AP Class Reviews

American Government taught by Rachel Califf

by Students and Parents

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Why you should take this class:) posted by Kendra Lady on May 24 2012 at 14:25:58

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam? 

Yes, I feel that this class did a great job of preparing me for the exam. The essay opportunities, study guides, review chats, weekly quizzes, and other resources helped me not only learn a great deal about U.S. government and politics, but also made me feel fairly confident during the exam. During the last month or so of the course, though, we were largely responsible for preparing ourselves for the exam: we didn't really have any required assignments to help us review the material leaned during the year. Therefore, it is VERY important that you don't slack off during this period just because there are not many mandatory assignments. Mrs. Califf had us each develop our own personalized review study plan, which I loved because it allowed us to shape our review plan according to our schedule. 

How many hours of work per day or week did you generally put into this course? 

Hmmm....I would say roughly 7-10 hours a week, sometimes more or less. It all depended on what assignments were due, what projects I was working on, and how long the chapters of our book were. 

Are there any particular favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? 

I had many favorite assignments during the year, some of which were more "valuable" than others, but all of which I greatly enjoyed. I loved most of the Americans Governing activities, especially the videos exploring different aspects of our political processes. The weekly discussion questions were also also fun to answer--even if they didn't necessarily help me a great deal in preparing for the exam. It was an enjoyable challenge to read the question, draw on my own beliefs and theories, combine them with what I knew about our government, and craft them into a comprehensive and detailed response. Finally, I loved doing the political article analyses, which led me to discover interesting and thought-provoking newspaper articles on topics that were previously unfamiliar to me. 

Did this course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes!! Before taking this course I had little, if any interest in the workings and institutions of our government. But during the course I developed a much deeper interest in and knowledge of American government and politics. Though I still can't see myself going into a political or governmental career field, taking this course taught me SO much about topics such as America's foreign policy, the structure of congress, the ramifications of important Supreme Court cases, the complexity of economic policy, and many others. 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable? 

Though I didn't have a great deal of communication with the other students, except for the study chats, discussion questions, and the occasional project, I definitely enjoyed learning about my classmates' positions on and ideas about political-related topics. 

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard)?

I would recommend this course to any student who (a) wishes to gain a deeper knowledge of American government and politics, (b) is willing to be open-minded and respectful of other student's political beliefs, and (c) is able to be self-disciplined in completing assignments, taking part in study chats and discussions, writing essays, and--near the end of the year--sticking to his or her study plan while reviewing for the exam. It is important for students taking this course to be self-motivated, since many of the "optional assignments" are actually very useful. Mrs. Califf is a fantastic and helpful teacher, and is always willing to share tips and suggestions for struggling students. Take this course if you fit the above criteria--you won't be disappointed!!


Great class! posted by Hannah Huynh on May 18 2012 at 15:12:44

Mrs. Califf's AP Government and Politics class was definitely more fun than I thought it would be.  She adequately prepares you for the AP exam, and she gives you many review opportunities.  I felt ready for the exam at the end of the year.  Throughout the year, I spent around four or five hours a week in the class.  Mrs. Califf gives us many opportunities to write essays and it definitely gets you very prepared for what is to come on the AP exam.  Though history and government are not my strong subjects, I felt like this class made me a better citizen.  Every American should know how our government works and the difficulties our predecessors had in establishing our democratic republic.  Regardless of what major you are going/looking into or what college credit you are trying to obtain, government is a class that will help everyone become better citizens.

Any student willing to take the initiate and study will do well in this class.  This year, Mrs. Califf only required ten essays written total, but she offered twenty essays.  Students going above a beyond and doing more than the bare minimum find that the little extra work put in thoughout the year greatly helps at the end when studying for the AP exam.  Also, Mrs. Califf posts many powerpoints, chapter outlines, extra assignments, and links to help enhance our knowledge.  Again, someone can go though class doing the bare minimum, or someone can take advantage of all the helpful sources that Mrs. Califf gives.  Mrs. Califf also hosts an optional study chat that reviews questions for the quizzes.  I believe students willing to do the optional activities and take the intiative to learn more will do very well in the class.  It is also nice that the class ends in the middle of March, so Mrs. Califf gives you adequate time to study for the AP exam.  But, again, it is up to the student to study.  Mrs. Califf does not daily monitor each student's study habits, so the student has to be accountable to him/herself.  This class would be great for students who are willing to do more independent work.


Great class... posted by Meredith Pochily on May 17 2012 at 19:40:47

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

The course definitely provided the foundation of material needed for the AP exam, and Mrs. Califf had us writing practice essays way back in September which was helpful. I did a lot of studying on my own in the last few weeks before the exam (2-3 hours a day), but I was prepared when I walked in to it, and I feel fairly confident that I did well.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

On average, I would say I spent maybe five hours on government a week. It wasn't hugely time-consuming, though there were weeks with extra work or projects during which I put in extra hours and studying. Of course, as the exam got closer, probably from mid-March to the exam, I spent more time reviewing and studying. 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? 

