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The Complete Guide to the AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam

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Posted by Ashley Robinson | Mar 29, 2022 6:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

 

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The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam tests your knowledge of how the political systems in different countries are similar and different. The exam requires endurance, strong critical thinking, and top-notch writing skills…which means you’ll need to be extra prepared!

If you’re looking for an AP Comparative Government study guide to carry you through all of your AP prep, look no further than this article! We’ll walk you through: 

  • The structure and format of the AP Government — Comparative exam
  • The core themes and skills the exam tests you on
  • The types of questions that show up on the exam and how to answer them (with sample responses from real AP students!)
  • How the AP Comparative Government exam is scored, including official scoring rubrics
  • Four essential tips for preparing for the AP Comparative Government exam

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

 


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Understanding how major world governments work will be key to doing well on this exam!

 

Exam Overview: How Is the AP Government — Comparative Exam Structured?

First things first: you may see this exam referred to as both the AP Government — Comparative exam or the AP Comparative Government exam. Don't worry, though...both of these names refer to the same test! 

Now that we've cleared that up, let's look at the structure of the test itself. The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam tests your knowledge of basic political concepts and your ability to compare political systems and processes in different countries. 

This AP exam is on the shorter side, lasting for a total of two hours and 30 minutes. You’ll be required to answer 55 multiple-choice questions and four free-response questions during the exam. 

The AP Comparative Government exam is broken down into two sections. Section I of the exam consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and lasts for one hour. The first section of the exam accounts for 50% of your overall exam score. 

Section II of the AP Comparative Government exam consists of four free-response questions. On this part of the exam, you’ll be asked to provide open-ended, written responses to all four free-response questions. Section II lasts for one hour and 30 minutes and counts for 50% of your overall exam score

To give you a clearer picture of how the AP Comparative Government exam is structured, we’ve broken the core exam elements down in the table below: 

Section
Question Type
# of Questions
Time
% of Score
1
Multiple-choice
55
1 hour (60 minutes)
50% 
2
Free-response 
4
1 hour, 30 minutes
50%

Source: The College Board

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam tests you on a wide range of topics and skills that you need to really drive home before exam day. To help you prepare, we’ll go over the AP Comparative Government course themes, skills, and units next!

 

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What’s on the AP Government — Comparative Exam? Course Themes, Skills, and Units

The AP Government — Comparative course teaches you the skills used by political scientists. To develop these skills during the course, you’ll explore content that falls into five big ideas that guide the course. 

The five big ideas for AP Comparative Government are: 

  • Big Idea 1: Power and Authority
  • Big Idea 2: Legitimacy and Stability
  • Big Idea 3: Democratization
  • Big Idea 4: Internal/External Forces
  • Big Idea 5: Methods of Political Analysis 

On the AP Comparative Government exam, you’ll show your mastery of the skills associated with these big ideas by answering questions that ask you to apply concepts, analyze data, compare countries, and write political science arguments.

The content and skills you’ll study throughout the AP Comparative Government course are divided out into five units of study. You’ll be tested on content from all five course units during the AP Comparative Government exam. Getting familiar with what each unit covers and how those topics are weighted in your overall exam score will help you get prepared for exam day!

You can view each course unit, the topics they cover, and how they’re weighted in your exam score below: 

