Need some last minute help as you cram for the exam?

Some basics: The exam is 60 multiple choice questions and 4 Free Response Questions (FRQs).
The multiple choice breakdown is as follows:

     5 – 15%  Constitutional Underpinnings of US Government

10 – 20%  Political Beliefs and Behaviors

10 – 20%  Political Parties, Interests Groups, and Mass Media

35 – 45%  Institutions of National Government

5 – 15%   Public Policy

5 – 15%   Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Some general advice first, especially concerning the FRQs.

1.) Answer the question asked, not the question you wish had been asked. (Save this for when you become a politician, as for now, you want college credit).

2.) If the questions tells you to "explain", this requires that you prove your point. Do not just identify, nor just describe. Provide a thorough explanation and prove it with examples. There is often not partial credit.

Proof: School Home Page


By the way, my website has PowerPoint outlines and Review Materials. Feel free to use them and ask questions.

Edit: Thanks for all the questions, to be honest this was not nearly as overwhelming as a I feared. I'm off to bed (12:00am P), I will keep up with this throughout tomorrow so feel free to post more questions.

Edit 2: This was a lot of fun, but after answering questions for 24 hours, teaching all day, holding a 4 hour AP review session for my students this afternoon, I think I am going to call it a day. Good luck to all of you on your test tomorrow, hope this was of some help.

Comments: 401 • Responses: 85  • Date: 


What are all the answers to the test?

pattonc295 karma

Just repeat ABDCBDE ad infinitum on the multiple choice, and draw pictures of unicorns for the FRQs. Great first question.

annecatherine97 karma

For all you who feel like you know teacher is terrible (teaches in sweeping generalizations, though he tests on details) so I taught myself the material for every unit the night before, via vocab compilations. If anyones interested, the links are here:

Unit One, Part One

Unit One, Part Two

Unit Two: Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and Judicial Branch Terms

I didnt do this for all the units, my b, but I also have these extras:

Presidential Analysis Readings

Congressional Analysis Readings (I didnt do these all by myself so I cant 100% vouch for their integrity)

The Amendments Google Drive rejected my formatting, so the bottom half is cut off, but the majority is there

I figure its no use having all this information if im gonna keep it all to myself. Just dont do too well and ruin the curve, thatd be an asshole move

pattonc14 karma

Great Job! Thanks for posting.

Necronomiconomics69 karma

Since you work for Big Government as a union member and are therefore a communist foot soldier, how do you receive your daily terrorist sleeper cell instructions, via Internet download or traditional communist USPS, and do these marching orders come directly from the White House or George Soros or are you compartmentalized for anonymity? How can you really be certain that my question is satire and not posing as satire but actually gathering evidence for the upcoming Neo-HUAC hearings? Thank you in advance for your prompt and comprehensive reply.

pattonc114 karma

We all carry implants wired to our neural network, which is tied to our ocular nerves. Our orders come from holograms of various people that resemble Hitler, Stalin, and even Senator Palpatine. However, these are but visages of our true leader who is only referred to as "Big Papa." Neo-HUAC hearings don't even come close to raising my blood pressure; as if Congress actually has power and/or can agree on anything. Although I am dreadfully afraid of being censured. Lastly, SPOILER ALERT, Alan West, is actually one of us.

WhyAreYouUpsideDown18 karma

TIL that Gov teachers are the coolest people on the planet and now I'm mad that everybody looks down on high school teachers.

pattonc37 karma

Also, remember that historians are never without a date.

pezzshnitsol65 karma

I got a 5 on the AP Gov exam back in 2011. Of everyone of my peers that I talked to, I think I'm the only one that knew what the hell Super Delegates were and why they matter. I can thank Colbert for that.

pattonc79 karma

In PEW's report on media, individuals whose primary news source were Colbert or John Stewart outperformed many other new sources in terms of political knowledge.

