Cracking the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam, 2015 Edition (College Test Preparation)

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  • surpasses the vast majority of AP Gov’t prep books in how thorough yet concise it manages to be
  • its free response content doesn’t quite make the grade
  • is an excellent resource when paired with solid additional practice material

Cracking the AP U.S. Government & Politics Exam sparkles, for the most part, in its 2015 edition. Its having been written by one of the chief readers for the actual exam endows the book with a reliability and comprehensiveness that escapes most of its peers.

This prep book auspiciously contrasts with heavy, verbose textbooks in its pithiness and refusal to linger on unnecessary points of knowledge. Cracking essentially pares down a year’s worth of AP Government curriculum to the bare bones of what will earn a four or five: a goal that nearly every book of this nature strives for but few achieve. But its conciseness doesn’t stop Cracking from getting into the nitty gritty of essential terminology and processes, like Supreme Court appellate case procedure or PAC formation.

One strike against Cracking its the ineptitude of its free response questions, which are surprisingly far off the mark from what students can expect on exam day. (These readers can head to College Board’s official AP Government site to acquire actual FRQs from past tests.) This aside, however, the practice tests are quite authentic and can be trusted to gauge performance readiness ahead of the May test date.

Pinning down an additional resource for practice content, Cracking earns a vote of confidence.