Unit
Topics Covered
Percentage of exam score
Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments
  • How political scientists collect and use data and information
  • Types of political systems: regimes, states, nations, and governments
  • Democracy and authoritarianism
  • The ways governments and regimes get, keep, and lose power
  • Factors that can either help or undermine the stability of a government
18%–27% of multiple-choice score
Unit 2: Political Institutions
  • Parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential government systems
  • Executive institutions (for example, presidents, prime ministers, cabinets)
  • Legislative systems (for example, congressional or parliamentary)
  • Judicial systems (judges and courts)
22%–33% of multiple-choice score
Unit 3: Political Culture and Participation
  • Where the political attitudes and beliefs of citizens come from
  • Political ideologies such as individualism, communism, and fascism
  • Political participation by citizens and its effects
  • Civil rights and civil liberties
  • Social divisions within a country and their effects
11%–18% of multiple-choice score
Unit 4: Party and Electoral Systems and Citizen Organizations
  • Types of electoral systems and election rules
  • Types of political party systems
  • How social movements and interest groups cause political change
13%–18% of multiple-choice score
Unit 5: Political and Economic Changes and Development
  • Political responses to global market forces
  • The effects of economic liberalization policies
  • How governments adapt social policies to address political, cultural, and economic changes
  • Rapid industrialization and its impacts
  • The causes and effects of demographic changes
16%–24% of multiple-choice score

Source: The College Board

 

Now that you know what’s on the AP Comparative Government exam, let’s break down the two sections of the exam even further. We’ll look at Section I and Section II of the AP Comparative Government exam next!

 

AP Comparative Government Exam: Section I

The first section of the exam tests your ability to describe, explain, compare, and analyze political concepts and processes, various forms of data, and text passages. You’ll be asked to demonstrate these skills by answering both individual and sets of multiple-choice questions. 

Section I consists of 55 multiple-choice questions, lasts for one hour, and counts for 50% of your exam score. 

Here’s a breakdown of how each skill is assessed on the multiple-choice section of the exam: 

  • Approximately 40–55% of multiple-choice questions assess students’ ability to apply political concepts and processes in hypothetical and authentic contexts. 
  • Approximately 25–32% of multiple-choice questions will assess students’ ability to compare the political concepts and processes of China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
  • Approximately 10–16% of multiple-choice questions will assess students’ ability to analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics
  • Approximately 9–11% of multiple-choice questions will assess students’ ability to read, analyze, and interpret text-based sources.

To help you get a better idea of what the multiple-choice questions are like on this part of the AP Comparative Government exam, let’s look at a sample question and how it’s scored next

 

Sample Question: Multiple-Choice

Looking at sample multiple-choice questions can help you grasp the connection between what you learn in the AP Comparative Government course and what you’ll be tested on during the exam. 

The individual multiple-choice question below comes from the College Board’s official guide to AP Comparative Government and Politics

body-ap-comp-gov-image-3Source: The College Board

The multiple-choice question above asks you to compare two or more countries based on their political systems and behaviors. It draws on your knowledge of Big Idea #1: Power and Authority because it asks about the role of government executives in different countries. You’ll focus on these concepts during Unit 2 of your AP Comparative Government course, which explores political institutions in different countries. 

The correct answer to this multiple-choice question is D: “The Chinese president and the Nigerian president are both commanders in chief of the armed forces.” 

 

AP Comparative Government Exam: Section II

Like Section I, the second section of the exam tests your ability to describe, explain, compare, and analyze political concepts and processes, various forms of data, and text passages. In this section, you’ll be asked to demonstrate these skills by providing written responses

Section II consists of four free-response questions, lasts for one hour and 30 minutes, and counts for 50% of your exam score. 

There are four different types of free-response questions on the exam, and each one tests your reading and writing skills in different ways. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll be asked to do on each free-response question on the exam: 

  • 1 conceptual analysis question: You’ll define or describe a political concept and/or compare political systems, principles, institutions, processes, policies, or behaviors.
  • 1 quantitative analysis question: You’ll analyze data to find patterns and trends and reach a conclusion.
  • 1 comparative analysis question: You’ll compare political concepts, systems, institutions, processes, or policies in two of the course countries.
  • 1 argument essay: You’ll write an evidence-based essay supporting a claim or thesis.

To help you get a better sense of what the free-response questions are like on this part of the AP Comparative Government exam, let’s look at an example of each type of question and how it’s scored next

 

Sample Question: Conceptual Analysis Free-Response

The free-response question below is taken from the College Board’s official guide to AP Comparative Government and Politics. This sample question is an example of a conceptual analysis question. This is the first type of question that you’ll encounter on the exam. 

