As a teacher of APUSH, I had been anticipating the release of this book for weeks, as I've been a fan of 5 Steps to a 5 in the past and have recommended it most often to my APUSH students. When the initial release date (August 21) passed, I was concerned that there might be a problem with the book; but I assumed that McGraw-Hill was simply making a few last minute updates. Receiving this edition one week "late" in the mail was not the end of the world. Upon receiving this book, however, I am thoroughly disappointed. For while there are three full-length practice tests, the questions at the end of each chapter are multiple choice only (no short answers, long essays, or document-based questions) and there are only five at that. Furthermore, the multiple choice questions that are included are based on the pre-2015 format--i.e. multiple choice questions without a stimulus prompt. What's the point of having a 2015 edition that "Matches The New Exam" (according to the cover), if you aren't going to give students questions that match the new exam?
I have purchased all the available review books thus far that reflect the 2015 updates; seeing as the College Board has been less than helpful to teachers in this regard. Here is how I rank them:
1) AMSCO (John Newman) is the best. This book offers eight stimulus-based multiple choice questions and six short answers per chapter (not period), and 6-10 long essays and a DBQ for each period of history. The drawback to this book, however, is that students cannot purchase an answer key (teachers can obtain one through the publisher, but it must be shipped to a school). There is also only one full-length practice exam.
2) Kaplan is also good, as it offers five practice tests and 7-15 stimulus based multiple choice questions, at least two short answers, and either a long essay or a DBQ's for each period of history. This is what I will recommend to my students this year, as I will likely keep the AMSCO for myself to use for in-class assessments.
3) Barron's is pretty substandard, for while it does offer three practice tests, it only offers 2-3 stimulus based multiple choice questions and zero short answers, long answers, DBQ's per period of history.
4) 5 Steps to a 5, is the worst of the bunch with three practice tests, and no stimulus based multiple choice, short answers, long essays, or DBQ's associated with each period of history.
In the end, this was the book I wanted most, and maybe my high expectations are to blame for my extreme disappointment. I will presume though, that others will feel the same way and I hope that McGraw-Hill releases a much improved 2016 version next year!