For the 2020 Exam!
AP® U.S. Government and Politics Crash Course®A Higher Score in Less Time! At REA, we invented the quick-review study guide for AP® exams. A decade later, REA’s Crash Course® remains the top choice for AP® students who want to make the most of their study time and earn a high score.
Here’s why more AP® teachers and students turn to REA’s AP® U.S. Government and Politics Crash Course®:Targeted review – everything you need and nothing you don’t. Our compact, strategic review is based on an in-depth analysis of the latest course outline and exam format. We unpack the AP® U.S. Government & Politics big ideas and equip you to face the multiple-choice and free-response questions. Crash Course® covers only what’s actually tested, so you can make the most of your study time.Expert test-taking strategies and advice. Written by two veteran AP® experts, the book looks at every aspect of today’s exam, including required foundational documents and Supreme Court cases, civil liberties and civil rights, and American political ideologies. Boost your score with insights from the people who know the exam from the inside out.Practice questions – a mini-test in the book, a full-length exam online. Are you ready for your exam? Try our focused practice set inside the book. Then go online to take our full-length practice exam. You’ll get the benefits of timed testing, detailed answers, and automatic scoring that pinpoints your performance based on the official AP® exam topics – so you'll be confident on test day. Whether you’re cramming for the exam or looking to recap and reinforce your teacher’s lessons, Crash Course® is the study guide every AP® student needs.About Our Authors Katherine Olson-Goldman has spent the last two decades developing and teaching numerous courses in government and politics, law, and history, including AP® United States Government and Politics, AP® Comparative Government and Politics, and Practical Law. Ms. Olson-Goldman holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University, a secondary teaching certification from the University of Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School where she was a Thomas Moore scholar and served on law review. Nancy Fenton, M.A., teaches AP® U.S. Government and Politics at the award-winning Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been teaching government and politics since 2003. Ms. Fenton is also a College Board consultant and has served as a reader for AP® Psychology since 2008 and a table leader since 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and holds two master’s degrees, one in psychology and one in curriculum and instruction technology.
About the Author
About Our Authors Katherine Olson-Goldman has spent the last two decades developing and teaching numerous courses in government and politics, law, and history, including AP United States Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government and Politics, and Practical Law. Ms. Olson-Goldman holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University, a secondary teaching certification from the University of Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School where she was a Thomas Moore scholar and served on law review. Nancy Fenton, M.A., teaches AP U.S. Government and Politics at the award-winning Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been teaching government and politics since 2003. Ms. Fenton is also a College Board consultant and has served as a reader for AP Psychology since 2008 and a table leader since 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and holds two master’s degrees, one in psychology and one in curriculum and instruction technology.
Read an Excerpt
Seven Keys for Success on the AP® U.S. Government and Politics Exam
The AP ® U.S. Government and Politics course and exam cover the U.S. political system, including the foundations of American government, its institutions, entities that help connect the government and the governed, public policy, and the interactions that sustain and define the workings of the federal constitutional system. You will be expected to have a command of nine key foundational documents and fifteen key U.S. Supreme Court cases, as well as be able to interpret various other relevant primary and secondary source materials.
1. UNDERSTAND THE EXAM STRUCTURE AND SCORING
The exam consists of two sections described in the following table:
Percentage Total Number of Overall Section of Questions Time Limit Exam Score
Section I: 55 Multiple- 1 hour and 50%
Multiple-Choice Choice 20 minutes Questions Questions
Section II: 4 Free- 1 hour and 50%
Free-Response Response 40 minutes Questions Questions
There will be a short break between the multiple-choice and free-response sections. Detailed information on the types of multiple-choice and free-response exam questions — as well as practice questions — is available in Part IV: Test-Taking Strategies.