Dick-Pizza25 karma

So, what's a super delagate exactly and how are they important? I forgot.

pattonc43 karma

Superdelegates are unpledged delegates of the Democratic Party. During the primaries, states award delegates based on their primary/caucus system. In order to win the presidential nomination, a candidate must receive a certain number of votes at the National Convention. Superdelegates are party leaders who can pledge their support for any candidate, thus allowing the parties to retain some power in the nominating process. Republicans have followed suite in recent years and also added unpledged delegates.

Anomander63 karma

I've just started studying now.

On a scale of 0 to Tiger Woods, how fucked am I?

pattonc63 karma

This depends entirely on how well your course prepared you. If you don't know much, you are probably in trouble.

scyp1042 karma

What is the difference between realignment and dealignment?

pattonc46 karma

Party realignment is the long term change in political parties as indicated by any 1 or more of the following: 1. The Parties themselves change (Federalists and Democratic-Republicans in 1800, Republicans and Democrats in 1860). 2. The platforms of the parties change (Republicans during Reconstruction vs. Republicans of the 20th century). 3. The traditional constituencies (voters) of the parties change (African Americans traditionally voting Republican, whereas now they vote Democratic 90% of the time).

Dealignment is the weakening of parties. Today, a plurality of registered voters are "independent." Parties no longer hold the power they used to: States have taken over social services and welfare, we vote in secret (Australian ballot), and they fight for the ideological middle and are therefore not that different.

i_love_pus27 karma

I would just like to say that you are a great teacher. This AMA has more work put into it than most of my teachers gave all year!

pattonc34 karma

Thanks, although that is sad. Everyone deserves great teachers.

apstudent319 karma

How important are the Federalist papers? Are they usually just in the Multiple Choice or have they been in FRQ's?

pattonc30 karma

Federalist #10 was used for a portion of an FRQ, but they have never been the principle subject. The most important of them are:

10: Factions - controlling their effects through a large Republic

46: Federalism

51: Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances

78: Independence of the Judiciary and advocated judicial review.

Edited for spelling.

Powerhouse3415 karma

Why the hell didn't you do this last year?!

pattonc20 karma

Sorry, I should have.

asalin181912 karma

What is your reaction to the AP's grading system and its effects on education and students?

I'm 3 years past my AP testing, but I can't help but think that the number of schools who force students taking classes (even if they know they are unprepared or don't take them seriously) to take the AP test actually bring down the overall knowledge level of students who 'pass' via their pseudo-relative grading scale. Its not totally their fault but when the lowest scores are so low that pulls down the minimum for a 3 or higher.

pattonc15 karma

I disagree with schools who "force" students to take the AP Exam, and I am glad that I do not teach in one of them. Also, most schools do not even take a 3 despite College Board saying that is a "passing" grade. However, I do think that the AP program has raised educational standards for many, and I enjoy the "pressure" of preparing my students because I do not know what is going to be on the test. Unfortunately, the course can devolve into simply a test prep course focused on rote memorization, which is a disservice to students, and especially tragic in the area of Social Studies.

Edited for spelling, see below.

startrekking7 karma

Hey Teach, wouldn't it be "rote" instead of "wrote"?

pattonc9 karma

Absolutely, unless it is written. :) Thanks.

startrekking6 karma

Today I learned! Thank you!

pattonc5 karma

You are most welcome, glad it was of some use.

5geoy11 karma

My AP Gov class didn't have enough time to cover public policy, Do you have any resources that could give me a brief rundown of public policy?

pattonc11 karma

Hopefully you were able to talk about specific policies while you covered the other subjects. Know the major policies, how each of the different branches make policy, how the federal bureaucracy implements policy, and how the public, media, interest groups, and elections influence policy. If you go to my school website, there are powerpoint outlines, and the Unit 5 Guide is my unit on public policy.