On the real exam, you’ll have 10 minutes to answer the conceptual analysis question. Check out the question below: 

body-ap-comp-gov-image-1Source: The College Board

To understand how to answer this question correctly, we’ll need to look at how conceptual analysis questions are scored on the exam. The scoring rubric below shows how your response to this question would be evaluated after the exam: 

Question Component: 
Acceptable Responses  
Possible Points 
Part A: Define economic liberalization. 
Acceptable definitions include: 
Economic liberalization occurs when a state reduces its economic role and embraces free market mechanisms.
1
Part B: Describe a measure that a democratic or authoritarian government could use to liberalize their economy.
Acceptable descriptions include: 
  • Democratic or authoritarian governments can eliminate subsidies or tariffs to liberalize their economies.
  • Democratic or authoritarian governments can privatize government-owned industries to liberalize their economies.
  • Democratic or authoritarian governments can open their markets to foreign direct investment to liberalize their economies.
1
Part C: Explain one reason why a country would choose to liberalize its economy.
Acceptable explanations include: 
  • A country might choose to liberalize its economy to remedy undesirable domestic circumstances, such as one of the following:
    • rising unemployment
    • reduced productivity
    • trade deficits.
  • Liberalizing the economy could take pressure off of the government and satisfy its citizens.
  • A country might choose to liberalize its economy due to pressure from other countries and
    international organizations.
  • A country might choose to liberalize its economy because free trade and a liberalized economy helps to develop a middle class.
1
Part D: Explain why a decision to introduce economic liberalization policies might affect social cleavages.
Acceptable explanations include: 
  • Economic liberalization policies might affect social cleavages because the economic policies often contribute to rising inequality between classes or regions.
  • Economic liberalization policies might affect social cleavages because the economic policies often contribute to inequalities because a middle class develops, but so do disparities among groups (rich/ poor, urban/rural)
  • Economic liberalization policies might affect social cleavages because less protectionism and freer movement of goods and services may cause tensions with immigration and people looking for work.
1

Source: The College Board

 

Sample Question: Quantitative Analysis Free-Response

The Quantitative Analysis free-response question gives you quantitative data in the form of a graph, table, map, or infographic. You’ll be asked to describe, draw a conclusion, or explain that data and its connections to key course concepts. 

The quantitative analysis question is the second question you’ll encounter on the exam. It’s worth five raw points of your score on this section of the exam, and you should spend about 20 minutes answering this question. 

The quantitative analysis question below comes from the College Board’s official guide to AP Comparative Government and Politics

 

body-ap-comp-gov-image-4Source: The College Board

 

To get a better idea of how to answer this question, let’s look at the scoring rubric that’s used to evaluate this quantitative analysis question on the exam: 

Question Component: 
Acceptable Responses 
Possible Points 
Part A: Identify the country with the highest turnout in a single year.
Iran
1
Part B: Describe voter turnout between 2007 and 2015 in Nigeria.
Acceptable descriptions include: 
  • Voter turnout in Nigeria declined between 2007 and 2015.
  • In 2007 voter turnout was just under 50 percent, and in 2015 turnout declined to 32 percent.
1
Part C: Describe political efficacy.
Acceptable descriptions include:
  • Citizens have faith and trust in government and believe that they can influence politics.
  • Citizens believe that one’s vote can influence political affairs.
1
Part D: Using your knowledge of political efficacy and the data in the graph, explain the pattern of Iran’s political turnout in 2009 and 2013.
Acceptable explanations include: 
  • In 2009 voter turnout was high because voters wanted to elect reformist Musavi to office and remove hardliner Ahmadinejad from office.
  • In 2009, once the candidates were vetted, there was real political competition among candidates, with no guaranteed winner, and citizens believed their votes mattered.
  • Voter turnout in 2013 was lower than in 2009 but still fairly high. It was lower than in 2009 because citizens had less faith in free and competitive elections, and this was the first presidential election since the protests of 2009.
1
Part E: Explain what the turnout data illustrate about political participation in authoritarian regimes.
Acceptable explanations include: 
  • Authoritarian regimes often allow citizens to participate to develop and maintain a sense of political legitimacy.
  • Political participation in authoritarian regimes is often mandatory, which often means that turnout in authoritarian regimes is higher than in democratic regimes.
1

