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How to Get a 5 in AP Comparative Government


written by

Fatima Raja

fatima raja

Brandon Wu

brandon wu

(editor)

published on september 23, 2020

Last updated on September 23, 2020

Even though I fully believe that you're not defined by a number, College Board does not feel the same way (for legal reasons, that is a joke).

On a more serious note, if you're taking AP classes, you're probably aware of the fact that college credit for these classes depends on your score. So, getting a higher score means more credit hours you get out of the way before even stepping foot on campus. And, that means there's more money ๐Ÿ’ฐ in your bank at the end of the day.

That's why we're sharing our favorite how-to-ace-the-comp-gov-exam tips with you!

Make Study Guides

Making study guides throughout the year, as your teacher guides you through each unit, is important for two reasons.

The first is that it'll help you do well in class because you'll be studying the exam content by making study guides. This also means you won't be learning an entire semester's content the night before the AP exam...which is a mistake I may or may not have made at some point during my high school career.

Anyhow, the second reason that making study guides is a smart move is that it'll make reviewing 10x easier. When AP review season swings around, you can break out your wonderful study guides and get to reviewing.

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When you read the dictionary for fun #JustGirlyThings. Image courtesy of Pixabay

Understand the Theory

A lot of the CompGov exam is being able to explain and analyze concepts that you went over in class. You have to not only know what terms mean but also be able to apply them to whatever scenario you're presented with in a free-response question (FRQ) or multiple-choice question (MCQ).

The good thing is that all the charts, graphs, and references on the CompGov exam are from real sources (like the UN). So, you should be able to situate the stimulus within the context you learned in class. It will never be random stuff you've never encountered before.

But, that's why understanding the theory behind all of the political institutions is so important. It will help you know what factors shaped the societies that exist in the Big Six today.

Know the Facts (and the Vocab)

Knowing the cold hard facts, like the fact that the UK has a parliament, is key when it comes to the CompGov exam.

At the end of the day, a lot of the exam questions will just come down to you knowing about the differences between two countries' political systems or some other fact that doesn't require a ~ton~ of critical thinking. There's a lot of questions that ask you to recall course content.

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He's the valedictorian of my heart! ๐Ÿ˜ Image courtesy of Pixabay

That's why you need to make sure you know common course ideas, including:

  • the political systems a country has

  • what their civil society looks like

  • the historical development of each country's politics.

It's stuff you can only get from actually studying for the exam. So, pro-tip here ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฝ , study!

Practice!

I'm always telling you to take a practice test, and sometimes you must wonder if I have any other advice. Trust me, I get it.

It's for a good reason, though: practice tests are the best way to get ready for the AP exam. It's the only way you'll be able to gauge how ready you are. Knowing what parts are difficult for you, whether it's the multiple-choice or the FRQs is important. It'll help you focus your prep time on the things you need to improve.

Because both the free-response and multiple-choice sections are worth the same amount for this exam, they're literally equally important to do well on.

Taking practice tests also helps you build stamina, so you don't fall asleep halfway through the actual exam ๐Ÿ˜‚.

Set up a review plan

April showers bring May flowers is truly a metaphor for studying for your AP tests. Let me break it down: April showers = you putting in blood, sweat, and tears (none of them literally, please! #self-care) to get ready for your exam.

The May flowers ๐ŸŒธ are the fruits of your labor aka when you realize that you ๐Ÿ’ฏ % got a 5 on that exam. With this analysis, it's a shock I'm not on the AP Lit team.

So, that said, you need to figure out exactly how you're going to go over all the content you learned throughout the year and store it all in your brain for the actual exam.

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What we don't want is you, in the forest, trying to magic your way to having more time to study like the girl in this photo. Image courtesy of Pixabay

That's where creating a review plan comes in.

Figure out the day of the CompGov exam, and work backward.

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Schedule out some content review and practice time in the weeks leading up to it, and factor in the reviewing you'll be doing if you have other exams.

This way, you can breeze through AP exam season.

Closing Thoughts

Nearly a quarter of the people who took the CompGov exam in 2019 got a five, so we know that you can do it, too!

As long as you put in the work, study, and practice, you'll be fine.

Just take a deep breath and remember all the effort you put in. You got this. ๐Ÿ˜

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