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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
I am a high-school AP history teacher (U.S. and European.) The author does a fine job with the content review, but does not explain in enough detail the scoring rubric for the DBQ. There is only a brief mention at the bottom of page 37. Students who buy this book hoping to earn a 5 on the exam need to study the chart and explanation provided by the College Board which specifically lists the items that must be present in the core and those that must be included in the expanded core (necessary to earn the top marks.) There is only a brief mention of showing point of view, a critical component of the DBQ. There is also scant reference to treating the visuals in the exam that figure both on the multiple choice and essay questions and now comprise at least 20% of the exam questions. In my opinion, although this is an excellent study guide, it is evident that the author has not actually taught high-school students AP European History and taken them to success at the highest level on that exam even though he may evaluate their exam results for credit at the university where he teaches. While it is true, as he states, that a student does not have to take the AP European course in order to take the exam, VERY FEW high school students will successfully score a "5" simply through their own initiative and independent study. In addition, many school divisions will not permit students to sit for the exam if they have not taken the course.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
5 Steps to a 5 makes some of the better review books on the market. I was the only person in my class of 30 to get a 5 on the exam and lots of students failed. I have read the Barron's Guide, Princeton Review, and Kaplan guides as well and 5 Steps was by far the best. Barron's and PR are well written and are VERY comprehensive. They would probably be better for people with a very weak teacher/lousy textbook/or who haven't read their textbook. Kaplan was not very well written in my opinion and I would not recommend it. 5 Steps was concise yet informative; it was VERY easy to read which probably made it the most useful. I could read the entire guide in about an hour so I just reread it a couple of times before the exam. It also comes with an online prep program which was tremendously useful for the multiple choice section. It has 25 question tests that change several times per day. I did one or two tests per day and saw thousands of different released questions. This greatly helped me build up my testing speed and endurance, giving me the ability to do the 80 question multiple choice section in about 20 minutes. I recognized about half the questions on the national exam, so I was able to answer those immediately and spend more time on the few questions that were actually a challenge. I can see from other reviews how this would not prepare someone for the DBQ as well. Unlike Barron's it does not provide as many sample essays/essay questions. However, no matter how weak your teacher is, they should provide you with the college board rubric/examples/practice in class for the 6 core points (thesis, majority of documents, understanding of documents, support of thesis, bias of at least three documents, grouping of documents (three)). Although this book isn't a replacement for a textbook, or a guaranteed five, it can help make a 5 easy as long as you have read something comprehensive like a textbook or Barron's/PR and have practiced your writing. Overall, the most important things this book provides is the "so what? (significance)" and TONS of practice for the AP exam. This book was immensely helpful in earning a 5!
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on January 26, 2014
Read: 1/14
Rate: 3/5

1/14: Although I am not an AP student, I read eight different books about European History for the sake of learning about it. They were as follows: AP European History Crash Course Book + Online (Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course),The Complete Idiot's Guide to European History, 2e,Cracking the AP European History Exam, 2009 Edition (College Test Preparation),CliffsNotes AP European History, 2nd Edition (Cliffs AP),Kaplan AP European History 2013-2014 (Kaplan AP Series),Barron's AP European History, 6th Edition,AP - European History, 2nd ed (Peterson's AP European History), and 5 Steps to a 5 AP European History, 2012-2013 Edition (5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examinations Series). Because I usually read literature that takes place from 15th to 19th centuries, the political and religious climates were unfamiliar to me. I found myself illuminated during my education of European History through the eight books.

Now, my understanding of political and religious climates is much greater than ever before. With the exception of AP European History Crash Course Book, all of the main AP books are more or less the same, and not a single book is superior to the others. Truth be told, I find the text on them to be bogged down with so much information, so it can get pretty boring. Hence, AP European History Crash Course Book is the best book of any because it excises the fat, keeps the information organized, and is filled with many tips from an experienced AP Euro reader.

On the other hand, although the goal of the books is to prepare the students for the AP examination, I feel many of the questions in the main books to be inordinately difficult and mostly nitpicking. They are more geared towards to graduate level students. I just cannot believe that high school students have to be subjected to these type of questions. Some of them aren't covered in the texts, and some of the other questions are just plain minutiae. Taking the practice tests, I usually scored between 50 and 60 with several 60s out of 80. From what I understand in the explanation of the scoring system, it is good enough for a 5 provided that I do reasonably well on the essays. I guess so because achieving a low score like that doesn't really boost confidence in terms of knowing European History well enough.