Feel free to then ask more specific questions.

thejfather11 karma

Im taking the test on tuesday, but i dont have any questions, how about where can i find some good review questions and answers in a convenient place?

pattonc16 karma

Does your teacher have copies of past released exams? If not AP Prep books have sample questions and explanations of answers. Collegeboard has more than a decade of FRQ questions with answer keys and sample responses. Collegeboard has also released the '99 exam on their website.

Dick-Pizza3 karma

Thanks. My teacher gave us a "study guide/review thing" unfortunately it was essentially the thickness of the whole fucking book. So that's always fun to read.

pattonc4 karma

Also, my website has 4 documents under Review Material which might be of use.

apstudent39 karma

How about going over the informal and formal powers of the President?

pattonc15 karma

Formal Powers: Chief Executive ("faithfully execute the law"), Commander-in-chief, Negotiate Treaties (with advise and consent of the Senate), Power of appointment (with Senate confirmation), Pardon, Veto, Convene Congress, give the State of the Union.

Informal Powers: Many stem from the "take care" clause. Deploy troops (without declaration of war), Executive Orders, Executive Agreements, Set the public agenda, and a significant one since FDR is to influence legislation in Congress. They now draft bills and submit them through a willing member of Congress and they often micromanage legislation. They are also regarded as the leader of their Party.

MinuteMayonnaise8 karma

So you teach AP US History as well. How much are battles emphasized on the test? Which ones do i need to know

pattonc16 karma

There is no military history on the exam. You only need to know the existence of a battle as a turning point or its effect on policy. Saratoga = Revolutionary War turning point, alliance with France. Antietam --> Gettysburg Address.

Congrats, you tricked me into answering an APUSH question.

MinuteMayonnaise9 karma

Is there any time period more heavily tested than others? Also do you have any predictions on what the DBQ/Essay topics will be on this year?

pattonc14 karma

Here is the breakdown for APUSH:

17% from Columbus --> 1789

50% from  1790 --> 1914

33% from 1915 --> present 

Subject matter for multiple choice questions:

35% Political Institutions, behavior, and public policy

35% Social change

15% Diplomacy and International relations

10% Economic Change

 5% Cultural and intellectual developments

The DBQ can come from anywhere, and typically your 1st set of FRQs are from pre-Civil War and your 2nd set of FRQs is post.

BossKitten4 karma

Wow this breakdown is great! Have they always given breakdowns or is that a new thing? I took AP test 3 years back and I don't remember having this luxury.

pattonc6 karma

It's the same breakdown I have been giving students for 10 years.

goldfish1887 karma

On the AP test, is there any emphasis on specifics on different Supreme Court cases (litigants, specific events, etc), or will the emphasis on these cases be on the precedents they've set?

pattonc26 karma

Exclusively on precedent. The details tend to help students remember the cases, but you will never have to know that Mapp v. Ohio was born out of a search for bomb materials.

tryanotherrusername7 karma

What is the bureaucracy? Specifically, what does it do?

pattonc6 karma

The bureaucracy or the federal administrative system are the executive branch agencies which enforce legislation and make rules. Although it is a part of the executive branch, it is often referred to as the 4th branch of government.

everydayaverage2 karma

Is there anything else that's ever referred to as the 4th branch of government? I thought I had heard the media referred to as such but am I just making this up?

pattonc2 karma

Yes, Media and Interest Groups could also be referred to as the 4th branch (unofficially of course).

Alias157 karma

Do you know someone that would do this for AP U.S. History? I have that Wednesday. :(

pattonc15 karma

I teach APUSH and will try to make time, although I will be much more sporadic about answering. I'll probably post tomorrow.

speeedhawk6 karma


pattonc10 karma

I don't remember how I learned about reddit, it was a couple years ago, it took me a while before I actually created a profile though (I was a lurker). I don't think many other teachers use it, but there is a /teachers and /historyteachers subredit. My students now know I use it, I told them I was doing this.

