platform availability
  • Includes a useful AP planner, flashcards, games, an AP analytics tool, and more


  • The book is heavily detailed and isn’t the best option if you are just starting with the course

The Principles of AP Microeconomics is a comprehensive textbook that has been widely recommended by the AP College Board.

This is the best AP Microeconomics review book for everyone who has already used a review guide and is now looking to go the extra mile with an additional resource. 

The unique aspect of this book is that it includes concepts and examples that are similar to real-life scenarios. Unlike other AP Microeconomics review books and textbooks, it doesn't include any arbitrary insight. Instead, it offers to-the-point analysis into the economic matters that the AP test examines. Owing to the examples and the book’s overall structure, it's specifically ideal for your free-response questions.

Finally, this book is also widely popular because its digital format is essentially free. You can download the Kindle or PDF version without paying any extra charge. Alternatively, you can also access it for free on the website of Openstax. 


  • Useful and highly detailed guide
  • Includes real-life examples that are easier to understand
  • It comes with the important formulas that are asked in the actual exam
  • The digital format can be downloaded free of cost
  • Especially good for the free-response section


  • The book might appear complex to some high school students due to its heavy reliance on details
  • It doesn’t include any full-length mock exam

AP Microeconomics Exam Structure

If you're taking the Macroeconomics exam (or have already taken it), you'll find the Microeconomics test very similar in terms of format. 

As with the AP Macroeconomics exam, the AP Microeconomics exam can be classified into two categories. They are as listed below:

Section 1

Type: Multiple Choice

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Exam Score: 67%

This section is made up of multiple choice questions. You will get points for every correct answer, and there’s no negative marking for incorrect or skipped answers.

Section 2

Type: Free Response

Time: 1 hour

Exam Score: 33%

The questions in this section are open-ended. They often come with subsequent terms, indicating the way you should answer the question. We've shared some quick details about these key terms below to help you impress the College Board.

Show: This means you will need to supplement your answer with a properly labeled diagram.

Explain: As evident from the term, you will need to use a combination of multiple sentences for conveying complex concepts.

Identify: For this, you will need to give specific answers without any written explanation.

Calculate: These questions require you to arrive at specific numerical responses. Note that you will have to show your calculation so that your examiner can assess how you’ve arrived at a specific conclusion.

Study Tips for the AP Microeconomics Exam

The AP Microeconomics exam isn’t as difficult as most students presume it to be. On the contrary, it's quite simple if you follow a proper and structured format while answering the questions. For students who are just getting started, here are some useful AP Microeconomics exam tips that’ll help you fare better.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Very often, even the best AP Microeconomics students fail to secure a full score on the AP exam because of common and (almost) inane mistakes. Here are some tips to avoid them:

  • Understand the distinctive differences between demand and change in the demanded quantity.
  • Repeatedly revise the concept of diminishing returns.
  • Understand the difference between monopoly and competition.
  • Focus on the concepts of tax incidence.
  • Understand the difference between a single price monopoly and the determination of price.
  • Revise your concepts about marginal revenue in the instance of monopoly.

Use Flashcards

Text books are better for reviewing materials over memorizing concepts - even the best AP Microeconomics review book won't keep it in your brain.

If you want to remember all the key concepts asked in your AP Microeconomics exam, it's best to use flashcards. While some of our suggested resources come with flashcards, you can also make your own for better retention. Remember, jotting down a concept in your own handwriting will help you to understand and memorize it better.

We recommend using these in combination with one of the best AP Microeconomics books listed above.

Watch Review Videos

Studying course materials from Microeconomics review books are great, but they are often not enough. If you’re really looking to go the extra mile, watch videos of these review materials. 

Some books include videos where the same review concepts are repeated for better retention. However, if your chosen book doesn’t have this feature, resort to YouTube for quality video guides. Either way, watching these videos after studying the review guide is imperative for better memorization and retention.

Review the Vital Graphs

You probably know that a significant part of AP Microeconomics is based on assessing graphs of vital concepts. Since these graphs carry good scores, it's important to study them well. While preparing for your exam, study the following graphs:

  • The curves about production possibility and typical cost
  • Positive and negative externality graphs
  • Profit and monopoly graphs
  • Labor market curves
  • Monopsony curve

Follow Microeconomics Social Media Pages

You don't just have to use AP Microeconomics books or study materials as a resource. Most students spend a significant chunk of their time on social media. Luckily, you can use this time to your advantage by following pages about AP Microeconomics. This way, every time you scroll down your timeline or feed, you'll find something related to the course. Most of these pages also inform and update you about the test dates and useful test guidelines.

Review the Formulas

When it comes to faring well in the AP Microeconomics exam, it's important to review the formulas. This is primarily because the formulas will be asked both in the free-response and the multiple-choice question section. So, whether it’s the formulas about marginal cost or the ones about marginal revenue or supply electricity, make it a point to memorize them all.

Use Online Guides

While AP Microeconomics review books and video guides are certainly useful, you'll also find other online guides that are specially tailored for your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam.

If you’re really looking to fare well, use these online guides and focus on the areas that truly deserve your attention. This way, you get a better and comprehensive preparation that helps you stay prepared for the toughest AP exam.

You may also be able to find online tests and questions to help you prepare.

Understand the Structure

This goes without saying. Unless you study and understand the structure of the exam, you'll never get to strategize your answers accordingly. So, take some time to study the question pattern. This way, you will understand which areas to tackle first.

Full length practice tests are an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the actual exam format. Make sure to invest in a Microeconomics prep book that includes at least one practice test. (The best AP Microeconomics review books will contain more or offer access to online tests.)

Practice with Mock Tests

This is something we touched on above, but we can't stress how important mock tests are. If you’re looking to get a straight five, it's essential to complete mock tests.

Since these tests are timed and structured according to the actual AP Microeconomics exam, they will ensure you're better prepared on the actual day of the test. Ideally, you should practice at least one mock for each chapter and one for the entire exam. A full length practice exam test is always better, but practice questions will help you to improve your overall exam score too.