How to get a 5 on AP US Gov and AP Comp Gov? (self-study)

I’m taking two AP exams this year (fully online): AP US Government and AP Comparative Government. I’ve been very lightly studying here and there (using a textbook) since November to prepare but as the exams approach (taking mine in June) I know I need to crank it up.

Does anyone have any recommendations for getting a 5 on these two exams (through self-study)? Textbook recommendations, review books, youtube videos, study methods, etc.

I’ve heard that both these two exams are relatively easy to score a 5 on, regardless of self-study or not. Is this true? Would using Barrons are review prep be enough for getting a 5 on these exams? Or do you need a textbook to get a five?

Some context: I’m self-studying as I am Canadian and these are my first AP exams. My english/language skills are pretty strong (not sure if that has any value lol) and I do already have some knowledge in politics (I am rather invested in Middle Eastern politics and I do have some knowledge of American politics)

Thank you for any and all help!

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Do you have any experience writing SEQ’s or LEQ’s? And can you take them in person or does it have to be online?

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There was no option for me… the centre I am taking at chose online for all students. I don’t have any experience with those. I know there’s no easy route with self-studying and getting a 5… any tips?

Why are you self-studying for these exams? Colleges in the USA look at the courses you took in a classroom, and the grade you received on it. What is important is the AP classes that are on your transcript, while the AP scores that are not associated with an AP class receive a lot less attention.

Since, as @jpga13 showed you, very few students who have actually taken these classes actually get a 5 on them, that means that there s a good chance that you will not get a 5, or even a 4.

My recommendation for the best way to study for an AP test for which you have not taken the class, and have only studied lightly?


Find something more productive to do with your time. Focus on keeping your high school GPA up where it is, invest yourself in your extracurricular activities, and take some time for yourself. You are what, 15 years old? Do stuff that makes you happy.

Do you really want to burn yourself out now, and try to start college burnt out and unhappy? To use a somewhat overused metaphor - life is a marathon, not a sprint. You haven’t past the first two years of high school, and you have more than a decade left of your education, based on what you want to do.

Fact is, your chances to be accepted are really low, and it is even less likely that having these two tests will tip the scales in your favor.

If those topics really interest you, and you really want to know more about them, take a course on Middle Eastern politics which will be on your transcript. Indulge in your interest and passion, while at the same time, demonstrate that you are able to actually take courses in the field and do well on them.

The colleges with the lowest acceptance rates are looking for something that makes a student stand out. Since every student and their younger sibling is self-studying for AP exams in the false hope that this will tip the scales for “elite” colleges. It doesn’t make you stand out in any meaningful way.

Your academics and extracurricular activities should focus on figuring out what you want to do with your life, and with helping you do that.

If “what you want to do in your life” = “be accepted to a prestigious university”, you are most likely not going to achieve your life goals, and should start finding new ones.

If "what you want from your life is “study Middle Eastern politics and law”. take the most rigorous courses in your school related to these, and engage in activities related to these.

Again, your chances of not attending Harvard or Yale are around 98%. However, if you engage in your interest and passions academically and socially, keep your schoolwork at the same level that your are doing now, and invest yourself in your ECs, your chances of succeeding and thriving in college are almost 100%.

if you take some time for yourself ever so often, the chances that you will have the energy to enjoy your college years is also pretty high…

On the other hand, if you continue making everything in your high school years about “I want to be accepted to Harvard or Yale”. your chances of succeeding and thriving in college and in life take a steep nosedive.

Your choice. You’re a smart and ambitious teen, so I know that you can do well.


@oxfordrose This is a really good review video I used for AP US Government and Politics:

It seems really long and boring but I took the test last year with notes (since it was online) from this video and it covered basically everything on the test
Good luck on your exam, I know you’ll do great!

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THIS! @MWolf is absolutely correct.
You can take 15 AP’s and unless those were taken in classes, the adcoms wont consider this as a strength. It doesn’t tell them what you’ve discussed in the classroom with peers and with teachers. They want to see your grades.

You can study by yourself, in your corner of the world, and it tells the colleges that you wont interact on campus. It tells them that participating in their lecture halls, office hours, group study teams, and presentations are limiting for you. I have two friends and 1 neighbor who work for local universities in admissions. They don’t consider self-study to have any advantages for admissions. It does the opposite.

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OP didn’t express an expectation that this would assist in admissions.

AFAIK, colleges grant credit for AP scores based on the exam. It’s not dependent on a course.

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Granted, but many students use AP courses at American universities. If he/she is hoping this will give him/her an edge in getting into an American university, then the responses make sense.