My favorite assignment was probably the poll project that we did way back at the beginning of the year. We teamed up with a few classmates, designed a poll, got as many people as possible to take it, and then wrote a report analyzing the results -- my group's poll was about differing perceptions of poverty. Other than that, I had fun drafting a legislative bill, and the political manifesto was definitely thought-provoking. I also loved learning about the judiciary and Supreme Court cases, but that's just me. :) I wish I had made time to do the optional Civic Involvement Project, and if you do take this class, I recommend that you do.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

I was already pretty interested in government I guess, so I can't exactly say the course enhanced my interest, but it DID give me a much greater appreciation for our system of government and the beauty of its inefficiency. Yes, I did just say that. :P So many people don't really think it through and realize that what they're complaining about is designed to protect them.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

I didn't put all that much time into interacting with other classmates in debates, etc, so my communications with other students weren't overly valuable. I did get to know some of the students I worked on projects with, though, and we did have some good interactions. In the end, I think interaction in this class is really what you make it.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would recommend this class to a student who is interested in learning about how our government works and why. What you learn in this class is useful and relevant, particularly as we're coming up on a presidential election year. 

So overall, AP gov is a really interesting class and I'm glad I decided to take it.

Meredith


Thinking about taking AP Government? posted by Ashlyn Olson on May 16 2012 at 14:04:52

I have always been interested in government, so this class was a natural choice for me. But, I think this course is great for all students! I did feel prepared for the AP exam, and I attribute that to both Mrs. Califf's essays and quizzes as well as the amount of time I put into studying fo the exam. I generally put about 7 hours into this course a week, but I definitely put in more time once the AP test approach. I especially felt the weekly quizzes and essays to be valuable assignments. This class also involves weekly study chats and a wwwboard, so those were great ways to communicate with other students and the teacher. Students who are motivated to work hard and willing to put a lot of time into this course should succeed. I hope you will enjoy this course as much as I did! 


Exam Results posted by Ben Che on August 04 2011 at 20:48:57

I got a 5 on the exam (YAY!) I would like to thank you for all your efforts this year for our whole class - I really enjoyed your class and felt I was excellently prepared for the exam. On test day, I walked out with a big smile because the test material did not come as a surprise, in fact, it was even easier than some of the practice exams we were assigned.  I feel that I am today miles ahead in knowledge of United States government than just a year ago.  

Some of the assignments during the course (Personal Manifesto and Bomb Shelter exercise were my personal favorites) really helped me think about what I was learning (instead of just memorization of facts).  US Gov was also a huge help in Lincoln Douglas debate (perfect resolution: Should a government value popular sovereignty over individual rights as a means of attaining legitimacy?). 

The study buddy questions and extra review questions combined with quizzing during study chats was really what cinched my exam grade in the end.  I really did not expect much (ironically, I got a C class grade), but it turns out the constant drilling got me so familiar with the intricacies of US government that I easily answered all the MCQ's (ten minutes ahead of time after double checking) and essays.  Thanks again.


Great Course! posted by Catherine Owens on May 27 2011 at 15:59:35

     I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot this year about how our government works!  It prepared me really well for the AP exam.  Mrs. Califf required that we write 10 essays during the year (5 each semester), and there were essay opportunities every week.  This really helped to prepare me for the free response section of the exam.  She also has wonderful multiple choice question practice in the weekly quizzes and the optional "Review Quizzes" which give you bonus participation points and help you memorize facts and information from common topics tested on the exam.  I typically spent 1-2 hours daily on the course (about 10 hours per week, give or take a few); other students may need more or less time depending on their academic experience.  Reading comprehension is really important for a student taking this course; the textbook reading and the language of some of the questions on the exam can be complex.  However, Mrs. Califf did a lot to help us become accustomed to the vocabulary and language on the exam so we could really show our progress in our knowledge of government. 

     Another thing I really enjoyed about this course was the class interaction.  Mrs. Califf and her teaching assistant held bi-weekly study chats where we covered exam questions, and I always left the discussion with a better grasp of the week's material.  It was also very helpful to be able to just post a message on the site with questions I had.  Public discussion of such questions added depth to the course by including many different viewpoints in the conversation.  Everyone in the class was very civil and friendly, and I always felt as if I could express my own opinions openly, even if they did not agree with the majority consensus.  This gave me valuable experience in stating my own beliefs in an non-emotional, respectful manner, a very important skill for any young person to learn.

     Overall, I absolutely loved Mrs. Califf's AP Governent class.  She is a very caring, involved teacher, and she works hard to make sure hard-working students do well in her class.  I would recommend this class to any student who is willing to work hard.  My advice to any student considering this class would be to do your part to participate in class activities and do the work to complete their assignments well.   It will really be worth your time!