Source: The College Board

 

Sample Question: Comparative Analysis Free-Response

The Comparative Analysis free-response question assesses your ability to define, describe, compare, or explain political concepts, systems, institutions, or policies in different countries. This question is the third free-response question that you’ll answer on the exam. 

The Comparative Analysis question is worth five raw points of your score on this section of the exam, and you should spend about 20 minutes answering this question. 

The comparative analysis question below comes from the College Board’s official guide to AP Comparative Government and Politics

 

body-ap-comp-gov-image-6Source: The College Board

 

We can take a look at the scoring rubric that’s used to evaluate this type of free-response question to get a better idea of what types of responses will earn you full points: 

Question Component: 
Acceptable Responses 
Possible Points 
Part A: Define legislative independence.
Acceptable definition:
  • Legislative independence refers to the degree to which a legislature is free to exercise its powers without influence from other branches/institutions.
1
Part B: Explain how legislative independence is used by government institutions in two different AP Comparative Government and Politics course countries.
Acceptable explanations include the following (max 1 point per country):
  • In Iran the Majles has power over the budget, confirms and impeaches ministers, and may issue formal questions that the government must answer. The Majles uses this power to check the executive branch.
  • In the United Kingdom, the legislature is fused with the executive branch, but the legislature solely is responsible for making decisions on financial bills, such as new taxes.
  • During Question Time, members of the United Kingdom legislature can question the prime minister about various policies, and it uses this power to hold the prime minister accountable and open debate.
  • In Nigeria, the legislature passes bills into laws, although bills still require the president’s signature.
  • In Nigeria, the constitution gives the legislature the power to impeach the president as well as
    oversight, and it uses both powers to remain independent and to check the executive branch.
  • In Mexico, the constitution gives the legislature the power to impeach the president, and it uses this power to check the executive branch.
2
Part C: Explain why each of the two AP Comparative Government and Politics course countries described in (B) would choose to constrain legislative powers. 
Acceptable explanations include the following (max 1 point per country):
  • The Iranian government chooses to constrain the Majles to give the Supreme Leader more power.
  • The Iranian government constrains the power of the Majles to make sure that all institutions abide by
    theocratic rules.
  • Iran’s Expediency Council, which is selected by the Supreme Leader as an advisory committee to resolve disputes between the Majles and the Guardian Council, can constrain the Majles to reduce its power.
  • In the United Kingdom, the legislature is constrained by elections. Legislatures constrain the power to maintain a balance of power and to maintain a separation of powers.
  • In the United Kingdom, all members of the House of Commons are up for election every 5 years. This constrains lawmakers to work for their constituents.
  • In Nigeria the House of Representatives is constrained by the executive branch, because the president wants to have more concentrated power.
  • In Mexico the legislature is constrained by elections as a way to maintain stability and prevent corruption.
2

Source: The College Board

 

Sample Question: Argument Essay Free-Response

The fourth and final free-response question you’ll encounter on the exam is the Argument Essay question. This free-response question assesses your ability to make a claim that responds to the question, defend and support your claim with reasonable evidence, and respond to an opposing view on the topic at hand. 

The Argument Essay question is worth five raw points, and it’s recommended that you spend about 40 minutes answering this question. 

The argument essay question below comes from the College Board’s official guide to AP Comparative Government and Politics

body-ap-comp-gov-image-2Source: The College Board

 

To understand what an effective response to this question looks like, we’ll need to think about how argument essay questions are scored on the exam. 

