5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature, 2015 Edition (5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examinations Series)

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  • not sufficiently different from the 2011 edition of the same title to justify a purchase
  • doesn’t provide ample coverage of the essay writing portion of the exam
  • those looking to concentrate solely on multiple choice content, however, will be pleased here

Written with a refreshingly everyday, even charmingly snarky tone, there’s much to recommend about Cracking the AP Literature‘s accessibility for┬ástudents tired of thick texts that weigh heavily on their eyelids. But the title, a new release based from a previous 2011 edition, comes short of prep book perfection, due to insufficient finesse in its update.

What allow Cracking to stand out are its coverage of the essential elements of the major literary movements, making it a breeze to identify which books to concentrate on and what themes therein to look for, and its meticulous attention to detail in the explanation section for its multiple choice questions.

But those who’ve already purchased the 2011 edition of Cracking might quibble over the lack of a palpable update here; although the formatting has changed, the content has not, resulting in awkward lining in certain passages and needlessly confusing questions. The book’s coverage of the essay writing portion of the exam also skews a bit thin, making this an inappropriate title for those looking to focus primarily on improving their timed composition skills.

Not substantial enough to be used alone, Cracking can supplement a strong AP Lit course if read regularly throughout the school year.