This Class :) posted by Emily Owens on May 13 2011 at 02:14:57

     This class is worth your time!  Mrs. Califf is a wonderful teacher, and is dedicated to helping her students.  Being a student myself, I know that this class is challenging, so students must be dedicated to their work.  But it's not just all torture!  Classmates make the course fun by giving you a lot of support and encouragment.

     I would strongly recommend this course to high school students.  No matter if you are an auditory or visual learner, this course provides resources for all study tecniques. 

     I loved this course, and so will you.  :)

Emily Owens


posted by Noah Miller on May 11 2011 at 17:54:20

I feel that I was well prepared for the exam. I myself put in about 8-10 hours a week into the class. I found the Civic Involvement Project(optional) EXTREMELY valuable. I volunteered to help a local County Commissioner run for office. She and her husband were very nice to me and got me involved in local politics. Another valuable part of the class was the AG assignements and study helps. These were beneficial when it came to studying independently. Last, the essay practices and feedback were helpful,especially when it came time to take the exam. This class did increase my interest in the subject and was VERY beneficial. I also think that talking to the other students and listening to their point of view was very valuable and interesting. I think that if somebody is willing to work hard and put the time into the class that it could be very beneficial to them.


Great class, useful knowledge posted by Nathaniel Pawelczyk on May 10 2011 at 17:20:38

Government and its structure was something that I only had a loose grasp of before this class.  After having taken Mrs. Califf's course (and finished the test a few hours ago!) I am confident in my knowledge of government and its workings.  We wrote a good number of essays over the year, and we covered a lot of material, so I was well prepared for the exam.  The base amount of work took me about five hours a week, but there are supplementary activities that you can do which increase the time spent per week.  It was also enjoyable to study and get to know the other students in the class.

One thing--the review at the end of the year for the test is self-driven; basically, it's up to you to study.  If you're a student that needs someone to tell you what to do, you might not do well with this type of review.  However, I still felt prepared for the exam after the review.


A Valuable Course posted by Connor Perkins on May 20 2010 at 12:03:56

I write this review one day after taking the AP US Government and Politics exam--I had to take it on the late test day--and I definitely felt prepared for the test. While a big factor in that preparation was studying hard for the month or so before the test, Mrs. Califf definitely gave us a great picture of what to expect on the test and what to study.

I generally put about 6 hours a week into this class, though some weeks involved larger projects that took me longer. The week or so before the test, I at least doubled that number studying harder than ever before.

There were two major assignments in particular that I found especially valuable. The first was writing my political manifesto, a written document stating what I believe and why. I loved this assignment; it really got me thinking and got me to express not only the basic tenets of my ideology but the foundation for those beliefs. The other assignment was the Civic Involvement Project. This project requires that the student plan and participate in some form of civic engagement. Through a local group of politically active teens of which I am president, I started a Government Education Day to teach kids in the area about the founding and proper role of our government. I am so grateful that Mrs. Califf encouraged us to be involved in our community, as I enjoyed my project immensely.

I have been interest in government and politics for several years, but this class certainly cultivated my knowledge of and curiosity about the subject. I also feel more led to be heavily involved in politics in order to fight for what I see as the Truth.

My communications with other students were invaluable. I had the opportunity to discuss political issues with people I didn't agree with. Most of my friends here at home believe almost exactly the same things I do, so the opportunity I had to discuss certain facets of political ideologies with others was wonderful. The students were, for the most part, very courteous in the presentation of their ideas, and this made debate even more valuable.

If you are willing to work hard and want to take the AP US Government and Politics test, this is an excellent class. Mrs. Califf is very kind and hard-working, and the subject matter is fascinating and very timely. Hopefully you will consider taking this course!

Connor G. Perkins


AP Govt. Class Review posted by Michaela Campbell on May 17 2010 at 13:29:05

--Did you feel the course prepared you for the exam?

Yes, the course prepared me well for the exam, but I was grateful that the course ended a month before the exam. Personally, I found I didn't really remember much of the material from the beginning of the course and used that month for intensive review.

 

--How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

Depending on the week, I probably put in anywhere from one to two and half hours each day.

 

--Are there any favorite assignments?

Yes! I really enjoyed my civic involvement project--it was very rewarding and I learned a lot about the operation of crisis pregnancy centers.

 

--Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Definitely. I knew very little about government when I started this course. However, Mrs. Califf and the curriculum she used did a splendid job of presenting information to me in a fun and engaging manner. This course enabled me to become a much more informed and enthusiastic citizen.


AP US Gov posted by William Sturdy on May 05 2010 at 11:52:17

I had a very mixed experience with this course.

First of all, I think that it really did prepare me for the exam. I didn't find the actual AP exam difficult in the least thanks to this course.

I generally put an average of about 50 minutes-an hour into the course every day with more time spent in the weeks leading up to the exam. 

