AP US Government & Politics (a.k.a. “US GoPo”) and AP Comparative Government & Politics are both very straightforward exams, and should be extremely easy for anyone who has an interest in politics. I scored a 5 on US GoPo using only the book from Crash Course, and, although I am not speaking from personal experience, the general consensus is that AP Comparative Government & Politics: A Study Guide by Ethel Wood can guarantee a 4 or 5 in Comparative Government.
A great way to prepare for the tests is to look at free response questions (FRQs) from years past, which Collegeboard has generously posted on their site. The FRQs and sample scoring guidelines can be found at: AP US GoPo FRQs and AP Comparative Government FRQs. PBS has also made available a list of online resources for teachers, comprised mainly of documentaries. If you’re tired of hitting the books, consider checking out the PBS US GoPo or PBS Comparative Government resources. Finally, the best way to prepare for the multiple choice sections on both of the tests is to take released exams. Collegeboard has some strict policies regarding these tests, so I am wary to post any links, but there are… other ways of finding them (a simple Google search).
The test for AP US GoPo will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. To be perfectly honest, reading the Crash Course book in March or April should be plenty of preparation (it’s also a good idea to flip through the book again when the test day comes near). A great strategy for acing US GoPo on your own is to take it along with AP United States History, since many of the same topics (Constitutional history, the branches of government, Supreme Court cases) are covered in both courses.
The test for Comparative Government will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 12 p.m. The Ethel Wood study guide, at 256 pages, can also be read relatively late (around March or April) but materials should be reviewed in the weeks leading up to the test date.
The test for AP US GoPo is 2 hours and 25 minutes long, with a 45 minute multiple choice section (very straightforward) and a 100 minute free response section. The multiple choice section has 60 questions total, and the free response section has four questions. The test’s questions will be based on:
- Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (5-15%)
- Political Beliefs and Behaviors (10-20%)
- Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media (10-20%)
- Institutions of National Government: The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (35-45%)
- Public Policy (5-15%)
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (5-15%)
The most important aspect of this data? Almost half of the test will be based on the “Institutions of National Government”, so make sure to have thoroughly reviewed the powers of the branches of government, their relationship to one another, and the role of interest groups.
The test for AP Comparative Government is the same length as GoPo (2 hr. 25 min.) and has the same time distribution as GoPo. Comparative Government is different in that there are only 55 multiple choice questions but there are 8 free response questions. This test’s questions will be based on:
- Introduction to Comparative Politics (5%)
- Sovereignty, Authority, and Power (20%)
- Political Institutions (35%)
- Citizens, Society, and the State (15%)
- Political and Economic Change (15%)
- Public Policy (10%)
Comparative Government focuses on the governments of China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia, so you won’t have to worry about any ol’ country showing up on the test.
(Photo by dbking)