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Welcome to REA’s All Access for AP U.S. Government and Politics
A new, more effective way to prepare for your AP exam.
There are many different ways to prepare for an AP exam. What’s best for you depends on how much time you have to study and how comfortable you are with the subject matter. To score your highest, you need a system that can be customized to fit you: your schedule, your learning style, and your current level of knowledge.
This book, and the free online tools that come with it, will help you personalize your AP prep by testing your understanding, pinpointing your weaknesses, and delivering flashcard study materials unique to you.
Let’s get started and see how this system works.
How to Use REA’s AP All Access
The REA AP All Access system allows you to create a personalized study plan through three simple steps: targeted review of exam content, assessment of your knowledge, and focused study in the topics where you need the most help.
Here’s how it works:
Review the Book: Study the topics tested on the AP exam and learn proven strategies that will help you tackle any question you may see on test day.
Test Yourself & Get Feedback: As you review the book, test yourself. Score reports from your free online tests and quizzes give you a fast way to pinpoint what you really know and what you should spend more time studying.
Improve Your Score: Armed with your score reports, you can personalize your study plan. Review the parts of the book where you are weakest, and use the REA Study Center to create your own unique e-flashcards, adding to the 100 free cards included with this book.
Finding Your Weaknesses: The REA Study Center
The best way to personalize your study plan and truly focus on your weaknesses is to get frequent feedback on what you know and what you don’t. At the online REA Study Center, you can access three types of assessment: topic-level quizzes, mini-tests, and a full-length practice test. Each of these tools provides true-to-format questions and delivers a detailed score report that follows the topics set by the College Board.
Short, 15-minute online quizzes are available throughout the review and are designed to test your immediate grasp of the topics just covered.
Two online mini-tests cover what you’ve studied in each half of the book. These tests are like the actual AP exam, only shorter, and will help you evaluate your overall understanding of the subject.
Full-Length Practice Test
After you’ve finished reviewing the book, take our full-length exam to practice under test-day conditions. Available both in this book and online, this test gives you the most complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses. We strongly recommend that you take the online version of the exam for the added benefits of timed testing, automatic scoring, and a detailed score report.
Improving Your Score: e-Flashcards
Once you get your score report, you’ll be able to see exactly which topics you need to review. Use this information to create your own flashcards for the areas where you are weak. And, because you will create these flashcards through the REA Study Center, you’ll be able to access them from any computer or smartphone.
Not quite sure what to put on your flashcards? Start with the 100 free cards included when you buy this book.
After the Full-Length Practice Test: Crash Course
After finishing this book and taking our full-length practice exam, pick up REA’s Crash Course for AP U.S. Government and Politics. Use your most recent score reports to identify any areas where you are still weak, and turn to the Crash Course for a rapid review presented in a concise outline style.
Strategies for the Exam
What Will I See on the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam?
One May morning, you stroll confidently into the school library where you’re scheduled to take the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam. You know your stuff: you paid attention in class, followed your textbook, took plenty of notes, and reviewed your coursework by reading a special test prep guide. You can identify the main beliefs of political parties, explain the lawmaking process, and describe the effects of various landmark Supreme Court decisions on the nation’s government. So, how will you show your knowledge on the test?
The Multiple-Choice Section
First off, you’ll complete a lengthy multiple-choice section that tests your ability to not just remember facts about the various fields of government and politics, but also to apply that knowledge to interpret and analyze political information. This section will require you to answer 60 multiple-choice questions in just 45 minutes. Here are the major fields of inquiry covered on the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam:
• Constitution and federalism
• Political beliefs and behaviors
• Political parties, interest groups, and mass media
• National government institutions
• Public policy
• Civil rights and civil liberties
Strategies for the Exam
So, being able to name which state first ratified the Constitution (Delaware, but you know that, right?) will not do you much good unless you can also explain how the process of constitutional ratification shaped the country’s enduring political institutions and overall governmental system. It sounds like a lot, but by working quickly and methodically you’ll have plenty of time to address this section effectively. We’ll look at this in greater depth later in this chapter.
The Free-Response Section
After time is called on the multiple-choice section, you’ll get a short break before diving into the free-response, or essay, section. This section requires you to produce four written responses in 100 minutes. Like the multiple-choice section, the free-response portion of the exam expects you be able to apply your own knowledge to discuss and analyze political information in addition to being able to provide essential facts and definitions.
What’s the Score?
Although the scoring process for the AP exam may seem quite complex, it boils down to two simple components: your multiple-choice score plus your free-response scores. The multiple-choice section accounts for one-half of your overall score, and is generated by awarding one point toward your “raw score” for each question you answer correctly. The free-response section accounts for the remaining one-half of your total score. Within the free-response section, each question counts equally toward your final score. Trained graders read students’ written responses and assign points according to grading rubrics. The number of points you accrue out of the total possible will form your score on the free-response section.
The College Board reports AP scores on a scale of 1 to 5. Although individual colleges and universities determine what credit or advanced placement, if any, is awarded to students at each score level, these are the assessments typically associated with each numeric score:
5 Extremely well qualified
4 Well qualified
2 Possibly qualified
1 No recommendation