Many of the assignments seemed to me to be a complete waste of time. I do a ton of volunteer work - at least 200 or so hours per year. I also was taking other time consuming courses. I did not have time last year to spend in addition to that hour per day doing things such as the AG or the CIP. From my brief experiences with the two, I think that they are not part of the class that is worthwhile. They are not an efficient means of learning material or are totally irrelevant to the purpose of the course. If I had known about the AG before the start of the class I might not have signed up, but it was decided to include it well after the signup period.

I found discussions often frustrating. Logical analysis of problems was not emphasized, so any disagreements that appeared were seldom discussed in a proper manner. Although I tried to start a couple discussions that were controversial and would actually make people really question the ideas they came into the class with, most were totally ignored by the rest of the class. I was not happy about that, as in depth discussions on controversial subjects could have been one of the most educational parts of the class.

One thing that also bothered me was the format of the website. I know that it is difficult and time consuming to get something complex like this operating, but I think discussions would be much better in a more usable format. For instance, the forum layout is extremely outdated. There are many templates out there that are far more usable. Following discussions was very difficult with the format used.

The class is a great way to prepare for the AP exam, but I found it slightly frustrating. I would not recommend it to someone else unless something about the class changes.


A few words of warning to the prospective student posted by Matthew Kilgore on May 04 2010 at 12:03:13

Hello student,

            If you are reading this, you are doubtlessly considering taking Mrs. Califf’s AP U.S. Government and Politics Course.  Before you hastily decide “YES!” on taking it, let me offer a few words of warning:

  1. You will learn about politics.  You will be able to answer any question anyone asks about U.S. Government—even if the answer is as obscure as the name of the bureaucracy-Congress-interest group relationship (the iron triangle).  Consequently, the ignorance of those around you—particularly those in the media—will drive you off a cliff‼‼
  2. You will have a supportive teacher.  Even if you are a radical socialist, Mrs. Califf will encourage your ideological development; if you stumble anywhere in the course, Mrs. Califf will help you.  In short, there will be no entertaining student-teacher rivalry whatsoever.  Where’s the fun in that!?
  3. You will have great civic involvement project (CIP).  Mrs. Califf requires that you craft a CIP in which you assist a local organization.  It is one of the most enjoyable parts of the class.  Consequently, you cannot angrily attack the class for being a boring waste of time!  How disappointing‼!
  4. You will start writing legislation in your free time.  Mrs. Califf similarly requires that you craft a piece of legislation.  This too is incredibly fun (particularly if your bill is realistic).  As a result, you will inevitably start writing legislation in your free time.  Eventually, this “hobby” occupies all your time and ruins your life.
  5. You will be prepared for the MCQ portion of the exam.  In fact, the test as a whole will be EASY.  No worrying/panicking/crammingèNo fun!  It will be dull security‼ Need I say more?
  6. You will understand the news.  You now have no excuse to not watch it!  AND—if you already did watch the news—you will now have no excuse for NOT explaining it to your family‼

You have been warned.

Regrettably,

Matthew Kilgore


Class Review (from a 9th Grader, in NC) posted by Daniel Thomas on May 03 2010 at 13:15:23

It prepared me very well. I had good general knowledge on every topic and Mrs. Califf is good at making sure you work on the details as well. However, for the actual test it is very important to buy a prep book. For those of you who study for a year - you may not need one, but I was starting serious prep like a month before the exam. WARNING! That's the latest you should start. I was really cramped for time because I have three extracurriculars and we went on two big trips back to back for really important competitions in the two weeks before the exam. So I came back and Saturday and Sunday hit the prep book. The prep books were SOO GOOD. I even saw questions on the exam that were almost the same as the stuff in the prep books.

MOST IMPORTANT: Mrs. Califf is a GREAT teacher. She gave great detailed feedback, she is extremely organized, and her essay grades were extremely helpful to me.

I would put about 35-40 minutes for three weekdays (I skipped Thursday) and 2 hours on Friday (into it. I would work for about an hour on the weekend. I think for the first few months, spend a full hour and two hours on Friday with two hours over the weekend. Once you get into a steady routine and are comfortable with how the course works I would say you can revert to my first schedule.

I really enjoyed all the Americans Governing assignments. They brought extra depth and sometimes important details not found in the textbook. They bring to light things and relate it back to you so you don't feel like your learning a bunch of dry facts.

Yes it did. I really enjoyed everything about government and I am thinking of eventually (after getting a real career :-P ) going into politics.

Yes, kids were all bright and helpful. I enjoyed some discussions with them.

I think two types of kid can do well.

One - the person who does not necessarily know anything but is a plodder. A person who just bangs it out every day trying to learn will do well. Its time consuming but you will be thorough. The person who likes flashcards and memorization will enjoy this course.