The test-taking strategies proffered by all of the seven main books aren't much of help because the test-taker's success on the examination boils down to two necessities: the knowledge and memorization of European History and the writing skill. The former is achieved by reading and retaining as much of the information as possible, and the latter is achieved by writing as much as possible. So, you are better off getting the AP European History Crash Course Book.

A negative aspect about the main books is the lack of a chapter or any pre-test analysis of quotes and pictures. That's why I was never able to do well in the questions. Thanks for the lack of preparation, guys! Finally, I compared the older versions with the newer versions of the same book. Guess what? None of the information has changed, only that the cover is different. Therefore, you are wasting your money on the newest version possible and should get an older one for lesser price. Better yet, go to the library and borrow the books for free. All in all, I actually enjoyed reading about the history of Europe, but the main books didn't help very much about getting at least 80% of the questions correctly yet I still got a 5 regardless; what a joke. So, you are better off working with AP European History Crash Course Book if there is only one book you just need.
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on July 12, 2013
During my AP Euro class this year, my teacher assigned us to read about 15-30 pages every night from our textbook. Ugh... that was hell. And like everyone else in my class, I didn't always do the reading assignments (I mean, who would?! 15-30 pages/night + other school work = nein danke), but I would still need to know the information regarding the history of Europe and whatnot; so I turned to 5 Steps to a 5 for help and surprisingly my $15 investment paid off immensely. Don't get me wrong, this book is NOT a substitute for lectures & reading assignments from your teacher, or at least from mine, but this study guide is an excellent way of putting the info you learn from your teacher during class into a more understandable and less overwhelming context. Time after time, I had been the one in my class to get the highest scores on tests. I may have only gotten a 3 on the AP Exam, but after talking to friends (who didn't have a study guide such as 5 steps to a 5) who took the same test, seeing that they only got 2's or 1's, I'm confident in saying that I wouldn't have gotten a 3 (or high test scores previously) without this book's help. 5 Steps to a 5 is broken up into many parts (hence, 5 steps) to assist you during your AP Exam--these parts are designed to help you with the DBQ and FRQ (essays--side note: those reading this who have no idea what a DBQ or FRQ is, 5 Steps to a 5 describes in detail what they are and how to master them) in addition to the multiple-choice section. Focusing on the multiple-choice section, 5 Steps to a 5 breaks up European history from the 1400s to the Napoleonic Era in part 1 and everything from the Napoleonic Era to the present da in chapters that follow-up with questions testing your knowledge of the chapter and its content. Near the end of the study guide contains 2 practice tests to simulate the actual AP Exam as well as practice essay questions with space-provided for answers, in addition to a possible (I say "possible" because there is more than one answer to an essay question, as noted by the author of the guide) answer to the essay question provided by the author afterwards.

In conclusion, 5 Steps to a 5 saved my life and my grade. It's a great way to study for upcoming tests in AP Euro, including the dreaded AP exam, without it being too bulky or boring to read--it's quick and concise to the point without sparing important details, though. Buy it, or an equivalent study guide :) , or die.
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on May 16, 2015
I purchased this book because it is my 2nd year teaching AP Euro--found in very helpful, especially when I used it to make flash cards for my student reviews. I hope something similar to this will be offered now that the Euro test is being revamped and our style of questioning will be changing to more HOT questions (Higher Order Thinking).
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on April 3, 2014
This book is great for review before European History AP and Global History regents. My daughter uses this book instead the textbook she received at school. She loves it.
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on July 27, 2013
Good for kid study. My kid likes it. After reading with visiting musiums, my kid got better understanding those history.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
This book lacks MANY events in European History. I would love it so much if it included most. I'm very disappointed considering the 5 Steps to a 5 AP US History, 2012-2013 Edition (5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examinations Series) provided everything I needed to know and corresponded with my textbook. As for the events it decides to cover, it has been very detailed but it jumps around a little too much.
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