Everything you need to score higher on the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam -- Guaranteed.
Everything you need to score higher on the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam -- Guaranteed.
Kaplan's comprehensive guide includes:
- 2 full-length practice tests
- Diagnostic test to target areas for score improvement
- Detailed answer explanations
- Hundreds of practice questions, covering the Constitution to the Electoral College to the influence of the media on current political affairs
- Review of important events, concepts, and leaders
- Powerful strategies to help you score higher
About the Kaplan Panel of AP Experts
To give our readers the best possible preparation, Kaplan has partnered with teachers who are experts on the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam to review the book for up-to-the-minute accuracy, test-like practice, and appropriate content. Chuck Brownson teaches AP U.S. Government at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land, Texas and has more than 2 years of experience with the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam.
|Series:||Kaplan AP U. S. Government and Politics: an Apex Learning Guide Ser.|
|Edition description:||Older Edition|
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 10.70(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Kaplan AP US Government & Politics 2006
KaplanCopyright © 2005 Kaplan
All right reserved.
Chapter One: Inside the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam
This chapter will introduce the basics of the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam format: topics covered on the exam, patterns of previous tests, how your exam will be scored, and registration issues. This guide will help you get started on your approach to study and will help you decide which basic themes to target.
Overview of the Test Structure
The AP U.S. Government & Politics exam is used by most universities to give credit for a freshman level, 3-hour, introductory course. It is considered the equivalent of a university course final examination.
The College Board's test has two major parts: the multiple-choice section and free-response section. Each section is worth 50% of your total score.
Section Number of Questions Time Allowed
1 60 (5 choices: A to E) 45 minutes
(3/4 of a minute per question)
2 4 (each a free-response) 1 hour, 40 minutes
(25 minutes each)
The time constraints of this exam are a challenge. Successful students are prepared to quickly recognize key terms and meanings. National graders often note some fatigue by the time the third and fourth free-response questions are addressed. If you gain a comfort level with the subject vocabulary and train yourself to save time on the free-response questions, you will be ahead of the game.
Topics Covered on the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam
The current structure of the multiple-choice topics is meant as a general guide for study of the different course units. The numbers of questions per topic are set about 2 years before the exam is administered, so the 2006 exam was assembled between 2003 and 2004. Percentage guides given by College Board are approximates only. At the time of this publication, the May 2005 course guide was the most recent version available. No significant changes in this year's exam have been announced by College Board.
Free-Response Questions: Topics and Expectations
The test structure was revised in 1998 to include four free-response questions. Students are asked to answer all four of the questions, unlike earlier tests that allowed students to select questions from several choices. The following table shows what topics have been selected since 1998.
1998: 1 Primaries and Conventions Four effects of change: primaries and conventions
1998: 2 Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment Incorporation cases: Gitlow or Wolf or Gideon
1998: 3 War Powers, Impoundment Describe the two acts, evaluate acts
1998: 4 Low Voter Turnout Demographics, three institutional obstacles
1999: 1 Candidates and the Media Two ways that the media affects candidates, ways media used
1999: 2 Interest Groups and Policy ID groups, group resources, characteristics
1999: 3 Oversight of Bureaucracy Two methods of oversight, oversight explanations
1999: 4 Charts: Federal Budget Mandatory, discretionary, entitlement, changes
2000: 1 Constitution vs. Articles Three problems of Articles, policy tensions
2000: 2 Court "Above Politics"? Three nominee characteristics, two ways of influence
2000: 3 Map: 1992, 1996 Votes Regions for Dems or GOP, explain factors
2000: 4 Campaign Finance Reform? Obstacles: select Buckley, soft money, incumbency
2001: 1 Formal and Informal Changes Identify two formal, two informal, and state why the changes were made
2001: 2 Chart: Incumbent Reelection Patterns of elections, factors, consequences
2001: 3 Ratification of 14th Amendment Significance in cases, due process
2001: 4 Enact Public Policy Difficult: divided government, weak parties
2002: 1 Divided Government Problems, ways the president can overcome this
2002: 2 Chart: Benefits for Children and Seniors Changes in help, relevant factors, effects
2002: 3 Institutions and Minorities Federalism, parties, electoral system
2002: 4 Lower Voter Turnout Two factors about turnout, why is turnout higher in presidential elections?