Two - You may not be the flashcard type but if you like this subject and have decent general knowledge you can get through without too much memorization. I know that was my experience. However, ultimately you'll have to memorize the basics (see my earlier comments about working through a prep book)


I'm no good at coming up with titles, but I would like to say that.... posted by Dorrit Zeigler on May 02 2010 at 18:07:11

Although it took some toughening up on my part, I felt that this course has prepared me for the exam. I have always been the type that can get an A without trying, but this course really challenged me in order to do better. I generally put in 2-3 hours a day, about 10-15 a week. I loved a lot of the special assignments and big projects, especially the ones that encourage you to open up around people and discuss and sometimes debate your views. It most definetly enhanced my interest in the subject. I had little to no interest in government before taking this class. I felt as a fourteen-year-old I had an excuse not to know anything about our government and it's past, but now I actually want to know more. I loved communicating with other students. It gave me a chance to see the kind of views and beliefs other people my age have, and made me think more broadly about my own because of it. Plus all the students were super nice even when they didn't agree with you about something. :) I think a student who is willing to work hard, and be willing to put forth more than required to get a good grade, but enough to actually learn something would do especially well in this course. But I think the teacher is so amazingly motivational and good at teaching that as long as you are willing to work hard you can succeed in this course. ;)


Political Conversations no longer intimidating! posted by Kyle Meserve on April 29 2010 at 16:58:15

This year has gone by so quickly and I can't believe how much I've learned. Countless times I have participated in political conversations that I would have been timid to have before taking this class. The hardest thing to comprehend throughout the year for me was probably learning all of the terms. Before this class, federalism held no meaning for me!

Overall, this class was everything you could ask for if you are interested in learning about our United States Government.


Increased my awareness of politics posted by Zack Miller on April 26 2010 at 12:22:14

Although I wasnt very surprised by anything that I learned this year, what probably surprised me the most was learning how our government has evolved over time. Prior to the class I didn't realize how much our government has changed in order to try to meet the nation's needs. I personally thought that the class was very easy to understand. At one point I even questioned if the class was TOO easy and that I wasn't learning enough to be prepared for the AP test. I was learning a lot though and after taking a released AP test it became clear that my fear of the class being too easy was completely unfounded and Mrs. Califf had prepared me very well. The class has helped me to understand other people's views better and has changed my views to make them slightly more moderate. I thought that the class taught me a lot and increased my awareness of politics that are currently going on. A couple of suggestions that I have for the class is that the last month used as a review time could be more structured. The current format worked very well for me, but if someone does not work very well independently they most likely struggle as most of the review you are on your own. Lastly, I wish that my class had more diversity. I know that Mrs. Califf can't do anything about that, but this year's class was very politically homogeneous.


Knowledge for Life posted by Jonathan Dane Keil on May 28 2009 at 15:21:20

AP US Government was a fascinating course for me, due to the fact that it taught me so much about how our government functions, which is knowledge that I will always to be able to put to great use as a US citizen.

This course greatly prepared me for the AP Government Exam for a variety of reasons. For example, the textbook we used was a great help because it explains the concepts of government thoroughly and effectively. Also, some of the assignments that we participated in, such as the article/cartoon analysis and bill writing exercise, helped to further cement the concepts that we learned each week. Last, but certainly not least, is the wonderful teaching style of Mrs. Califf. Her understanding and effective teaching style was the greatest impetus for learning the material and taking it to heart.

I would highly recommend this course for students who have an interest in how our government works and are willing to work hard.


AWESOME CLASS!!!! posted by Elisabet Bjanes on May 28 2009 at 13:18:23

I took this course because I love politics and government and I wanted to see if this class would inspire me to go into a career involving law, government, and/or politics. Iím the kind of person who loves to learn and will do anything to gain more knowledge on nearly every subject. I knew a little bit about the workings of the government and politics before this class but it was so in-depth, covered so much (well, not just skimming topics)

My favorite parts of the class were arguing whether or not we had the right to pick and choose who could live and die in the mock bomb shelter exercise, writing the manifesto and reading other peoples', sweating blood over the tests (lolÖokay, they werenít that bad ), emailing the teacherÖ. the list goes on and on. It was an amazing class that everyone should take.

Be warned, however that this is an AP class and therefore a lot of work. But the class prepared me very well and I knew ahead of time that this class would require the typical time an AP class takes. The syllabus and class policies were clearly outlined before the class ever started so I knew what I was getting myself into.

My favorite assignments were: cartoons - it was fun to look at the caricatures and try to guess what the artists were saying, the manifesto - because it was the first time I really thought hard about my beliefs and I got to talk about them with my family during meal times.

There were not a huge amount of writing assignments compared to other APs. We had to write ten essays for the entire year but had the option to pick when we wanted to write them. We could also write more if we wanted to improve our grade which was really nice. Even though we did have some mandatory writing assignments (cartoons, analysis, etc) it was more flexible.

For the civic involvement project, I joined the local high schoolís Mock Trial team and competed on that so that was a form of ďpoliticsĒ but through the Mock Trial team I learned that politics is not what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. (didnít figure that out through any negative thing in this class. It was a very positive experience for me) I had never really sat down and thought out all of my positions and beliefs (manifesto) so that was really fun to do and see where I actually stand.

