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How to Prepare for the AP U.S. Government & Politics (Barron's AP United States Government & Politics) Paperback – January 1, 2006
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Top customer reviews
Let's first talk about some of the books shortcomings. First and foremost, it's unrealistically difficult - the actual test is child's play compared to the sample problems and questions in this book, which may or may not be a good thing! Still, it is worthwhile to do the practice questions. I recommend getting a second book with some more practice multiple choice.
What is a complete waste of space in this book is the sample essay questions. The 'student' answers will scare you to bloody-you-know-where and back. Why? Maybe Barron's essay questions have appeared on an AP test before. If they have, I'd imagine they are the most difficult questions in the history of the exam, because no where on the test will you need to know such information as an in-depth analysis of Bill Clinton's administration (one sample essay in the text).
Why did I give it five stars then? Where the book really shines is its information. I don't think the actual text was too in-depth at all. It covered the necessary information, and sometimes more. But the point is, it covered the necessary information, and it covered it well - every answer to every question is in this book. Know this book, and you know the exam, inside and out, and are prepared for a five.
I can't recommend anything better for the serious student.
I have used review books for AP/Regents exams to great success in the past, and Barron's and Princeton Review are very trusted names. However, this is just horrible...almost.
Let's take a look:
-Each chapter is well-written and informative, and covers exactly what my textbook did very well. Good job here.
-The sample multiple choice questions at the end of chapters are, for the most part good, though some are too easy, and some have a horrible selection of answers. The descriptions of the right answers are average, at best.
-The sample essay QUESTIONS are good, though they ask to know some pretty specific stuff, but they're good to think about to help prepare for the exam.
-The sample essays: absolutely, unforgivably bad. My first problem is that they are too exact: "...was first mentioned in Ronald Reagan's State of the Union Address on January 25, 1982". I'm sorry, but who is actually using such a fact on the actual AP exam? There have been other examples too, such as citing the name of a mayor from Chicago from 20 years ago...we're supposed to know these things? I think not. However, what compelled me to speak out against this book was the sample essays in Chapter 11. These are, in every meaning of the word, horrible. The first one is a pretty good response to the question, but the analysis offered by the author is terrible...his analysis of the thesis says it is clear (which it is), but claims it is one thing, when it is in fact another. He then draws conclusions from the sample essay that are far-fetched, and are never mentioned in the essay. Furthermore, the essay itself only partially answers the question. The second essay is ridiculous. He is writing from a graph of party identification, and though he cites some good facts, they contradict the graph. For example, he claims that after Watergate, the number of people calling themselves independents increased. A logical conclusion, but the graph shows the complete opposite...that LESS people called themselves independent after 1976. That is inexcusable. Further, the essay is poorly structured, and offers average answers to the question asked.
There have been many examples of overly-precise, badly worded, and just flatout incorrect ideas in the sample essays offered by the author. This is unacceptable in a book designed to prepare the highly motivated student for a difficult exam...it is not fair to the student putting in the effort to do well, to confuse him, and to give him a poor impression of what a good essay is. Further, it is pretty sad that as a student myself, I can point out Mr. Lader's ineptitude.
Overall, I would say, if you can get a deal from your teacher to get this book for $10 or less, then get it, read the chapters and do the questions at the end. Skip his essays, they will just frustrate you. I have yet to even do the practice exams at the end, but I am sincerely hoping they're much better than what I have seen from Mr. Lader through 11 chapters. I paid $10 for this, but personally, I want my money back.
Most recent customer reviews
While reading, I highlighted important facts to remember and when it was time to take the test, I felt really prepared.Read more
This book is ok in that it goes over the material that you need to know.Read more
The book goes far too in depth and the "sample AP" questions are unimportant, trivia questions.Read more