Advanced placement (AP) courses are a great way for high school students to make sure they’re fully prepared for college courses. Performing well in these courses and on corresponding exams can help you start college with credits already earned. As of 2020, more than 1.2 million high school graduates had taken at least one AP exam, according to the College Board. If you’re hoping to get a head start on college during your high school career, it’s important to prepare yourself for your AP exams. To help, we’ve ranked the top seven AP exam prep courses:

Our Ranking Criteria

In determining the best AP exam prep courses, we’ve aimed to select those that offer flexible learning options, reasonable prices, and added features that help students learn more efficiently. Additionally, we’ve considered courses that have excellent track records from companies that have proven they have what it takes to prepare students for AP exams.

Flexible scheduling and adaptable formats

When you’re already tied to high school courses, it’s important to be able to take on extra courses at your own pace. Additionally, it’s important that you’re able to learn according to your own unique learning style, whether that’s independently or with support.

Personalized instruction

Courses that can be adapted to your unique needs have the best chance at successfully preparing you for AP exams. In preparing this list, we’ve aimed to help you obtain instruction that suits your specific courses and goals by selecting those that offer personalization and an array of subjects

The Best AP Prep Courses

The Princeton Review — Top Pick

The Princeton Review strives to prepare students for college with courses and practice tests that are directly modeled after the actual AP test. Courses are privately tutored, and this service is provided in-person and online. Additionally, The Princeton Review offers a Cram Course, which helps students prepare for their AP exams in just six hours. Cram Courses are only available online. This prep course comes with a complete money-back guarantee for students who successfully complete the program and don’t pass their AP exams.

The-Princeton-Review-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • Starts at $280/hour
  • In-person and on-demand online courses
  • Money-back guarantee
What we like What we don’t like
  • 6-hour crash course available.
  • Private tutoring available.
  • Live phone support offered.
  • Private tutoring is expensive.
  • No free trial.

Learn more


Khan Academy — Most Affordable

Khan Academy is a free exam prep platform that helps students prepare for a variety of important exams at all levels. Its AP courses include calculus, statistics, sciences, history, and computing. This company has partnered with the AP Program to ensure that all prep materials help students build a solid knowledge base in preparation for AP courses and exams. Courses are provided on-demand and include instructional videos, articles, and practice exercises. While live support isn’t available for those struggling with the program, Khan Academy does have a help center that students can access that includes advice about programs and the platform.

Khan-Academy-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • Free
  • On-demand online courses
  • Covers a variety of subjects
What we like What we don’t like
  • Help center for student support.
  • Accommodates students with busy schedules.
  • Official partner of AP Program.
  • No option for in-person learning.
  • No live support.

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Kaplan — Best Tutoring Program

Kaplan provides several AP-level review courses, including history, biology, and psychology. Its courses are offered online and on-demand and include two full-length practice exams. The company also offers private tutoring, which is available at an additional cost of $799. Kaplan provides its students with a money-back guarantee, offering to refund tuition if those who successfully complete its AP prep courses don’t pass their actual exams. Support is available to students who need help with the platform and can be accessed via phone, live chat, or social media.

Kaplan-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • $399 to $799
  • On-demand online courses
  • Tutoring available
What we like What we don’t like
  • Flexible courses for busier students.
  • Private tutoring available.
  • Multiple support options.
  • No free trial.
  • Limited practice tests.

Learn more


Albert — Best Free Trial

Albert offers AP test prep courses for all subjects, including Chinese language, comparative government, and art history. Prep is offered online and on-demand. You can choose from multiple practice tests for each subject, each of which comes with detailed answer explanations and access to Albert’s online study guide. Albert offers a 30-day free trial, and support is available via phone, email, and live chat. Additionally, you can access Albert’s help center to find answers to common questions about the platform and course content.

Albert-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • $19 – $400
  • On-demand online courses
  • Free 30-day trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • Flexibility for busy students.
  • Multiple support options.
  • Plenty of practice tests.
  • No option for in-person learning.

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College Board — Best Catalog of Resources

The College Board is responsible for proctoring AP exams across the country. This organization also offers resources to help students prepare for their exams, including daily AP videos that provide students with study tips. Additionally, College Board’s AP Classroom includes searchable videos on all exam topics, personal progress reports, and a progress dashboard that lets you view your overall progress in multiple AP courses.

College-Board-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • Cost available via custom quote
  • On-demand online courses
  • Live chat support available
What we like What we don’t like
  • Comprehensive progress tracking tools.
  • New videos added every day.
  • Flexibility for busier students.
  • No options for live learning.

Learn more


Study.com — Biggest Practice Exam Library

Study.com offers you the opportunity to prepare for AP exams with more than 4,000 test prep video lessons that can be accessed on demand. The platform can be accessed via desktop, tablet, or smartphone, and Study.com has iOS and Android apps available for learning on the go. Additionally, you can access thousands of practice questions and 27 practice exams on this platform, all of which are designed to mimic actual AP exams. Study.com offers a full money-back guarantee for students who successfully complete the course and don’t pass their exams. Additionally, a free 30-day trial is available.

Study-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • Pricing available via custom quote
  • On-demand online courses
  • Free 30-day trial
What we like What we don’t like
  • Flexibility for busier students.
  • Offers a money-back guarantee.
  • Large practice exam library.
  • Pricing isn’t transparent.