The bonus activities helped to balance out the initial poor grades on tests or essays etc. It also gave an opportunity for me to ďmeetĒ the kids who really wanted to take this class as opposed to the kids who were taking it because they had to or because they needed their civics credit. My favorite bonus activity was the bomb shelter. Maybe you could do like three bonus activities instead of just two. Perhaps one over Christmas break?

There was a lot of competition involved like for the highest standing and points ranking. I am SO competitive and at the moment, I have the highest standing in the class (woohooo!) so the standings and the credit was a great motivator for me to check every day and do the review questions and respond to the discussion questions.

I would recommend this class to anyone with even a slight interest in politics and/or government. It prepared me very well for the class. It was the first time I actually sat down and thought about my own beliefs and put them onto paper so that other people could read them. There were plenty of fun activities to do for extra credit and the tests werenít too hard. I enjoyed this class immensely. Thanks for teaching it.

I would email and have an answer usually by the end of the day. Mrs. Califf was always respectful and fair - when I had a disagreement over the quiz questions, she could often give me credit

This class was excellent - Mrs. Califf responded almost immediately to my emails, explained the things I didnít understand, was very knowledgeable in the subject, didnít force her own opinions on matters that were highly controversial - I loved the class

A+

I have to say, this was my most fun AP class Iíve ever taken. (Iíve taken 3) It was incredibly interactive and enjoyable. My favorite part was probably the Bomb Shelter thingy and the Cartoons. You were an incredibly nice teacher and I donít say this easily. My other two AP teachers were not your warm and friendly type. You, on the other hand, were full of peace and joy (via email  ) and I had the great privilege of learning from you. Thank you so very much for teaching this class and imparting your knowledge into those following my footsteps.


End of the Year 2008-2009 Review posted by Ellen Powers on May 27 2009 at 24:34:31

I, felt the course overall was excellent. I gained an incredible amount of knowledge throughout the course of the year. I happen to believe that Government and Politics is one of the hardest AP courses out there. You have to be able to not only know the information but be able to apply that to different perspectives and address it so itís understandable.

I took the course because I wanted to learn more about how our government works. I wanted to know about the most crucial issues in government and why politics works the way it does. The course definitely answered all my questions about government that I had throughout the year. The course expanded my outlook on government 100% from beginning to end. I found the course very beneficial in preparation for the exam in several ways; starting with the constitution was a perfect way to start. I didnít realize how important the Constitution is in todayís politics. When learning more about the government, through the course, it helps to refer back to that first chapter on the Constitution or the amendments and articles for references or questions. The essays throughout the year were also very helpful in preparing for the exam because they give you a sense of the knowledge you must get out of doing weekly chapters.

My favorite assignments were the cartoon and article analyses. I had the most fun doing them because they were different from the weekly goals. It gave us something fun to do that could be described as ďfun government.Ē I would have to say the Legislative bill process assignment was the most effective because it allowed people in the class to put their heads together and work out a bill that we wanted amended. It was great to build that sense of comradery with the other classmates. In doing so we were able to go to each other for help and other activities throughout the year. I feel with the legislative bill assignment we were able to accomplish a lot.

The teacher was AWESOME! What more can I say? Mrs. Califf was absolutely the most perfect Government and Politics teacher. She was quick to respond to emails, messages on the board, helped with everything, and was great! Mrs.Califf was just strict enough to keep us all in gear, she believed in us and wants us to do our best at all times; Mrs. Califf knew had to get the best results from all of us!

Good Luck to all who decided to expand their minds through the course of Government and Politics next year!


Good. Very Good. posted by Roman Ruiz-Esparza on May 27 2009 at 13:40:21

This class has been very enjoyable and informative. Starting with the weekly quizzes to make sure I was keeping up with the material and ending with preparatory work for the final exam, I was bombarded with a constant stream of information. My classmates were more than helpful, as was Mrs. Califf, who answered all of our questions speedily. Taking an AP exam was a first for me, something I knew was going to be difficult. This class, however, prepared me for the challenge. More than the exam, the class served to break poor study habits and replace them with a firm regimen to get the work done.


Goood =] posted by Felix Van Der Vaart on May 15 2009 at 24:11:05

First off, the course definitely prepared me for the exam. I don't think I could have done half as well had I not have taken this course. Essay topics were easier to respond to and the multiple choice questions were almost always possible to narrow down. About every week, you had to put in 3-4 hours of work, but as long as you spaced it out in sections, it wasn't a problem. Take Notes. That's for sure. Especially readable ones, because you'll want to review them. It was fun writing up political manifestos (or positions we hold) as well as polling people. Before this class, I would have dreaded talking about government but this course really created an interest in going back and looking for more than was needed. Also having the ability to work with other students definitely made the class more enjoyable. I was able to team up with a good friend and the work was much lighter because of the team effort. In order to really take advantage of this class though, you really have to want it. Want to get better and want to score well. I would recommend this to other students, but you'll have to put some work in.


