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Comparative Government and Politics

The College Board’s AP course in Comparative Government and Politics is an introduction for students into concepts political scientists and others use to study politics in different countries. It focuses on the processes and outcomes countries use to set up, elect, and run governments. Since politics and government is such an important topic, the course illustrates the diverse governments across the world. It does this by studying political life, alternative governments, and how global politics is important to everyday life and the economy.

Identifying Political Problems with the Comparative Government and Politics Course

The comparative and government politics class shows how comparing different governments helps identify problems, and how one can analyze government to come up with solutions to serious political problems. By looking at how counties use policies to try and solve problems, students come up with useful knowledge on government and how it operates. The problems studied include high birth rates, crime, corruption, growth, poverty, overpopulation, etc. Students are able to compare how effective one government system is in identifying and trying to solve the problem compared to another, or how the problem was made worse.

Differences in Countries, Governments

The comparative government and politics course also takes a look at other political questions. It looks at the differences between wealthy and poor countries, how they operate, and why some countries and political systems are stable while others are not. It gives students an understanding to the different forms of government. For example, it explains why some democracies have prime ministers while others do not.

Core Countries Studied in the Comparative Government and Politics Course

The comparative government and politics course focuses on six core countries. These include China, Great Britain, Mexico, Nigeria, Iran, and Russia. The six countries are usually covered in college-introductory courses, by studying the six vastly different political structures, students get a full understanding of the diversity of political systems across the globe.

The Comparative Government and Politics AP Program

The comparative government and politics class is presented by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program. Colleges, universities and high schools partner together to form a college-level class for students who are still in high school. The credits earned in an AP course like comparative government and politics are accepted at more than 3,600 colleges and universities. The program is rigorous, and the class ends with a final test that will help students in the college admissions process if they earn a good grade.

Key Concepts of the Comparative Government and Politics Class

The comparative government and politics class looks at six key content areas. Though these six areas are key to the course, many other content areas are also examined. Key areas include:

  • Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government
  • This includes influences on the United States Constitution, including separation of powers, checks and balances, Federalism, and theories of democratic government.

  • Political Beliefs and Behaviors
  • This includes beliefs of a country’s leader and government structure by its electorate, how citizens learn about politics, sources of public opinion and how it can influence people, and voting and participating in political life.

  • Political Parties, media, groups
  • This includes investigation of special-interest groups, the mass media, the political parties and the influence each has on the electoral system.

  • Institutions of National Government
  • This section takes a look at Congress, the President of the United States, the federal bureaucracy and the federal court system.

  • Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • This content area looks at civil liberties and civil rights as interpreted by the courts.

  • Final exam

The course culminates with the AP United States Government and Politics Exam. The exam is 2 hours and 25 minutes long, has a multiple-choice section, and a response section that includes four questions and which students get 100 minutes to write the answers.

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