2003: 1 Presidential Approval Ratings Two factors (positive or negative) of approval of President and why
2003: 2 Non-Voting Participation Two forms of participation in government other than voting, and their advantages
2003: 3 Graph of Federal and State Employment Trends of changes, block grants, mandates
2003: 4 Leaders and Committees Specialization, reciprocity, logrolling, parties
2004: 1 Presidential Powers: Formal and Informal Two formal powers, two informal, advantages
2004: 2 Interest Group Techniques Litigation, contributions, grassroots, groups
2004: 3 Minor Parties Obstacles to third parties, contributions to third parties
2004: 4 Decline: Confidence in Government Divided government and decline in confidence in government, what are the costs and why does it occur
2005: 1 Independent Courts Two ways in which the courts are insulated, two ways they are not
2005: 2 Change: The Federal Government versus the States Tax and spend, elastic clause, commerce, Acts
2005: 3 Federal Protection from States Selective incorporation, cases that show Federal protection
2005: 4 Campaign Finance Reform Soft money, independent spending, limits on money
As noted, all major topics of the government course are represented in recent free-response selections. The questions require that students understand how the U.S. government balances the needs of many different groups: how it changes, how citizens participate, and how power is shared. As will be discussed in much greater detail later, the free-response section also includes the key instructions to "describe" and "explain" each section of each question. This is where well-prepared students will gain critical extra exam points.
How the Exam is Scored
Since section 1 has 60 questions and 60 possible points, the free-response questions are also converted to a possible 60 points, giving each section a 50% value of the final score.
Multiple-Choice Scoring Rules
Each correct answer is worth 1 point. Each incorrect response is a deduction of one fourth of a point. A question left blank has no effect on the final points gained. The maximum score on this section is 60 points.
Free-Response Scoring Rules
Each of the four questions is graded using a "rubric" point system. Each question may have a different number of possible points. Most recent free-response questions have contained between 5 and 9 points. It is usually very easy to determine the number of points that need to be addressed. Questions are written with this in mind. An example would be a question with two parts, listed a and b. In part a, the student would be told to "identify" and "explain" a particular item. In part b, the instructions to "identify" and "explain" might be repeated. The student and the grader will immediately look for 4 points, one for the identification and one for the explanation of each a and b.
Regardless of the individual points set for each free-response question, the 4 questions are converted to a total of 60 points, or 50% of the test. The test committee takes the fraction of points received on the question, multiplies by 15, and then adds the four scores together.
Composite Scoring Rules
The most important scoring issue to note is that each year's test scores are "relative" to national results of that year. There is no set number of points that results in a passing score. The College Board gives each student a final score of 1 through 5, with 5 being the highest. Careful sets of statistics are used by the national office to insure that appropriate numbers of students receive scores correctly identifying levels of mastery appropriate for the universities. If a test is particularly difficult in a given year and overall raw scores are down, the number of 5s, etc. continues to be similar to past years.
Scoring Results, 2004
Number of Students
(Total = 112,894) Exam's Final Score
(College Board Description) Percent of Total 7,029 5 (Extremely Well Qualified) 6.2
21,145 4 (Well Qualified) 18.7
31,175 3 (Qualified) 27.6
36,419 2 (Possibly Qualified) 32.3
17,126 1 (No Recommendation) 15.2
The chance of receiving at least a 3 are above 50 percent. Many universities will extend some sort of class credit for scores 3 and above. Almost all universities accept scores of 4 and 5, and almost 25% of all students qualified in that range.
Many students and teachers ask what kind of raw score will create the appropriate final score. Each year's scores differ based on the relative difficulty of the questions. Usually, a raw score of over 70 percent will place you near the top of the list with the 5s. A composite score above 60 percent is within the usual range of 4s. The test is challenging but manageable. If a student can manage 45 correct answers on the 60 multiple choice-questions and achieve 45 points on the free response, a high final score can be achieved.
AP Grade Reports are sent to student's addresses, high schools, and requested universities in July. Students may also call for scores, but there is a fee for this. Check the College Board website for test dates and fee information.
Registration and Fees
To register for the exam, contact your guidance counselor or AP Coordinator. If your school does not administer the AP exam, contact AP for a listing of schools that do. Registration occurs in the spring; most schools complete the papers in March. At the time of this printing, the fee for an exam is $82. There are many possible deductions available. For those qualified with acute financial need, the College Board offers a $22 credit. In addition, many states offer subsidies to cover all or part of the exam.
For more information on the AP Program and the U.S. Government & Politics exam, contact:
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Phone: (609) 771-7300 or (877) 274-6474
Copyright © 2006 by Kaplan, Inc.
Excerpted from Kaplan AP US Government & Politics 2006 by Kaplan Copyright © 2005 by Kaplan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.