Great course! posted by T Marquis on May 15 2009 at 23:28:55

This year in PA AP gov. has been a great chapter in my life. From learning about the wonders of the founding to the mechanics of the three branches of government, Mrs. Califf led us through with liveliness, enthusiasm, and a warehouse of information that I will use throughout my entire life. Board discussions added that sense of camaraderie that online courses should be all about and political cartoons added humor to the serious nature of the class. Exam prep. was a key focus of the course and when I reached the time for the exam, I felt very prepared. For the weeks and their accompanying work, I would suggest working a minimum of eight hours (however, this was just for me as I had little formal experience with politics before this class and I often did more than the required amount of work in a week. This was also my first AP).

Thanks to all my great classmates and to Mrs. Califf, an inspiration to all political pundits, gurus and future politicians.

Treen Marquis


Take This Class! posted by Rebekah Livermore on May 15 2009 at 20:48:58

Dear Prospective AP US Government Student,

First of all, take this class. =) Iíll explain why further in what is probably going to end up as a really wordy review, but really, you should take it. If youíre interested in learning about the structure of government or debating political topics, then this is a perfect class for you. And so definitely take it. Now as for whyÖ

This course prepared me really well for the exam. I loved the textbook Ė Iíve actually done some research on it and many AP US Gov classes all over the country use this textbook. It definitely covered most of the information we needed to know. Of course, as a textbook, there are parts where itís not the most interesting read around, but I found every chapter pretty enjoyable (sans the one entitled Economic Policy, but I digressÖ)

Generally, the assignments for this course are not overwhelming at all. Youíll have to put time into it, of course, but it wonít take up huge chunks of your day (unless you procrastinate and leave all the work for FridayÖwhich of course, no one in our class ever didÖ=P) I donít know how many hours I put into it a week, but it was probably around 5 hours for the required work in the syllabus. If youíre trying to earn more Standings points or reviewing heavily for the exam, then this number will obviously be higher. But the required work doesnít take too much time. Mostly itís reading a chapter, taking the quiz, writing a relatively short essay, answering discussion questions, and sometimes additional assignments such as designing a poll, or analyzing an article or cartoon. This may sound like a lot, but it really is a very manageable workload and you learn so much.

We also had a couple of group assignments throughout the year. I know a few people in our class did not possess very affectionate feelings towards these assignments, but I actually thought they were really helpful. Sure, if you slack off and let other people do all the work and just add your name to the top, youíre not going to get anything out of it. But if you put time and effort and actually learn the material presented in the projects, itís very fun and enjoyable and the information is very useful (such as the process of passing bills in the Senate or House). These were some of my favorite assignments. I think it is up to the individual to make what they can out of it Ė but if you make the most out of it, you can learn a ton.

I found most of the course assignments were pretty relevant for exam preparation. I really liked the essays we did throughout the year Ė since they are real past essays, theyíre exactly the type of essays the exam will ask you to write, and so all the practice with this was really helpful. Write as many as you can Ė they really do help, not only with improving your essay quality but also with learning information that will definitely show up on the exam! It would have been fun to write a few more in-depth essays on specific topics just to gain more knowledge about government as a whole. But that knowledge isnít really necessary for the exam, so itís not a huge deal. I really loved the Civics Involvement Project. My best advice for this is to pick something to do that you really care about. Do something youíre interested in and passionate about. I did this, and I absolutely loved every minute I spent on this project. Some people might see it as more of a fluff assignment, but I really donít think it is at all. I donít really think the goal of any class should be just to get the work done, get a good class grade, then get a good grade on the exam. Of course, those things are all ideal, but I think classes should make an impact on a personís life. And the Civics Involvement Project really has the potential to do that. If you choose something that will make this project meaningful for you, then you will get so much out of it that will go far beyond getting a good AP test score.

If you take this class, be prepared to deal with people who donít share your political views. Our class had quite a few *ahem* spirited debates at times, but if you use this opportunity to respectfully listen to the other side and present your views, it can be a very educational experience. I wouldnít suggest you take this class if you donít want to put up with other peopleís viewpoints Ė itís a pretty big class and so you are bound to find at least a few people who donít agree with you. And just because the majority of the class might be conservative, for example, doesnít mean everyone will agree on economic issues or foreign policy issues. I came into this class really liberal, and while my views have changed somewhat over the year, there are still many classmates I disagree with on most issues. However, I believe itís really good to have the experience of being around people with other viewpoints, as that is something that will happen all throughout life. And plus, the debating aspect can be very fun. =)

Through this class, Iíve gotten to know several awesome people. To do this requires actually talking to people outside of the class environment (such as onÖsayÖfacebook =P), but the people who take this class are really amazing people. Iíve talked to people from all over the country with many different political views than my own, and gotten to know them beyond what they think about politics. Iíve made a few pretty good friends from this course too, which is really awesome. The people aspect was definitely one of my favorite parts of the course. My classmates were pretty phenomenal.