The scoring rubric for this free-response question is quite long; you’ll find four separate categories for evaluation in the rubric below, as well as examples of responses that will earn you full points in each category. 

The scoring rubric below shows how your response to this question will be evaluated: 

Scoring Guidelines Part A
Free-Response Question: Argument Essay  
Evaluation Category 
Responses that earn 0 points 
Responses that earn full points 
Part A: Claim/Thesis (0-1 points)
Responses that do not earn any points:
  • The intended claim or thesis only restates the prompt.
  • The intended claim or thesis does not make a claim that responds to the prompt.
Example responses: 
Restates the prompt:
  • “Democratic regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty in a country.”
  • “Authoritarian regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty in a country.”
Does not respond to the prompt:
  • “Democratic regimes maintain sovereignty by maintaining government legitimacy.”
  • “Authoritarian regimes maintain sovereignty through unchecked powers.”
Responds to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning.
Responses that earn this point:
  • The claim or thesis responds to the prompt rather than restating or rephrasing the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning.
  • The response must include a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning about whether democratic or authoritarian regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty in a country, using one or more of the provided course concepts: power; authority; or legitimacy.
Example responses:
  • “Democratic regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty in a country because they can do so by using less coercive power than authoritarian regimes.”
  • “Authoritarian regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty in a country because they can carry out their preferred policies and government actions without taking into account the wishes of citizens.”

 

Scoring Guidelines Part B
Free-Response Question: Argument Essay
Evaluation Category
Responses that earn 0 points 
Responses that earn one point 
Responses that earn two points
Part B: Evidence (0-2 points)
  • Do not provide any accurate evidence
  • Provide general (not specific) evidence
  • Provide evidence that is not relevant to the course concepts in the prompt
Examples that do not earn points:
Not specific:
  • “In democratic countries, officials must follow the rule of law.”
  • “In authoritarian countries, officials do not have to follow the rule of law.”
Not relevant to course concepts in the prompt:
  • “In Nigeria, the government fights corruption.”
  • “In the United Kingdom, they have a free media.”
  • “In China, the regime promotes economic growth.”
  • “In Iran and Russia, the government controls the media.”
Provides one piece of specific and relevant evidence from a course country relevant to one of the course concepts in the prompt.
Provides two pieces of specific and relevant evidence from one or more course countries relevant to one or more of the course concepts in the prompt.
Examples of acceptable specific and relevant evidence (1 point per example, max 2):
  • “In the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Nigeria, the government maintains sovereignty through the legitimacy of the citizens.”
  • “In the United Kingdom, government officials follow the rules, law, and regulations, which gives the government authority and allows it to maintain sovereignty.”
  • “In Mexico and Nigeria, government officials follow the rules and laws set forth in the constitution, which gives the government authority and allows it to maintain sovereignty.”
  • “In authoritarian regimes such as China, the state uses coercive power to maintain sovereignty and does not require the consent of citizens.”
  • “In China, the Communist Party maintains sovereignty and has complete control over transitions of power and transitions from one government to the next.”
  • “Iran uses its armed forces to maintain international and domestic sovereignty, which allows the Supreme Leader to maintain control of the population.”
  • “In democratic countries like the United Kingdom and Nigeria, government officials follow the rules and regulations that the constitution provides, which is a source of their authority.”

 

Scoring Guidelines Part C
Free-Response Question: Argument Essay
Evaluation Category  
Responses that earn 0 points  
Responses that earn full points 
Part C: Reasoning (0-1 points)
Responses that do not earn any points:
  • Include evidence but offer no reasoning to connect the evidence to the claim or thesis
  • Restate the prompt without explaining how the evidence supports the claim or thesis
Responses that earn this point:
Must explain the relationship between the evidence provided and the claim or thesis. 
Examples of reasoning that explain how evidence supports the claim or thesis: 
  • “Democratic regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty by
    maintaining high levels of legitimacy by acting on citizen input through representative officials.”
  • “As long as the governments follow democratic procedures and written rules of constitutions, they do not need to use coercive power to maintain sovereignty.”
  • “Authoritarian regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty because they can act more efficiently through the use of coercive power and thus quickly implement policies and make important decisions.”

