I can’t believe it’s time to start reviewing for the AP® United States Government & Politics Exam. This year has absolutely flown! Thankfully, my district has been in-person all year so I feel that my students are much more prepared than last year. However, time spent reviewing is always valuable. Keep reading to find out how I plan to review content and multiple-choice skills with my students, as well as how I will use the AP® United States Government & Politics coursebook by AMSCO® to do this. 


In my experience, the best way to review for the AP Gov exam (or any exam really) is to simulate an exam experience. This can be difficult depending on how much class time you have to devote to review, but luckily the AP United States Government & Politics coursebook by AMSCO includes a full length practice exam that addresses all multiple-choice question types students should expect to see on the test. 


This allows you to administer the test in-class (time permitting), or assign it as homework. AP students are a bit notorious for worrying over the correct answers rather than appreciating the learning experience, so to combat this I do not take the practice test for a grade. I stress that this is just a way to assess what they know and a tool to help us decide how to spend our review time. I also encourage them to record their time on the first practice exam to give them an idea of how much time they will need on exam day and whether they need to speed up their practice. I give or assign this practice exam the first day of review so that we can use it to inform the rest of our time together leading up to the exam.


After scoring the multiple-choice portion of their practice test, I compile the most commonly missed questions to review with the class. I take this opportunity to address not only the most missed questions, but also the most commonly chosen incorrect answers to figure out why those questions were the most missed and tailor my reteaching to their specific needs. 


The data provided by the multiple-choice questions on the practice exam also allows students to drill down on their own specific needs for review. The keys provided in the teacher resource have been super helpful to my students this year because not only do they give the correct answers, but they also link to learning objectives from the College Board® and specific page numbers in the coursebook students can reference to find more information. From this, students can discern which specific topics they are deficient in and seek out review in those areas, rather than spending time reviewing content they have already mastered. I love to direct students back to the chapter and unit review questions within the AMSCO coursebook as practice since they mirror the exam so well! You could also consider grouping students based on their most commonly missed questions so they can support each other with content. 


Sometimes content isn’t the biggest issue for students. The varying multiple-choice question types can cause some to stumble too. Because the practice exam in the AP United States Government & Politics coursebook by AMSCO is comprehensive of all question types, students can also identify which ones they struggle with and seek out further practice for them.


Check out the included lesson plan on how to use the AMSCO coursebook practice exam in your class. 


Let me know how it went in the comments!



Paula Franklin teaches AP® US Government and Politics at West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has been teaching the course for nine years and has served as an AP® Reader, table leader, and early table leader at the AP® US Government and Politics Reading over the past five years. She has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education from the University of Tennessee, and an Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. Paula is a 2017 Milken Educator, a Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Fellow, an AP® US Government and Politics Mentor, and a member of the iCivics Educator Network.