AP Comparative Gov’t & Politics: From Parliament to Dictators

Material Type(s)- Memorization, Theme Analyses
Textbook Recommendation(s)- Introduction to Comparative Politics by Joel Krieger, Mark Kesselman, and William A. Joseph
Review Book Recommendation(s)- AP Comparative Government and Politics: A Study Guideby Ethel Wood
Similar/Relevant Courses: AP/Honor’s World History, AP European History

By: KD

You probably haven’t heard of AP Comparative Gov’t and Politics, and understandably so, it’s definitely not as popular as its twin, AP US Gov’t and Politics. 

But nevertheless, AP Comparative remains an interesting and important AP course. The course covers a brief history/summary of the ideologies, leaders, demographics, issues, and other factors dealing with the politics/governments of Nigeria, Mexico, the UK, the People’s Republic of China, Iran, and Russia.

With studying, AP Comp. is mainly about memorization, concepts, and ‘themes’ to know. By themes, we refer to recognizing concepts associated with certain countries. For example, if a question asks about a country’s demographic fragmentation, it’s probably about Nigeria. We strongly suggest Ethel Wood’s famous review book to help out for this course. It perfectly, and simply, has everything you need to know about the AP Comparative course and for the AP Comparative exam. Many people have scored 5’s on the exam simply by self-studying from Ethel Wood’s guide alone.

Unlike AP Euro, AP Comparative is well reckoned as one of the easier AP exams. Its free response questions are mostly describing and giving examples of a vocabulary term, and its multiple choice questions require knowing a few details and some concepts or themes. Doing well on the exam is honestly going to be about doing some studying from Ethel Wood’s guide alone. It should be more than enough.

Start looking over your material a couple weeks beforehand and really cram through your material if you want that 4 or 5. In 2010, an impressive 36.1% of exam takers scored a 4 or 5.

As mentioned before, reading and studying from Ethel Wood’s study guide should be more than enough, even for self-studiers. Covering important events like the background behind China’s impressive economic growth and the growth of Mexico, AP Comparative is definitely recommended for anyone with even the slightest interest in politics and current affairs. It can easily be self-studied, and there’s some overlap with AP European History (mainly with the UK, Russia, and some of Mexico) and AP World History (with most of the history aspects of the course).

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