SliceGash6 karma

How is the AP exam different from NCLB standardized testing that is often criticized as forcing teachers to teach to the test?

pattonc5 karma

I can only comment based on my own states' testing (AZ). AZ's NCLB test (AIMS) is designed to measure only basic knowledge/skills. AP on the other hand goes much deeper in terms of knowledge, but more importantly in terms of critical thinking and analysis. Whereas NCLB tests commonly require students to write about what they think of dress code policy or to pick someone from history they would like to have dinner with, last year's APUSH DBQ prompt was, "Analyze the impact of big business on the economy and politics and the responses of Americans to these changes. Confine your answer to the period 1870-1900."

However, like all things that have a test, you can fall into the trap of "teaching to the test." However, I would argue for students to be successful in AP US History they need to have a strong grasp of the content, ability to analyze, ability to write, and ability to analyze primary sources, all of which are good things.

Tmoseley206 karma

Can you explain discretion? I remember getting a few questions recently (CR4 is definitely my weakest section) and the ways that Congress influences the bureaucracy and vice versa always seems to trip me up.

pattonc5 karma

Congress gives the federal bureaucracy discretion (the ability to make decisions) for several reasons: Congress does not have the time, Congress does not have the expertise, Congress does not want to take all the blame, Congress cannot agree the more specific they are.

Congress has the power over the budget and appropriations, they have oversight through Hearings, investigations and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), they can write specific legislation to make the bureaucracy adhere to their wishes, they have laws expire (Sunset laws) which keeps Congress in control, and they have the power to dissolve/create agencies.

speeedhawk5 karma


pattonc8 karma

At this point? I would recommend taking a practice exam, identifying weaknesses, and using an AP Prep book which is must more concise than a textbook. If you look under Review Materials on my course website, there are several study guides which define terms and a list of all the key concepts and terms over the past 4 released exams.

mikeman725 karma

Did you know that the first bible printed in America was printed in the Algonquin language?

pattonc43 karma

You should use that info to get a date!

sharkattack7864 karma

Oh and one more question:

Fiscal policy vs Monetary policy

I know the federal reserve controls the interest rates and can pump money into the banks, but what is fiscal policy, who uses fiscal policy, and how does that stimulate or effect the economy?

Thank you so much.

pattonc2 karma

Fiscal Policy is economic policy through taxing and spending and is done by Congress. Congress may choose to stimulate the economy through deficit spending (Keynesian model) or through lowering taxes in order to stimulate individual spending (Hayek).

belgarion894 karma

How long have you been teaching AP US Gov?

pattonc6 karma

10 years.

belgarion894 karma

How has the exam changed in those years? When I took it back in '07, I seem to recall for FRQ's, but roughly the same number of MC.

pattonc5 karma

In my 10 years of teaching AP Gov, it has always been 60 MC questions and 4 FRQs. The major change is that they no longer deduct points for a wrong answer on the MC.

russianrocker14 karma

How would you recommend tackling the multiple choice? I took a practice test today and it was just dreadfully boring, and extremely specific to certain topics. The fact that its 60 questions in 45 minutes did not help either.

pattonc4 karma

Time is a challenge, which unfortunately you do not have enough time to practice over and over in order to adjust to the pacing.

As far as review, if you have an AP Prep book, going through that might help. Unfortunately, review/cramming is not going to be exciting. If you like watching videos there are 2 AP Gov teachers out of Chicago which have an excellent website and have small videos on key concepts.

SrsSteel3 karma

What is the vsepr shape of a c2h2cl2 molecule?

pattonc8 karma

Both of the carbons are trigonal planar, and they have an sp2 hybridization.

Bellsie2 karma

Do you like teaching social science APs? Is it tough?

Do you like being a teacher? c:

pattonc4 karma

I love it. It's fun to teach students who want to learn, which is a characteristic common, albeit not absolute, in AP students. I enjoy the depth at which I get to teach, and I enjoy challenging students and watching them learn and grow. I also enjoy teaching AP Gov because it's never the same from year to year. The concepts are consistent, but the examples and current events keep the course fresh and keep me from getting bored (yes, teachers can get bored, which then causes students to get bored).