Learn more


Huntington Learning Center — Most Personalized Program

The Huntington Learning Center utilizes a highly effective process for improving scores on AP exams. First, they give their students a full-length practice AP exam in order to identify strengths and weaknesses. Then, they develop a personalized, face-to-face tutoring plan based on the results of this practice test. Huntington offers a track record of success that’s decades-long, as they’ve been helping students improve their test scores since 1977.

Huntington-Learning-Center-AP

Need-to-knows:

  • Cost available via custom quote
  • On-demand online courses
  • Individualized face-to-face tutoring
What we like What we don’t like
  • Personalized tutoring plans.
  • Pricing isn’t transparent.

Learn more

Choose the Right AP Prep Course for You

Every student has different needs when it comes to AP prep, including the subject they’re studying for, how much time they have, their budget, and their learning style. It’s important to find a course that meets your own unique needs. To do so, follow the steps below.

Calculate your prep time

The amount of time it takes you to prepare for AP exams will vary based on what you need to study and how comfortable you are with the study process. If you’re feeling unprepared, it’s important to start preparing well in advance of your testing date — consider giving yourself at least a couple of months. If you’re feeling ready to take the test, it can still be a good idea to schedule some dedicated prep time for several weeks before your testing date.

Consider your learning style

It’s important to think about the ways you learn best and look for a company that caters to your individual learning style. There are reputable resources online, such as Education Planner’s learning style test, that can provide you with insight into whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic/tactile learner. Many test prep providers now cater to individual learning styles so it can be helpful to know your own before you select an AP prep course.

Compare costs

Cost is a deciding factor for a lot of students. If you have a budget, start by looking for an AP prep course that falls within it. AP prep courses vary in price dramatically, with some being available free of charge online and others costing hundreds of dollars per subject.

Look for must-have features

The best AP prep courses include helpful features that enable students to study effectively and give them the best chances of succeeding on their exams. Look for courses that offer:

  • Flexible delivery options
  • Personalization
  • Multiple practice exams
  • Free trials
  • Live support

AP Prep Course Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates for taking AP exams?

AP exams are administered over two weeks in May. The following chart breaks down which AP subjects are tested on each day:

Test Date 8AM Local Time 12PM Local Time 2PM Local Time
May 2, 2022
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • United States Government and Politics
  • Chemistry
  • Spanish Literature and Culture
May 3, 2022
  • Environmental Science
  • Psychology
May 4, 2022
  • English Literature and Composition
  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Computer Science A
May 5, 2022
  • Human Geography
  • Macroeconomics
  • Seminar
  • Statistics
May 6, 2022
  • European History
  • United States History
  • Art History
  • Microeconomics
May 9, 2022
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Computer Science Principles
  • Italian Language and Culture
May 10, 2022
  • English Language and Composition
  • Physics C: Mechanics
  • Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
May 11, 2022
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Spanish Language and Culture
  • Biology
May 12, 2022
  • French Language and Culture
  • World History: Modern
  • Physics 1: Algebra-Based
May 13, 2022
  • German Language and Culture
  • Music Theory
  • Latin
  • Physics 2: Algebra-Based

*Test dates accurate as of March 30, 2022

Are there accommodations for disabilities?

If you have a disability, you may be able to access accommodations for taking the test. That can include extended time, spoken instructions, and braille devices. Because AP tests are administered at your school, you should speak to your test coordinator.

Where can I find practice tests?

You can access practice tests in the College Board AP Digital Testing app. Available practice tests include a long exam with up to 20 questions and a free-response section and a demo test that includes three to five multiple-choice questions.

How early should I prep?

When you start prepping should depend on your preparedness for the test, as well as how many tests you’re scheduled to take. Because prep courses often last an entire semester, you may need to start prepping as early as 4 months before your scheduled test date.

How many practice tests should I take before the actual exam?

The number of practice tests you take depends on your needs and your comfort level. However, it’s a good idea to consider taking practice tests regularly to determine what you need to study and the progress you’ve made. Taking at least two tests is a good idea to see if the prep is helping or you need more time to study.

How long are most AP prep courses?

Most AP prep courses are provided over a semester, which means you should prepare to take these courses for a period of 15 weeks. Alternatively, some test prep companies offer fast-track courses or boot camps, which are meant to prepare you for your AP exams in just a few weeks.

Is AP prep worth it?

Students who’ve passed their AP exams often qualify for college credit and are able to complete degree programs in less time. The average cost per credit hour in the U.S. is $559. For an average three-credit class, that means you could save $1,677 and an entire semester of a class in time for every AP test you pass.

How much does AP prep cost?

The cost of AP prep courses varies. While free courses are available, others can cost hundreds of dollars.

Company Cost
The Princeton Review
  • Private Tutoring: $280/hour
  • Cram Course: $399
Khan Academy
  • Free
Kaplan
  • AP Biology Review Course: $399
  • AP Psychology Review Course: $399
  • AP World History Review Course: $399
  • AP U.S. History Review Course: $399
  • Tutoring: $799
Albert
  • Students: $19-79
  • Single Teacher: $400
  • Schools & Districts: $15/student/school year
College Board
  • Custom Quote
Study.com
  • Custom Quote
Huntington Learning Center
  • Custom Quote