The machine-scored multiple-choice section awards points for each correct answer. No points are lost for skipped or incorrect answers. Experienced high school and college instructors grade the free-response questions by hand. The College Board combines the multiple-choice and free-response scores to create a total exam score using this 5-point scale:
AP® Score Recommendation
5 Extremely well qualified
4 Well qualified
2 Possibly qualified
1 No recommendation
2. REVIEW THE FIVE AP® U.S. GoPo UNITS
The course is organized into five content units, which are reviewed in this Crash Course book. Here are some of the main concepts from each unit:
UNIT 1: FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (15%–22% of the exam)
Fundamental concepts of American government and democratic ideals
Founding documents and the motivations of the authors of the Constitution
Three models of representative democracy
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation addressed by the Constitution
Federalist and Anti-Federalist views on the Constitution
Key compromises during the Constitutional Convention
Separation of powers and checks and balances
Division of federal/state powers in the Constitution
Development of federalism, including key U.S. Supreme Court rulings
Amendment procedure and federalism
UNIT 2: INTERACTIONS AMONG BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT (25%–36% of the exam)
Effect of structure, functions, powers, and procedures of the three federal branches on the policymaking process
Influence of checks and balances, competing policy-making interests, ideological differences, and public opinion on the interactions of the branches
Cooperation and competition among the branches
Changes in the exercise of the powers of each branch and the impact on the federal government today
Structure, organization, and functions of the federal bureaucracy
Effect of elections, interest groups, and citizens on the federal branches
UNIT 3: CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS (13%–18% of the exam)
Court interpretation of the Bill of Rights and the process of selective incorporation and its implications
Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment
Influence of the Constitution and court rulings on social movements
Response of the government to social movements, including the drafting of legislation and court rulings
UNIT 4: AMERICAN POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES AND BELIEFS (10%–15% of the exam)
Influence of demographics, political culture, social change, and the interpretation of democratic values on the development of political beliefs
Cultural influences on political socialization, efficacy, and participation
Impact of political ideologies and political parties on public policy
Government's role in the economy and social issues
UNIT 5: POLITICAL PARTICIPATION (20%–27% of the exam)
Constitutional and legislative protections of voting rights
Role of linkage institutions — elections, political parties, interest groups, media
Organization and functions of political parties
Influence of campaign finance, realignment, and advances in communication technology on political parties
Impact of and structural barriers to the success of minor political parties
Functions and impact of interest groups and social movements on elections and public policy
Presidential election process and the Electoral College
Congressional election process
Campaign organization and impact of federal law and court rulings on campaign finance
Functions and impact of the media on elections and public policy
3. APPLY THE BIG IDEAS
While reviewing each of the five units, reference the 5 big ideas, discussed below, in the context of U.S.
government and politics as well as how political scientists study political behavior.
BIG IDEA 1. Constitutionalism: The structure and policies of the U.S. government involve both federalism and separation of powers, among the three independent branches that provide checks and balances on each other. Government is based on the rule of law and respect for majority rule and minority rights.
The Constitution was a product of compromises to overcome the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation. It remains a model of representative democracy and limited government.
Principles of federalism, popular sovereignty, separation of powers, and checks and balances are reflected in the Constitution.
The legislative branch was designed to reflect the ideals of republicanism.
Powers of the executive branch have been expanded beyond those outlined in the Constitution.
The judicial branch as created by the Constitution and the power of judicial review are an independent check on the other branches.
Supreme Court's judicial review of laws and government actions based on the Constitution is influenced by the composition of the justices on the court and citizen–government interactions.
BIG IDEA 2. Liberty and Order: The structure and policies of the U.S. government involve a balance between individual freedom and collective security based on the Constitution. The Bill of Rights has been interpreted by the judicial branch to balance the need for government authority and the protection of civil liberties. Examples in this book show how the Bill of Rights has been selectively incorporated to limit the authority of the states over its citizens under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Models of participatory, pluralist, and elitist democracy illustrate the ambivalence of the founders and political theorists toward unrestricted mass participation in governance.
The Constitution and its Bill of Rights have long been interpreted by the courts to balance individual liberties with societal requirements for order and stability.
BIG IDEA 3. Civic Participation in a Representative Democracy: The ideals of popular sovereignty, individualism, and republicanism influence laws and policy-making and are based on the idea that citizens will be involved.
Several provisions of the Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, have been interpreted to ensure equality in American society.
Federal laws and policies on elections, voting, and campaign finance are viewed differently across the political spectrum.
Today's media outlets provide citizens with information about public policy and influence how citizens participate in government.
BIG IDEA 4. Competing Policy-Making Interests: Public policy results from input from various public and private institutions and individuals at the federal, state, and local levels.
The Constitution uses the doctrines of separation of powers and checks and balances to preserve individual rights and make sure the government represents the will of the people.
The massive federal bureaucracy has a vital role in the implementation of public policy, which is sometimes challenged for lacking accountability.
Public policy on civil rights has been shaped by public opinion, social movements, legislation, and court rulings.
Major political ideologies influence public policy debates and decisions.
Linkage institutions (e.g., political parties, interest groups, elections, and the media) create pathways for political participation and policy input.
BIG IDEA 5. Methods of Political Analysis: Political scientists use scientific polling and data analysis to evaluate political participation, ideologies, and government institutions. This data influences policy and often electoral outcomes. Citizen attitudes about government, including political ideology, efficacy, and participation, are based on the influence of many actors: demographic characteristics, family culture, social events, education, and the media.
The big idea of methods of political analysis applies across the entire AP® course and thus appears on both multiple-choice and free-response questions on the exam. You will be expected to analyze data sets, graphs, charts, and political science reading passages.
4. FOCUS ON THE CONSTITUTION
Though nine foundational documents are represented on the exam, none is more important than the Constitution. It is the one most frequently cited in free-response answers. The Constitution consists of three main parts:
Amendments (27) including the Bill of Rights
5. ANALYZE SOURCES LIKE A POLITICAL SCIENTIST
Both the multiple-choice and free-response questions require analysis of various primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include the nine foundational documents and opinions from the fifteen required Supreme Court cases. Detailed information aiding in this analysis are found throughout this book.
Secondary sources include quotes from political science research articles, editorials, and books in which various political theories are presented.