 

Scoring Guidelines Part D
Free-Response Question: Argument Essay
Evaluation Category 
Responses that earn 0 points 
Responses that earn full points
Part D: Responds to alternative perspectives (0-1 points)
Responses that do not earn any points:
  • Restate the opposite of the claim or thesis
  • May identify an alternate perspective but do not refute, concede, or rebut that perspective to the provided claim or thesis
Examples of responses that do not earn this point:
Restates the opposite of the claim or thesis:
  • “Although some argue that democratic regimes are better at maintaining sovereignty, they are wrong because it is clear that authoritarian regimes are more effective.”
Identifies an alternate perspective but does not refute, concede, or rebut that perspective:
  • “There are some who argue that authoritarian regimes are more effective at maintaining sovereignty because they say that authoritarian regimes have more control over the people and thus can more easily maintain their rule.”
Responses that earn this point:
  • Must describe an alternate perspective AND refute, concede, or rebut that perspective
Examples of acceptable responses to an alternate perspective may include:
  • “Although democratic regimes are good at maintaining sovereignty in
    a country, authoritarian regimes may be just as effective at maintaining sovereignty. Authoritarian regimes can maintain sovereignty without consulting representatives or citizens and can make difficult decisions for the good of the country. Therefore, authoritarian regimes can be better at maintaining sovereignty.”
  • “Although democratic regimes are good at maintaining sovereignty
    in a country, there are potential problems. Democratic regimes have to incorporate citizen input into decision making, which can lead to counterproductive policies or decisions that are not necessarily good for democracy.”
  • “Although authoritarian regimes are good at maintaining sovereignty, democratic regimes can also be effective at maintaining sovereignty. Governing with the consent of the people, democratic regimes are good at maintaining sovereignty by maintaining government legitimacy. Having a legitimate and democratic government can be very efficient for maintaining sovereignty.”

Source: The College Board

 

How Is the AP Comparative Government Exam Scored? 

Before you take the AP Comparative Government exam, you need to know how your responses will be scored. Here, we’ll explain how each section of the AP Comparative Government exam is scored, scaled, and combined to produce your final score on the AP 1-5 scale.

As a quick reminder, here’s how the score percentages breakdown on the exam: 

  • Section I: Multiple-choice: 55 questions, 50% of overall score
  • Section II: Free-response: four questions, 50% of overall score
    • Question 1: Conceptual Analysis: 11%
    • Question 2: Quantitative Analysis: 12.5%
    • Question 3: Comparative Analysis: 12.5%
    • Question 4: Argument Essay: 14%

On the multiple-choice section, you’ll earn one raw point for each question you answer correctly. The maximum number of raw points you can earn on the multiple-choice section is 55 points. You won’t lose any points for incorrect answers!

The free-response questions are scored differently. The Conceptual Analysis question is worth four raw points, and the Quantitative Analysis, Comparative Analysis, and Argument Essay questions are each worth five raw points. Collectively, there are a total of 19 raw points you can earn on the free-response section

Remember: you’ll only lose points on free-response questions for big errors, like providing an incorrect definition or failing to justify your reasoning. While you should use proper grammar and punctuation, you won’t be docked points for minor errors as long as your responses are clear and easy to understand. 

You can earn 74 raw points on the AP Comparative Government exam. Here’s how those points are parsed out by section: 

  • 55 points for multiple-choice
  • 19 points for free-response

After your raw scores have been tallied, the College Board will convert your raw score into a scaled score of 1-5. When you receive your score report, that 1-5 scaled score is the one you’ll see. 