Bellsie2 karma

That's awesome! It's great to hear from teachers that like their job.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to teach history and government, stuff like that?

pattonc7 karma

Know your content. Too many students teachers / future teachers do not know enough to be effective teachers. Read. Pay attention to current events. Take classes in many areas of study, not everyone is going to teach US History.

However, knowledge alone does not make you a good teacher, so don't ignore pedagogy and classroom management.

Challenge students -- too many teachers do not require enough of their students. Students will rise to the occasion (mostly). However, have a purpose for everything you do. More is not always better, and often is worse. Busy work is worthless for everyone.

Love what you do, and chose to love what you do when you don't.

Always reflect on your practice of teaching.

Let me know if you have more specific questions, those were just some immediate thoughts that came to me.

ItsChadReddit2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I have a couple of questions:

  • Un-biased, what is the easiest AP course to take?

  • I'm taking 3 APs next year (AP U.S. History, AP English 11, & AP Physics) along with a Pre-Calculus course. Is this a wise decision?


pattonc16 karma

AP Gov is one of the easiest. APUSH is one of the most difficult. If you are willing to work, then 3 AP classes is manageable. I have students who take 5 (although they never sleep, except in class).

enferex2 karma

Do you know of a Tom Gill? He was a AP (I think) Gov teacher and also [America's Sexiest Bachelor(

pattonc10 karma

If I wasn't happily married with 3 children I would have a new life goal.

zestyzett2 karma

Had this class a few years ago (Got a 3 or 4). My teacher let us watch Space Jam after the test. Will you be letting your students watch Space Jam?

pattonc3 karma

No, we will be watching the new PBS Series Constitution USA.

apgovlover2 karma

What are the important clauses of constitutional amendments? How specific is the test likely to be on the trends in voting behavior? Can you explain the basic roles of linkage institutions and identify what some examples are?

pattonc7 karma

Let's do important Constitutional clauses in general: For Congress: Commerce Clause, Taxing and Spending clause, Necessary and Proper Clause For Executive: Take Care Clause Federalism: Supremacy Clause States: Privileges and Immunities Clause, Full Faith and Credit Amendments: Know the key concepts in the Bill of Rights. 5th Amendment Due Process Clause, 10th Amendment Reserve Powers. Know the 14th Amendment. It relates to federalism, selective incorporation (Due Process Clause) and equal protection clause (for Civil Rights).

They often ask questions about voter behavior by giving demographic characteristics of people and having you choose which one was most likely to vote and/or which party they would identify with.

Linkage Institutions link people with government. Media, Interest Groups, Political Parties, Elections. Know how they impact people, know how they impact government and policy (i.e. Agenda Setting, Lobbying Techniques, Iron Triangle)

apgovlover2 karma

Thanks! I'm looking through your terms list and is asks about congressional oversight. I know what it is but I have no idea how it works. Could you elaborate on it?

pattonc5 karma

First of all, love the username, although I'm sure it's a throwaway.

Congressional oversight happens through investigations and hearings. They can require members of the federal bureaucracy to testify to committees, and they have the GAO (Government Accountability Office) to audit and investigate. Congress has the power to create/abolish/re-arrange departments/agencies and are also in charge of the budget.

While we are on the subject of the GAO, the other two legislative institutions that are important to know are the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

apgovlover0 karma

Ok the CBO determines the cost of legislature correct? Does this link to the ways and means committee in the house?

pattonc2 karma

Yes, the CBO runs cost projections.

The Ways and Means Committee is the committee which overseas tax legislation, every member of Congress cites/uses the CBO.

