AP Test Overview 11 12 by S3yyWs

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      The AP Test in U.S. Government & Politics
                           "What's All the Fuss About?"

I.    A Brief History of the AP Program
      The Advanced Placement (AP) Program, sponsored by the College Board offers high school
      students the opportunity to take college-level courses in high school and receive advanced
      placement, credit, or both when they enter college. Currently, AP exams are offered in 37 fields,
      including U.S. Government and Politics. When the Advanced Placement (AP) Program began in
      1955, 1,229 students took AP exams. In 2010, approximately 1.8 million students took more than
      3.2 million exams, and over 2,000 universities worldwide use the AP Program to some extent.

II. The Connection Between the AP Course & the AP Exam
      Compared with the normal high school government course, the AP U.S. Government and
      Politics course is more demanding - both in terms of the amount of work expected and the type
      of thinking required to do the work. This seems logical, though, because the AP course is really
      a college-level course. Accordingly, the AP exam is more difficult than most tests administered
      to high school students. However, the course and the exam become infinitely more manageable if
      you put into practice the following advice:

                  "Success is the result of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."

      To adequately prepare for the AP exam, you will read and write frequently. You will also learn to
      analyze current political events and issues, synthesize your ideas into cogent arguments, and
      critically evaluate the ideas of others. Acquiring these skills will be challenging. If you
      persevere, though, you will not only be prepared to succeed on the exam, but you will also be
      well prepared for the academic experience that awaits you in college.

III. Format of the 2011-12 AP US Government & Politics Exam
          A) Date of the Exam: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - morning exam

          B) Length of the Exam: 2 hours and 25 minutes

          C) Scoring of the Exam: similar to all AP exams, raw scores on the different sections of the
             exam are converted to the following 5-point scale:
                            5 - extremely well qualified [to receive college credit]
                            4 - well qualified
                            3 - qualified
                            2 - possibly qualified
                            1 - no recommendation



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   Students indicate whether they want specific colleges and universities to receive
   their test scores. Test scores are usually received by students and universities during the
   month of July.

D) Sections of the Exam:
     I. Multiple Choice Section (60 questions) – 45 minutes
     II. Free- Response Section (4 free-response questions/prompts) - 100 minutes

E) Breakdown of the Multiple Choice Section (see Attachment A for sample multiple
   choice questions)
       accounts for 50% of the score on the entire exam
       60 questions (45 seconds/question)
       1 point. is earned for each correct answer
       0 points are earned or subtracted for answers left blank
       0 points deducted for incorrect answers
       on average, students need to answer approximately 40 of the 60 questions correctly to
        have a good chance of earning a passing score of 3 on the entire exam
       there are 5 answer choices for each question; statistically, guessing does not hurt you
        even if you cannot eliminate one of the answer choices

F) Breakdown of the Free-Response Section
   The Free-Response section accounts for the other 50% of the score on the entire
   exam. This section consists of four questions. Students must answer all four questions
   in order to pass the exam. Students are encouraged to spend approximately 25 minutes
   answering each question. Some important points to note include the following:
       • formal, 5-paragraph expository essays are NOT USUALLY required…..the key is to
         provide the reader with the content they are seeking in an organized manner –
         sometimes this might be in the form of a formal essay, but many times it does not.
         (See samples of student responses in Attachment C.)
       • each essay question has an evaluation rubric that is unique to that question; for
         example, Question #1 might have a maximum of 9 points to be earned, while
         Question #2 has a maximum of 5 points, Question #3 a maximum of 8 pts., and
         Question #4 a maximum of 12 points. (See sample questions and rubrics in
         Attachment B.)
       • most questions require you to perform multiple tasks (e.g., “identify 2 factors…and
         explain two advantages of…”); your performance on each question will, in large
         part, be a function of the extent to which you perform ALL of the tasks presented in
         the question. (See samples of student responses in Attachment C.)
Attachment A: Sample Multiple Choice Questions




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Attachment B: Sample Free Response Questions/Prompts & Grading
Rubrics




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Attachment C: Sample Student Responses to Free-Response Prompts




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