AP® US Government and Politics

The summer institute will consist of the major nuts and bolts of the Advanced Placement  United States Government and Politics course redesign. Items to be analyzed include: released multiple choice exams, mulitiple choice skills, released free response questions, free response skills, content within the various units, pedagogical skills, quantitative analysis of data and organization of the units. Participants can expect to leave with an outline of the course, the mechanics of the exam, numerous internet activities to bolster student retention of the material, outside readings to illuminate abstract concepts in the textbook and multiple choice tests, free response questions and numerous additional activities.  Students should be prepared for an interactive week of participant- instructor activities designed to facilitate teaching of the Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics course.

The goals of the four-day session are to assist participants with:

To have teachers leave with a guideline for a well rounded course including scope and sequence, structure, activities, FRQs, discussion points, analysis of quantitative data etc after a week of collaboration. 

Participants should bring the following:

All participants will need to bring a lap top.  Most participant materials will be digital. 

Please bring your textbook you plan on using in your class and an activity or lesson plan that you feel has worked particularly well in your own classroom. 

Course Outline (Subject to Change):


Section 1: (4 Hours)- To incorporate major redesign changes

I. Workshop Introduction (Name, Length of course, Textbook, Hardest Unit to teach, grade level etc, technology capabilities, how many years teaching AP Gov’t, something you want to go home with)

II. Philosophy and Purpose of AP-- Equity

III. AP Course Audit Information Changes

IV. Exam Details


Section 2: (4.5 Hours)

I.Course Outline

II Structure, Sequencing and Timing

III.Textbooks Used (College texts only guide TDC- 40-50 viable, 10 commonly used to make test)

            -reliability (testing what is should) and validity (give credit to those who know)

IV. Exam Structure

V. How they Compute Scores on the Exams

VI. Exam Content


Section 1: (6 Hours)

I. Summer Reading

II. Intro to FRQ- Analysis of FRQs and Scoring Guidelines and Discussion of AP Reading Process

III. 2018 FRQ Activity- An examination of selected free response answers and sample student responses

IV. 2018 FRQ Activity

V. Creation of 2018 Rubric- Developing Strategies for answering free-response questions

VI. Make your own FRQ- Developing a model for your own FRQ created questions

VII. Presentation of FRQs and Rubrics

VIII. Diff’t Styles of FRQ’s/ Methods of Integrating/Tactics

            -Graphs, Vocab, Political Cartoons

IX. AP American Government and Politics Reading

Section 2: (2.5 Hours)

I. Campaign Finance Reform (5 Hardest Concepts to teach)

II. Resources on AP Central : apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/Controller.jpf                                   

-released exams, released FRQs, Teacher’s Guides, and AP Vertical teams

            -AP Annual Conference at collegeboard.com/apac

III. Political Cartoons (Importance of usage in classroom pedagogy)/Non linguistics/Quantitative Analysis

IV. Activity- Creation of activities/FRQs/projects using Non Linguistic data


Section 1: (6 Hours)

I. Budget Making Process (5 Hardest Concepts to teach)

II.Analysis of Multiple Choice Strategies (5 Answer With One distractor always)

III. Analysis of the Released questions and question bank with new online platform

IV. Percentage breakdown of questions, chronologically and topically

V. Strategies for answering AP Exam multiple choice questions

VI. Types of Questions

VIII. Deconstructing Old Released Exams to Gain Perspective on Marker Questions

IX. Creating MC Questions

Section 2: (2.5 Hours)

I. Bureaucracy/Iron Triangle (5 Hardest concepts to teach)

II. Diversity of Strategies

III. Sample Notes/Power Points for Pertinent Chapters

IV. Overriding Questions and Pertinent FRQs for Each Unit

V. Group Work- Create 3 overriding questions for one of the institutions (Congress/Prez/Judicial/Bureaucracy)


Section 1: (4.5 hours)

I. Federalism (5 Hardest Concepts to teach)

I.Buzzwords/Importance of Vernacular/ Activities Used to Bolser Vocab (Bingo, Hot Seat etc)

II.Course Packets- Organization of Units

III. Discussion of Selective Incorporation (5 Hardest Concepts to teach)

IV. Court Cases- Discussion of the Important Cases

V. Positives/Negatives of Devolution

VI. Discussion of Bureaucracy

III. Diversity of Content and presentation of material

IV. Review Techniques for the AP Exam

Section 2: (2.5 Hours)

I. Useful Websites and integration of technology in the classroom

II. Projects and other fun addendums

III. Best practices in the Classroom exchange

IV. Final questions, comments, and evaluations


This is Vanessa Lal’s sixteenth year serving as a consultant for the College Board in United States American Government and Politics. She has been a reader for the AP Government and Politics Exam from 2001-2011. She received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University with a double major political science and history, a masters degree in Education from Northwestern University and a masters degree in Government and Politics from University of Virginia. She is also a recipient of the James Madison Fellowship award for Illinois in 2002. She taught at Adlai E.