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What Are the Best AP Comp Gov Textbooks and Prep Books?

4 min readโ€ขoctober 8, 2021

fatima

Fatima Raja

brandonwu

Brandon W


AP Comparative Governmentย ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ

Bookmarkedย 1.1kย โ€ขย 69ย resources
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You want a 5 on your CompGov exam. I want you to get a 5 on the CompGov exam.
So, sit down, grab a cup of something to drink (I'm partial to lemonade ๐Ÿ‹myself), and let's see if we can find something that works for you.
Keep reading to find some of our favorite CompGov books.

Best Value Textbook

Ethel Wood's AP Comparative Government and Politics: An Essential Coursebook, 7th ed

This, and I'm not even joking, is the CompGov review book. It's literally the Beyoncรฉ of prep books for this course. And this, just to be clear, is not #sponsored.
Every single person I've talked to that used this book loved it. It has in-depth information that covers that what-you-need-to-know for this class. Better yet, it's not written in complicated jargon that you'd have to spend hours decoding. It'll make your studying 10x more efficient than reading a 50 thousand-page textbook would.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-kQnfLrtQzjxA.png?alt=media&token=0a14a905-41b2-4aa8-a966-0308c008841a

Trust me, it's what's on the inside that counts! Image courtesy of Amazon

It's easy to read and covers pretty much everything you need to know. Some teachers even use it as their classes' textbook, and that's how we know the pros love it, too. What more could you ask for?
Some students like to supplement its content with some test prep resources because it doesn't have any practice tests included. If that's you and you don't want to buy multiple prep books, don't worry! There are lots of options you can get instead.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-8ILyAMzkVjHJ.png?alt=media&token=8f97db24-09a2-4d55-8cff-53909e9d2d09

I couldn't find a picture of our mysterious queen Ethel Wood herself, so we'll have to settle for this stock image of a lady with a crown. Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Best Review Book

5 Steps to A 5: AP Comparative Government

The "5 Steps to a 5" books are a favorite of students all over the globe. For good reason, this prep-book has an easy-to-get-through review of all the required content you need to know for the AP exam, practice tests, and sample responses.
If you're just looking for a quick review and to get on with actually practicing for your exam, this is the prep-book for you!
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-klFOiUCZqRvv.png?alt=media&token=17395510-b5ec-4b9f-a1df-1a181a76b7bf

Do I hear you guys saying you want a Fiveable x 5 Steps collab? Image courtesy of Amazon

Best Test Prep

AP Comparative Government and Politics 2019 & 2020 Study Guide

Just like any other prep-book, this one has a detailed review of what you'll see on the exam, practice questions, and outlines. This book gets to the point and doesn't waste time feeding you information you won't need for the exam.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-F1tzLrhsGYH2.png?alt=media&token=d493929a-4c01-42f8-baed-c2e97c7cecc8

You might recognize that tower after taking AP Comp Gov! Image courtesy of Amazon

What sets this prep-book apart, though, is its test-taking strategies section. College Board designed the AP curriculum in a way that only gives you credit if you do well on the exam (duh). So, the authors of this prep-book decided to sit down and drill down the strategies that will maximize your score. So, if it's the test you want to ace, this prep-book might just be the one for you.

Best Self-Study

Barron's AP Comparative Government and Politics

This prep-book (which tbh is practically a textbook) comes with Barron's signature heavy focus on content and contains tons of information.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-iX4AZXGQ1ySM.png?alt=media&token=7dfc6d56-82b9-4a65-b47b-fc4359ee9a1e

Why does this girl look like the main character in every YA dystopian novel? Image courtesy of Amazon

If you're just reviewing and not trying to (re)learn a lot of concepts, try a lighter prep-book. We'd recommend using this one for its overviews, charts, and practice tests. That'll help you avoid getting bogged down by the sheer amount of info in this prep-book.

Best Deeper Reading

Principles of Comparative Politics Second Edition by William Roberts Clark, Matt Golder, and Sona N. Golder

This textbook really deep dives into everything CompGov related. It's not exactly ~tailored~ to the CompGov curriculum, though. The author wrote it as a textbook, not an AP prep-book. So, it's a textbook for anyone who's searching for a little bit more than surface-level descriptions of the six countries you need to know for the AP test.
We're recommending it because it will help you understand the concepts of CompGov (ya know, the ones you'll need to understand for the exam). And, as an added benefit, it comes with tons of practice questions!
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-epyfTWZmP0m0.png?alt=media&token=e0f1dfd1-9fa0-4240-a6a1-4feb37e85992

We're really comparing apples and oranges, eh? Image courtesy of Amazon

The reason why it's last on the list is because of the hefty price tag. This is not a textbook you want to buy new. See if you can buy it second-hand or check it out from your local library!

Closing Thoughts

Prep-books are a great way to supplement your learning, but they can't replace the learning that happens in a classroom (or classZoom ๐Ÿ‘€). If you want to get the most out of this course, you may just have to kick it old school and do what your teacher tells you to. Whether it's reading the news or debating what political structure is the best, some things are better learned outside of a textbook.

More Resources

๐Ÿ“Read: AP Comparative Government - How to Get a 5
๐Ÿ“Read: AP Comparative Government - Best Quizlet Decks
๐Ÿ“Read: AP Comparative Government - Best Memes

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