Firestonezz2 karma

How important are Supreme Court cases to the test? Is it worth the time for me to create flash cards for all of them?

pattonc5 karma

Unfortunately, it varies. Some years, there is almost nothing on specific Supreme Court cases save for the obvious Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and Gibbons v. Ogden. Other years they have asked FRQs about selective incorporation of criminal rights and 1st Amendment rights and students were required to relate their answers to specific Supreme Court cases. There was also an FRQ on Lemon v. Kurtzmann (establishment clause). I tend to overprepare my students on Supreme Court cases, but if you feel that there is so much more for you to review then you might was to focus on that with a cursory overview of the major Supreme Court cases. If you have time, it can't hurt. I have compiled a document with the most commonly seen cases here. Click on Supreme Court Cases.doc

NoFancySuits2 karma

Are we or are we not allowed to put Bullet Points instead of actual essays, My teacher tells us just put bullet points?

pattonc4 karma

Yes you may. I tell my students not to simply because students often then do not adequately answer the questions, particularly if the question asks students to "explain." I don't have students write an intro and there are no thesis statements. Instead I have them write a paragraph for each subquestion of the FRQ (a, b, c, etc..).

JesusTheCaffeine2 karma


pattonc3 karma

I was just wondering if this was standard fair for the course?

I would hope not. Although this is most likely successful in getting students to pass, I would much rather have students engage in discussions, pay attention and apply current events, and most importantly come to understand the political process, their role in it, and increase their civic engagement. I that student performance on the AP Exam will then take care of itself.

sharkattack7862 karma

How important is the history aspect of the US government in relation to modern aspects of the government for the test?

Also, what exactly is the iron triangle?

Finally, if there was any last minute review I could do what would help me the most? I remember last year for AP US History for last minute review I studied the presidents and their dates in office and that helped because there were many questions that branched off of that knowledge. Is there anything similar for this exam?

Thanks a lot, this AMA is very helpful.

pattonc2 karma

History is only important concerning Constitutional Foundations and Civil Rights. The rest is all modern aspects of government.

The iron triangle is the relationship between an interest group, Congress, and the federal bureaucracy in the policy making process. Here is an example:

Last minute review? Go over the branches, their powers, and checks and balances. Also, make sure you understand federalism.

spilledonwhite732 karma

21 years old. Took mandatory high school civics senior year of high school.

One thing I really wish I learned was what government entities are responsible for maintaining with tax money and what my tax money goes towards. Who paves the roads? My town or the state? What about sewers, schools, gas and water?

What are local taxes spent on, what are state taxes spent on, what are federal taxes spent on? What are these entities responsible for? I'm sure other young people probably don't even know about that the other paycheck deductions are for.

Does your class touch on this or do you think it is valuable to know?

pattonc2 karma

I do think this is important to know. It's our money being spent and the government should be accountable to us. Also, learning about the different entities which tax us and what they spend money on is a great way to learn about the federal structure of our government.

captain_obvious_scum1 karma

So if students pass and get credit for this, do ALL colleges take the credit for it?

And if so what courses in college would that sub out for?

pattonc3 karma

Not all colleges, particularly the most elite. They "require" you to take the courses to get admitted, but then do not award credit.

The AP Exam credits tend to take the place of first year gen-ed required classes.

ccruner131 karma

Took AP US Gov't. class and test. Took Comparative Gov't. test because it was free. How did I pass Comparative but not US?

pattonc10 karma

My first hunch is that you are either a traitor or a communist. j/k.

The honest answer is that I really don't know. I've never had a student do better on CompGov that APGov before.

ghostmacekillah1 karma

Any opinions about IB classes?

pattonc2 karma

I like many aspects of the IB program, particularly the depth of knowledge that it allows students to engage in and the choices that it gives them. My primary criticism is that few students actually finish.

cannabiswarrior1 karma

I was going to ask this same question. Instead I'll just give you my two cents - IB is worthless because of the fact that few schools accept it as a higher degree of education. I mean I thought that was the whole point, to challenge myself and at the same time, get college credit. Instead, all I got was a bit poorer and IB got a bit richer. Is the only difference in AP the fact that it is more guided (as to what students have to do) and that more colleges accept it?

pattonc5 karma

IB allows more freedom, AP is much more rigid about their curriculum, especially given how they have a standardized test. AP does seem to be accepted more widely. You can make the same criticism about CollegeBoard getting richer.

