By: Morgan Mansfield/Co-Editor in Chief
The Advanced Placement (AP) Government and Politics Exam has gone through some major revisions since last year. Blue Ridge’s AP Government teacher, Ms. Alicia Ross, has been teaching the course for 7 years. She is a part of the Instructional Design Committee for the AP Government exam and travels around the country working with the College Board. Ross has recently been an instructor at her first AP Summer Institution (APSI).
Ross is very involved with this course, and is excited about the revisions. She feels that the revisions have made it a more interesting course because it is more in depth than in previous years.
Ross explained the differences from last year’s exam to this year’s revised exam. For the multiple choice section, the students in previous years were given 45 minutes to complete 60 multiple choice questions. With this revised test, students are given an hour and twenty minutes to complete 55 multiple choice questions. Students are also given four possible answer choices as opposed to five options which they were given last year.
“This is more like how we teach at Blue Ridge. It is more in line with what we do,” said Ross.
With the revised test, students are given 100 minutes to complete four Free Response Questions (FRQ’s), which is the same amount of time they were given last year. The difference with the FRQ’s, is there are four types of essays; Concept Application, Quantitative Analysis, SCOTUS Comparison, and Argument Essay. The argumentative essay is new to the exam this year, and it causes her to rethink her teaching.
The AP Government also has requirements for the exam. Last year, students were required to know 50-60 Supreme Court Cases. With the revisions, students are only required to learn 15 Supreme Court Cases. This year’s exam also has nine required documents, as opposed to last year when there were no required documents.
With these revisions, Ross is able to better predict what will be asked on the exam. However, despite the revisions, Ross said, “It has always been a challenging exam… It will still be a challenging exam.”
The AP Government exam has undergone many changes since previous years, but it is still a rigorous course which Ross is excited to tackle this 2018-19 school year.