The 5 rate for the AP Comparative Government exam is fairly middle-of-the-road in comparison to other AP exams. Take a look at the table below to see what percentage of test takers earned each possible scaled score on the 2021 AP Comparative Government exam: 

AP Score
% of Students Who Earned Score (2021)
5
16.6
4
24.5
3
30.7
2
14.9
1
13.3

Source: The College Board

 

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4 Top Tips for Prepping for the AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam

If the AP Comparative Government exam is right around the corner for you, you’re probably thinking about how to prepare! We’re here to help you with that. Check out our four best tips for studying for the AP Comparative Government exam!

 

Tip 1: Start With a Practice Exam

One of the best ways to set yourself up for successful AP exam prep is to take a practice exam. Taking a practice AP Comparative Government exam before you really start studying can help you design a study routine that best suits your needs. 

When you take a practice exam before diving into your study regimen, you get the chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Identifying your weaknesses early on in your exam prep will help you tailor your study time to eliminating your weaknesses (which translates to earning more points on the exam!). 

We recommend taking a full practice exam in the time frame you’ll be allotted on the real exam. This will help you get a real sense of what the timing will feel like on exam day! After you take the practice exam, sit down and evaluate your results. Make note of the questions you missed, the skills those questions assess, and the course content they reference. You can then design a study routine that targets those tougher areas–and give yourself a better chance of earning full exam points in the process!

 

Tip 2: Create Your Own Cram Sheet

Everyone needs quality study materials in order to prepare well for AP exams. But did you know that creating your own study materials is a great way to help you remember tough material? Creating your own AP Comparative Government cram sheet is a great way to review course concepts and themes and organize your understanding of the material you’ll be tested over later.

You can look up AP Comparative Government cram sheets online and design yours in a similar way…or you can take some time to consider your needs as a learner and test-taker, then design a cram sheet that’s tailor-made for you. 

On your cram sheet, you’ll likely want to include course concepts, issues, and questions that pop up on homework, quizzes, and tests that you take in your AP Comparative Government class. From there, you can supplement your cram sheet with info you learn from practice exams, sample free-response questions, and official scoring rubrics. You can work on memorizing that material, or simply use it to organize your study routine!

 

Tip 3: Practice Free-Response Questions

Free-response questions on AP exams are notoriously difficult, and the AP Government Comparative free-response questions are no different. Writing-based questions can be intimidating for any test-taker, so it’s important to practice free-response questions before the exam. 

The College Board provides an archive of past official free-response questions on their website. You can use these to practice and study! Any free-response questions your teacher gives you in class are fair game as well. When you practice free-response questions, remember to stick to the timing you’ll be given on the real exam, and use official scoring rubrics to evaluate your responses. Doing these things will help you get used to what free-response questions will feel like on the real exam! 

 

Tip 4: Take Another Practice Exam

As you wrap up your exam prep and exam day nears, consider taking another practice exam. You can compare your results on your second practice exam to your results on the practice exam that you took before you started studying. You’ll get to see how much you’ve improved over time!

Taking a final practice exam a few weeks before exam day can also help you revamp your exam prep. You can use your exam results to focus your final study time on any remaining struggle areas you’re encountering. Also, your score on your final practice exam can help you get an idea of what you’re likely to score on the real exam. Having this knowledge going into test day can calm your nerves and give you confidence, which are both essential to success on the AP Comparative Government exam!

 

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What's Next? 

If you're taking AP Comparative Government, you're probably thinking about taking more AP classes during high school. Here's a list of the hardest AP classes and tests for you. 

Wondering how your AP Comparative Government score stacks up to the competition? Here's a list of the average AP scores for every exam to help you figure out. 

If you want to get a 5 on your AP exams, you'll need a study plan. Our five-step AP study plan will help you study smarter and boost your scores. 

 

Looking for help studying for your AP exam?

Our one-on-one online AP tutoring services can help you prepare for your AP exams. Get matched with a top tutor who got a high score on the exam you're studying for!

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Ashley Robinson
About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.



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