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published on september 7, 2020
Last updated on September 7, 2020
Self-studying may seem like something only superheroes 🦸🏽♀️ or Katherine Johnson could do, but tons of people do it every year. It means you can do it, too!
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this: you need a schedule. Especially if you're not going to be in class every day and following a schedule your teacher made, you're going to need some sort of structure. This will help you space out your learning and not get overwhelmed with all of the other classes you're taking.
It's okay if life gets in the way and you can't stick to the schedule exactly. Having some sort of studying plan in the first place will allow you to alter it as you see fit.
Trust us, when the school year gets into full swing, you'll be glad you have a game plan.
What we don't want to happen if you're self-studying. Image credit of Memedriod.
CompGov can be challenging because there's so much content to remember about six different political systems. Having a chart with a few different categories (like political system, civil society, etc.) can be helpful.
Throughout the year, you can add new info you learn to the chart, and break it out to review come review season.
If you live in Mexico 🇲🇽 and are very familiar with the political system in your country, then you don't really need to keep reading the stuff you already know. That time could be better utilized in reading up about Nigeria's civil society.
Of course, you may have blind spots, so it's a good idea to see what content is important to the exam, just in case it's not something you know about. In general, though, you'll be more motivated to learn CompGov content if it's new and interesting, rather than redundant.
Obviously, we're a big advocate for keeping up with current events (see: shameless plug 👀), but it's actually really helpful when it comes to CompGov! There's a bunch of ways you can do this, like listening to podcasts or subscribing to this student-run newsletter.
Hearing about protests in Hong Kong or elections in Nigeria will help you situate the concepts you're learning on your own in the real world. Those concepts that seem so unreal will start making much more sense to you.
Plus, there's the added bonus of being able to use the stuff you learn on the actual exam.
Words. Sometimes it's just so hard to get them to work, but they're actually really important. Shocker, I know.
Actually me at some points while writing this post. Image from the Office Quotes.
When it comes to CompGov, knowing the vocab is pretty critical. If you don't know what "legitimacy" or a "supranational organization" is when you're looking at an FRQ on the AP exam, you might get stressed (and AP exams already aren't a lot of fun 🐸☕️ ). Luckily for you, there's an easy way to avoid that.
Just break out this list of great Quizlets by unit that we compiled and get a-studying!
Everyone's always talking about how great the Internet is. I mean, all of the information you could ask for is just a hop, skip, and click away. It's even better when it comes to self-studying for an AP exam. You can watch YouTube videos, read blog posts, study Quizlets, or ask questions on forums.
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There's also some great print resources that you can look to, like prep books or newspapers (because we support local journalism here at Fiveable 😤). Diversifying the places you go to learn all about CompGov will not only keep you from getting bored, it'll also help you make sure you've got all your bases ⚾️ covered.
You want to be familiar with what the CompGov test actually looks like, so this one should be something you really prioritize.
Whether it's doing a couple practice FRQs every few weeks or doing the multiple choice questions at the end of your prep book's chapter, having a good sense of what the test is going to be like is important
So, here are some past FRQs that will be great practice for the real thing!
This is a bit related to the practice tip, but it still needs to be said. If you only miss one or two questions on a 60-question practice test but get one point out of 10 on an FRQ, then you know what you need to focus on.
It may feel good to just keep getting lots of multiple-choice questions right, but it won't exactly help you score really high on the actual exam. And trust me, I know how hard it is to do poorly at something and then have to keep doing it. Buut, it's also the only way to improve.
Choose your AP exam fighter. Image credit of Pixabay.
One of our new initiatives here at Fiveable for the 2020-2021 school year is Fiveable Courses! You can sign up for the AP CompGov Fiveable course to get access to a bunch of assistance throughout either the fall or spring semester. This can be super helpful—whether you are self-studying or looking for extra support to supplement your in-class work.
A Fiveable course includes:
👩🏫 weekly 60-min live lectures
📃 study guides for every unit
🤔 projects or practice assignments
💭 feedback from exam readers
💬 office hours led by student TAs
🧑 active community & support system
It's $55, and it'll be worth it in the long run! 🙂 Sign up for Fiveable's AP CompGov course today!
Whether you've self-studied for a different class or this is your first time taking on the challenge, these tips are tried and true. They should help you structure your learning and keep you accountable. That said, keep in mind you don't have to do every single thing on this list to be successful on the CompGov exam. You can pick and choose what works for you! Good luck!
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