I enjoy teaching AP, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the depth/pace of information I must disseminate in order for students to be successful, but I believe I have found a good balance between preparing students to take the AP Exam without having to simply "drill and kill". I refuse to sacrifice critical thinking, analysis, current events in order to pad AP Scores.

speeedhawk1 karma

Any horror stories about kids that were extremely unprepared for the test?

pattonc7 karma

No - all of my kids are well prepared. :)

Joking aside, I typically have ~70 students take the exam and I have had 100% of them pass in the past.

turtles_and_frogs1 karma

Could we ever have universal public healthcare? I'm a US citizen in his mid 20s, and I'm moving to New Zealand because of this. Do you see us having a tax based healthcare system, sometime in the next 50 or 100 years?


pattonc3 karma

In 50 to 100 year? Sure, it's definitely possible. The healthcare system on its current course is going to implode in the coming decades. The question is whether policy responds with more universal care, or going the opposite direction.

dildocave1 karma

How accurate are your predictions for what the essays(FRQs in this case) will be on?

Reasoning: When I took AP US History, my teacher was SURE that the DBQ was going to be on a specific topic based on what the last two decades topics had been. Absolutely sure. It ended up being a topic entirely off the map. Not even close. I did, however, end up getting a 5. She loathed my existence and almost failed me in the class so when I got my scores back I walked into her class and threw them on her desk and walked out.

TL;DR basically just asking how accurate some teachers are at guessing essay questions for AP exams

pattonc5 karma

I don't even try with Gov because it could be anything. My one hunch though, is that Gov tends to have a 3 year rule on topics, and given that Citizens United v. FEC was in 2010 and that they have not touched campaign finance reform for years, it would make sense given it's importance and that 2012 was an election year. But again, it's complete conjecture. If I was an Oracle I would be richer and not a teacher.

jewswagga1 karma

Is there any summer assignments for AP gov?

pattonc1 karma

Not in my class.

Bisoncoach1 karma

How is Common Core going to change your curriculum next year if at all?

pattonc2 karma

Not at all. Common Core is skills based, not knowledge based. Common Core is simply what good teachers have always been doing, and aligns very well with AP.

SecretlyAlaska1 karma

I'm a future high school history teacher, just about to start my student teaching in the fall. We talk a lot about using technology, specifically social networks, with our student and in the classroom, and this is one of the best examples I've seen. Not AP Gov related, but do you have any advice for a soon to be teacher?

pattonc3 karma

Know your content, have a purpose for everything you do, challenge students, try not to get too discouraged.

I wish you the best and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

iwritebmovies1 karma

I took the test in 2006 and got a 3. All I remember about it is that there was definitely a question about the Iron Triangle. My teacher told us there was a question about the Iron Triangle every year. Will there be an Iron Triangle question this year?

pattonc2 karma

It's a common topic, but given that I did not write the test nor am I privy to this information, I cannot be certain.

skrrrrrt1 karma


pattonc2 karma

US History certainly helps, but is not necessary unless it pertains to Constitutional foundations and Civil Rights (but only basic knowledge).

The FRQ will have several parts and will ask you to do anything from identify (very simple) to explain (much more complex and requires you to not only to make a point, describe it, but also prove it with an example).

Collegeboard has FRQs from the past 15 years or so with samples and rubrics.

andrewphf1 karma

This isn't about AP US Government but your website says you teach APUSH as well. I took Honors World this year as opposed to AP World (I'm taking the AP Euro test though). Would you recommend I take APUSH next year? What does the workload mainly consist of?

pattonc2 karma

Your workload will entirely depend on your teacher. If you can talk to the potential teacher and/or current students, that will give you the best information. Students taking my class can expect about 4-5 hours a week outside of class of work, consisting of mostly reading and studying.

bingbongbebop1 karma

I completely freaked for a second because I thought this was APUSH.

pattonc1 karma

APUSH is Wednesday. I will try to find time to do an APUSH AMA too.

xGrimtoothx1 karma

Skrillex or Zedd?

pattonc6 karma

I'm not cool enough to answer that question. Sorry.

xplato1 karma

Can you explain some of the major effects FDR's New Deal policies had on both blacks and women?

