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Is AP US Government Hard? Is AP US Government Worth Taking?

4 min read•november 18, 2020

akhilesh55725

Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan


AP US Government 🏛️

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Overview

Welcome! You're probably wondering: should I take AP® Gov? Hopefully, after reading this blog, you can make the right decision for yourself 🎉

🏛️ All About US Gov

Have you ever watched a political news show 📺 and felt like you didn't understand enough about politics to actually form an opinion? If this is the case, as it was for me before I took the class, this course will be great for you!
It'll help you understand why the structure of our democracy ⚖ is the way it is, and give you some more knowledge to win your next political argument😉
A student said the following about the course:
"Before going into the class, I didn’t pay attention to politics and had no opinions on anything political, but now, I watch political news every day, follow all of my favorite political figures, and have conversations with friends and family about politics. I truly can’t wait to be able to vote, thanks to AP Gov!" -Connor D.

🎒 US Gov Curriculum

Here's a breakdown of the major units you'll be learning about!
  • Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
  • Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
  • Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
  • Unit 5: Political Participation
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-HjYY9DcFsSMV.png?alt=media&token=e3eb85fe-8e42-4e42-ae43-43fb0404fc74

Remember the Schoolhouse Rock song? The one that tells you about how a bill becomes a law? You'll learn more about that process in Unit 2! Image labeled for reuse from Sketchport.

As you can see, this goes through most of what you'd need to know to understand how the US government functions. Also, you'll learn about some landmark Supreme Court cases ⚖ that are heavily referenced, as well as some of the foundational documents of the United States!
Are you more interested in learning about governments around the world? If so, check out AP Comparative Government! It dives deep into a variety of different government structures from around the world!

📚 How hard is US Gov?

The million-dollar question—how hard is the class? There are varying opinions about this course and how difficult the content is.
The best place to get information on how hard the course is would be from students that have taken the class at your school, or the teacher that teaches your class. This will help answer your questions about workload, time commitment, and course structure, which might sway you one direction or the other.
One thing present in many student comments was that the course required a decent amount of memorization, which was unlike some of the more thematic AP History courses.
The other main sentiment from students is that this course is interesting, useful, and applies to current events and news 📰 US Gov has a curriculum with concepts that can pretty much tie into the nightly news every day.
Watch our current event streams 🎥 here!
If you consciously make note of that and try to make connections, you'll be even more successful!
Here are some student statements that go along with this:
"Tie what you learn into current events! Sometimes AP gov can seem like a history class, and in a way, it almost is. But remember that the ideas from the curriculum are very current, and being able to make these connections will better reinforce what you learn."—Katie W.
"Downloading news apps like The Atlantic and CNN are very helpful to apply to the curriculum and for current events quizzes. Podcasts were convenient for me to listen to on my way to school in the morning."—Kaitlyn M.

Resources:

📈Breaking Down the Numbers and Receiving Credit

If you're a stats person, this section is for you! Let's look at the score distributions released from College Board for the 2019 exam.
Overall Pass Rate: 55.1%
  • 5: 12.9%
  • 4: 12.4%
  • 3: 29.8%
  • 2: 24.8 %
  • 1: 20.1%
This pass rate is pretty average when compared to most AP courses! A majority of students passed the AP exam.
You might want to see what your school's pass rate is! This might help judge how well students that have taken the course with your specific teacher have done.
Around 2000 schools accept AP US Government exam 📝 scores for some sort of credit. If you're conflicted about whether you should take the class, see if the schools you're looking into will accept the exam for credit! You can use College Board's search feature here to figure that out 🎓
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Maybe this library holds the secret to AP Gov! Looks pretty cool. 😎 Image from Pixabay.

To Take or Not to Take?

We also have a huge bank of resources, including study guides, live streams, and trivia for this class, and we'll get you ready for the AP exam ✍
To end with, here's a quote from a student that speaks to the power of this course ✊
"AP Government was a great class to have the opportunity to gain greater exposure into the world we are constantly surrounded by everyday. We as students need to be involved in the conversation led by today's leaders, so learning about our government through this perspective alleviated any hardship this class would have brought had it not been for the gravity of its impact."—Izabella P.
If you decide not to take the class, though, that's okay too! Make sure you prioritize yourself in this decision; if you think the class will be overwhelming, don't take it! We understand, and we'll still help you in any other class you might be taking 🙂
We wish you the best—good luck!

Resources:

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Browse Study Guides By Unit
🏛Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
⚖️Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
✊Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
🐘Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
🗳Unit 5: Political Participation
✏️Frequently Asked Questions
🧐Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
✍️Free Response Questions (FRQ)
✍️Exam Skills (MC, FRQ)
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