Best AP Microeconomics Books – May 2021 Exam

AP Microeconomics isn't the simplest subject, but people love self-studying for it. Every year only ~20% of students get a 5 and if you're self-studying your chances are even lower (especially if you're starting super late.)

However, do not fret. You can still get a 5 with the help of the books listed below!

The Ultimate AP Microeconomics Prep List

As you look at the books below keep in mind what you need the book for. Is it some additional review after your class or do you need to actually learn all of the concepts by yourself?

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 the students who are struggling to manage their time, this crash course helps you memorize the most important concepts that are most likely to be tested in your exam.
Since this crash course is created after conducting a detailed analysis of the AP Microeconomics course, you will find questions in a similar format as the actual AP microeconomics test questions. This way, you only study the areas that deserve your attention and are likely to be tested in the exam. In addition to covering important concepts, the author has also included the definitions and formulas that are required in the exam.

A remarkable highlight of this review guide is that it comes with incredibly useful test-taking strategies. In this section, you will find some great guidelines about tackling complex questions. Additionally, you will also get to know how exactly you should approach the MCQs and free-response questions. Since the guidelines are suggested by real teachers, you can be assured of getting a higher score.

Finally, you also get access to a free exam when you purchase this book. The free exam involves timed testing that allows you to prepare for the exam, just like you should. The questions too are highly balanced, covering every important topic for the exam.
So, whether you need some last-minute guidance or are simply willing to prepare better for your big exam, this book will help you with both. 


  • Covers the most important topics for your upcoming AP Microeconomics exam.
  • Includes definitions of vital concepts and formulas.
  • It allows you to access a free AP Microeconomics mock exam.
  • 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.

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

This book covers important microeconomics topics like monopsony, national income, market structures, unemployment, and more.

Additionally, it also includes full-length AP microeconomics mock exams to help you understand your overall performance. The best part: you can access these practice tests online vi your tablet, PC, smartphones or any other device. This way, you have the complete flexibility to give the test exactly when you want to. 

In addition to these tests, the book also includes exam-taking strategies that help formulate your answers better. Either way, this 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. 

As you’d probably guess from the name, 5 Steps to a 5 is specifically tailored to help you secure a full score in your upcoming AP microeconomics exam. The 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 do not 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 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 others 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 book is one of the best study resources for your AP Microeconomics 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 book is ideal 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 review books and textbooks, it doesn't include any arbitrary insight. Instead, it offers to-the-point analysis into the economic matters that are repeatedly asked in your test. Owing to the examples and the book’s overall structure, it is 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 your exam.
  • The digital format can be downloaded free of cost. 


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

AP Microeconomics Exam Structure

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

Score: 67%

For this section, 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

Score: 33%

The questions in this section are open-ended they often come with subsequent terms, indicating the way you should answer the question. Over the following section, we've shared some quick details about these key terms.

 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 is quite simple if you follow a proper and structured format while addressing 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, students fail to secure a full score 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

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

Watch Review Videos

While studying the course materials as suggested in your Microeconomics review books are great, they are often not enough. If you’re really looking to go the extra mile, watch the videos of these review materials. Some books include videos where the same review concepts are repeated for better retention. If, however, 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 is important to study them well. While preparing for your exam, it is especially important to 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

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, you 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 is absolutely 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 video guides are certainly useful, you will 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 specifically 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.

Understand the Structure

This goes without mention. Unless you study and understand the structure of the exam, you will 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.

Practice with Mock Tests

If you’re looking to get a straight five, it is important to complete mock tests. Since these tests are timed and structured according to the actual AP Microeconomics exam, you are 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.