I'm also taking the test Wednesday, thanks for doing this!

pattonc2 karma

This should be saved for the APUSH one, but since I'm a sucker I'll give a brief answer.

A. Philip Randolph's March on Washington which resulted in the Fair Employment Practices Commission which integrated factories with a defense contract is significant. Furthermore, African Americans were hired for public works projects, although they were often excluded, paid less, and segregated (CCC). The AAA tended to exclude them because they were primarily sharecroppers and not land owners. African Americans were given greater responsibilities in the military as well. African Americans obviously felt like the New Deal had an overall positive effect because they started to vote for the Democratic Party, a coalition that stands to this day.

Women's role on the homefront increased tremendously as millions of men left the civilian workforce and entered the military. Women found jobs in all sectors, and Rosie the Riveter is the poster child for women working in defense plants. FDR appointed the first female cabinet member, Francis Perkins, as Secretary of Labor. And the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) established welfare for families with low incomes, particularly single mothers.

God_Emperor_of_Love1 karma

Do you hate I.B. teachers?

pattonc1 karma

Not at all.

God_Emperor_of_Love1 karma

Which is better AP or IB

pattonc1 karma

It depends on your goals, they do different things. IB provides much more freedom to students, but many colleges to not award credit. AP is much more wrote and standardized and more colleges accept it.

muffinman12311 karma

Do you think this course is truly helpful to the students who take it?

as in truly give them a grasp on how the us government works/worked

pattonc6 karma

This of course depends on the teacher, as most education is. I believe that my students leave with a depth of knowledge of how government functions, their role in it, the Constitution, and the difference between the "theory" of government and how government actually works. That being said, it is only a semester course, but I would put my students up against the American public any day in terms of knowledge and understanding (and yes, I do realize that is a fairly low bar).


I took the class for a year last year, is that not normal?

pattonc1 karma

It's designed to be a semester course, but I know some schools have it for a year. What did you do for econ?

Petefritz1 karma


pattonc2 karma

To clarify, everyone takes the AP Gov test on Tuesday.

Do you consider most of the test's content to be "common knowledge" for someone who is fairly politically involved and watches the news pretty frequently?

Not necessarily. For example, last year there was a MC question on discharge petitions, which is fairly obscure.

IamGrimReefer1 karma

when the students ask what type of government the US has, how do you answer?

democracy, constitutional republic, something else...?

pattonc3 karma

Constitutional republic or just republic.

about_60_Hobos1 karma

What court cases do you recommend knowing well to use in the FRQ's?

pattonc2 karma

On my website, I have a document called Supreme Court Cases.doc which has the most prominent. The document categorizes them and also provides tiers of importance. Hope it helps.

cyan1010 karma

I remember being DBQs on my final exam in the only AP class i took in high school. Why are there none on this exam?

pattonc3 karma

You are perhaps thinking of AP US History. I teach that as well, that has 80 MC questions, a DBQ, and 2 FRQs.

monkeyrectum0 karma

Harrington? Harrington!!!!

pattonc10 karma


DPD1995-2 karma

The AP is on Wednesday not tuesday

pattonc5 karma

AP Gov is Tuesday / AP US History is Wednesday. I teach both.

MrPandamania3 karma

In that case, can you do another one of these tomorrow or Tuesday night for AP US History?

pattonc3 karma

I will try to make the time.

Rorandon-3 karma

Why can't AP wrap their head around Roe v. Wade?

pattonc8 karma

I'm afraid I don't understand the question.