This course can help prepare students who wish to continue their social studies education after high school, as well as students who wish to perform exceptionally well on the SAT exam. The level of aptitude in this subject will assist students wishing to excel on the SAT and in college courses.
This course focuses on the philosophical and institutional foundations of the American political system. Particularly, students will investigate the various roles that the Constitution, public opinion, political parties, campaigns and elections, interest groups, the media, and the various institutions of the federal government—the President, Congress, Judiciary, and the Bureaucracy—play in the development of federal public policy. Throughout the course students will enhance their reading, writing, and oral presentation skills.
According to the College Board’s website, AP US Government and Politics focuses primarily on teaching students to:
- Know important facts, concepts, and theories pertaining to the US government and politics.
- Understand typical patterns of te political processes and behavior and their consequences (including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures, and the political effects of these structures and procedures).
- Be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to US government and politics, including data presented through charts, tables, and other formats.
- Be able to critically analyze relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately, and develop their connections across the curriculum.
Students taking AP US Government and Politics will also cover such topics and themes as:
- The Constitution and the United States: Since the Constitution is the foundation of the United States government, students will be required to gain an understanding of the rhetoric used in setting up the government and the laws that keep it running.
- Political Behaviors and Beliefs: Since individuals hold a variety of beliefs about their government, its leaders, and the United States political system in general, it is helpful to understand different points of view in order to form solutions to political problems. It is also helpful when trying to promote peace among the general population.
- Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media: Students should understand the mechanisms that allow the United Stated government to run the way it does. Among these mechanisms are political parties, elections, political action committees, interest groups, and the mass media All of these combine to form the massive political machine that is the United States government.
- Institutions of the National Government: Students should become familiar with the different organizations and the powers that they hold, especially when it comes to the political process. Understanding different groups within the national government and how they relate to each other can have a rather large effect on a person’s political beliefs and actions.
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Understanding the United States’ system of government requires an understanding of the rights allotted to the people as part of a democracy. This will allow students to gain a deeper knowledge of their own part in the political system.
Along with these themes, students will also be able to use study notes, study guides, and various other study techniques in conjunction with AP US Government and Politics textbooks such as America: Past and Present and American Pageant.
Students interested in enrolling in AP United States Government and Politics should remember that taking a college course will require quite a bit more time and energy than other high school courses. Failing to commit to AP courses can result in a student’s GPA taking a dive, so it’s important that students set aside extra time and energy to make sure they excel in these classes. Students who do dedicate themselves to these classes will see a large payoff in their GPA, their high school transcripts, and ultimately in their preparedness for college level courses.
Students who wish to get into their top college or university should seriously consider taking Advanced Placement courses. Not only do AP courses set students apart on their high school transcripts, they can also prepare them for what will be expected once they step into a college environment. Most importantly, AP courses will help students to develop the discipline and time management skills essential to succeeding both inside and outside of the classroom. Students interested in enrolling in AP courses should visit their high school counselor for more information about how to enroll and what the course requirements are. The more students focus on excelling in their education, the bigger their reward will be once graduation day rolls around!
Here you find AP Government and Politics outlines, notes, vocabulary terms, court cases, political parties, political timelines and biographies. We are always adding more AP Government and Politics resources so if you have any requests, please use the Contact Us form to let us know what we can do to help.