Foundational Documents: This book connects the nine foundational documents to the philosophical underpinnings of U.S. government and American political values. It also applies them to key political science terminology and concepts. The nine foundational documents are:
The Declaration of Independence
The Articles of Confederation
The Constitution of the United States including the Bill of Rights
Brutus No. 1
Federalist Nos. 10, 51, 70, 78
Letter from a Birmingham Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Required Supreme Court Cases: An understanding of the fifteen required Supreme Court cases includes the facts of the case, constitutional issues raised, the holding and its reasoning, and any important implications or related vocabulary. Each decision should be considered in relation to the idea of precedent and the impact on public policy, as well as the relationship between the branches of government and between the government and the citizens and residents of the United States. The required cases will be included on the SCOTUS comparison free-response question as well as in multiple-choice questions. The cases, which follow, represent seven legal categories.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
United States v. Lopez (1995)
2. Bill of Rights
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
New York Times Co. v. United States (1971)
Schenck v. United States (1919)
3. Selective Incorporation
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Roe v. Wade (1973)
McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
4. Civil Rights
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
5. Campaign Finance
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
6. Representative Government
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Shaw v. Reno (1993)
7. Role of the Court
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Some of the SCOTUS cases fall into multiple categories. For example, Gideon is a Sixth Amendment (Bill of Rights) case, but it is also an example of selective incorporation.
Text-Based Sources: The exam requires you to analyze documentary sources in terms of how they relate to key principles of U.S. government. These sources include historical documents or modern writings by political scientists and historians. You may be asked to analyze the perspective of the author, identify the author's thesis and reasoning in your own words, explain evidence to support the argument, or describe an alternate perspective. Be prepared to explain the potential implications of the author's reasoning.
Quantitative Sources: Both the multiple-choice and free-response questions require analysis of quantitative data (measured numerically) presented in graph or chart form. You will be asked to identify similarities, differences, and trends, as well as reach accurate conclusions that apply your knowledge of course material. You will also be asked to explain the importance of the information in the data.
Visual Sources: The exam will include various visual sources, including cartoons, maps, and infographics. Thus, you will need to interpret information presented graphically, which means familiarizing yourself with the concepts of viewpoint, data point, trends, implications, limitations, and sources.
6. USE THIS CRASH COURSE TO BUILD A PLAN FOR SUCCESS ON THE AP® U.S. GoPo EXAM
This book is the result of a detailed analysis of the most recent College Board AP® U.S. Government and Politics Course and Exam Description, released in 2019. This Crash Course includes the key political science terminology, a summary of each of the five units, descriptions of the nine foundational documents and the fifteen required Supreme Court cases.
You are advised to review each chapter that covers the material for each of the units, focusing on units or sections about which you feel more uncertain. Each chapter outlines the essential knowledge for each unit as determined by the College Board. Pay special attention to the Test Tips that highlight difficult topics and help you make important distinctions that will give you the edge you need on exam day.
Study the chapters that discuss specific strategies for tackling the six styles of multiple-choice questions and the four types of free-response questions. In addition, be sure to take the online practice exam that comes with this book.
After completing the online exam, which mimics the actual exam in the number and type of questions, be sure to read the detailed explanations to deepen your connection with the material. Notice what distinguishes the best answer from the inferior distractors.
7. SUPPLEMENT CRASH COURSE WITH COLLEGE BOARD MATERIALS
This Crash Course has everything you need to succeed on the exam. However, the College Board's website is also a valuable resource. The site provides information about the test structure, question types, FAQs, and more importantly, additional study materials and sample questions.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "AP U.S. Government And Politics Crash Course"
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Table of Contents
About Our Book v
About Our Authors vi
Part I Introduction
Chapter 1 Seven Keys for Success on the AP® U.S. Government and Politics Exam 3
Chapter 2 Key Terms 13
Part II Content Review
Unit 1 Foundations of American Democracy
Chapter 3 Foundational Concepts and Documents 27
Chapter 4 Federalism 47
Unit 2 Interactions Among Branches of Government
Chapter 5 The Legislative Branch 61
Chapter 6 The Executive Branch 85
Chapter 7 The Federal Bureaucracy 103
Chapter 8 The Judicial Branch 115
Unit 3 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Chapter 9 Civil Liberties 133
Chapter 10 Civil Rights 157
Unit 4 American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
Chapter 11 American Political Ideologies and Beliefs 175
Chapter 12 Political Data and Polling 189
Unit 5 Political Participation
Chapter 13 Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Campaign Finance 199
Chapter 14 Voter Behavior and Elections 219
Chapter 15 The Media 241
Part III Key Documents, Court Cases, and Laws
Chapter 16 Required Foundational Documents 253
Chapter 17 Required Supreme Court Cases 259
Chapter 18 Important Laws 267
Part IV Test-Taking Strategies and Practice Questions
Chapter 19 Mastering the Multiple-Choice Questions 275
Chapter 20 Practice Multiple-Choice Questions 279
Chapter 21 Mastering the Free-Response Questions 301
Practice Exam rea.com/studycenter