I could not possibly recommend this course any more than I already do Ė it is amazing and Iím so glad I took it. There were some parts of the year that were difficult Ė the class started out with about six or so liberals, and only two ended up staying in the class due to a lot of the aforementioned spirited debates and such. The people who dropped the course were all my friends and I considered dropping as well. However, Iím immensely glad I didnít. I would take this class again if I could Ė I loved it. Iíve learned so much about government, but so much more beyond that as well. I canít tell you how glad I am I signed up for this class. It was seriously one of the best decisions I made this past school year Ė it ended up being my favorite class! I hope you decide to take it, and that if you do, you get as much out of it as I did. Best wishes for an awesome year in this class!

<3 Rebekah Livermore


AP Government 2009 posted by John Benefiel on May 04 2009 at 19:10:27

End of Year Course Evaluation Please explain your answers where appropriate. I'm eager to use your responses to adjust the course to meet your needs. The more detailed your responses, the better equipped I will be to do that. You must complete and return this evaluation (or submit a personal letter to me about the course via email, or a public review at the following website in order to receive your class final grades: http://pahomeschoolers.com/amgovt/review.htm) Thank you for your help!

Why did you take this course?

For a high school requirement and also to get college credit.

Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

Yes. I enjoyed the subject a lot.

What have you gained from the course this year?

A good general knowledge of the workings of US government.

What are your fondest memories?

Were course objectives clear? (That this was an AP prep class?)

Yes

Were course procedures and assignments understandable? If not, how can I improve on that?

Yes

Which assignments did you like the most? Why? Which assignments did you like the least? Why?

The exercises in general were good concepts, but did not have much practical value in terms of teaching material that helped us understand US government or prepare for the AP test. The same goes for the civic involvement project. It was an excellent concept, but I felt there was not enough structure or relevance to AP government for it to be worthwhile specifically within an AP gov. context. Without any real guidelines of how to proceed, or how to create something to turn in, it didnít serve much academic purpose. That said, it was nice to have an extra incentive to be involved in something of local importance.

Were there any assignments which you would recommend be removed from future syllabi?

Civic Involvement Project (see above)

Were there any ideas you had about assignments that should be added or revised?

I think the games are definitely a good concept. The way Dr. Richman used his games in AP Economics class were excellent. They tied in well with the material and were very in depth in a way that helped us to understand complex ideas within economics. The games we played in AP gov were more abstract, without nearly as much practical value to government. In the games we played everyone merely completed some sort of objective we were given in order to get points. They werenít really ďgamesĒ in such a strict context either.

Was the amount of writing appropriate to the course objectives? Why or why not?

No. We were provided with a lot of AP practice tests, and graded on them accurately. That was extremely helpful. However, I think it would have been useful to include a few actual papers that we would have had to do some sort of research on in relation to AP government.

Has the course inspired you to be more involved in politics, or helped you to understand your own political viewpoints? Why or why not? How will this course impact your future?

No. Entering this class I already had a clear idea of what my socio-economic ideology was.

Did you like the course materials (textbooks, etc.)? Why or why not?

Yes. The textbook included all the necessary information.

Did you like having bonus activities? Why or why not?

Not particularly as they often didnít seem to have

Did you find the ďstandingsĒ and bonus credit helpful and enjoyable?

Did you enjoy discussions?

Yes.

Was your parent or guardian regularly involved in overseeing your work?

No. As a graduating senior I was capable of taking care of all my work independently.

How does this class compare to other AP courses that you have taken?

Although I learned the material, hopefully well enough to score a 4 or 5 on the AP test, I donít feel like I learned as much information in comparison to the other AP class I took through PA Homeschoolers (Macro-economics). Upon completion of that course I felt much more secure in what I had learned, that I had learned all there was to know, and that I couldnít have learned an equal amount from studying on my own or even taking a community college course.

Would you recommend this course to a friend? Why or why not?

For some, the structure, format, and manner in which this class was presented may be ideal. I feel that for myself, taking into consideration where I stand in my entire education, I donít think this class was necessary to prepare for the AP Government exam, which is ultimately the goal for taking an AP class over a regular one.

General Evaluation of the Instructor:

Do you get clear and timely answers to your questions from the instructor?

In general, yes, but often it might take a week or more to receive a response or grading. A few essays I didnít receive a grade on for several weeks. In general though, the class went well in this regard.

Is the instructor fair and respectful?

Yes.

Is the instructor effective in teaching the material?

The instructor really wasnít the primary teacher of the material. That was left up to the students, of course, because of the manner in which the class was taught.

Does the instructor convey enthusiasm and knowledge about the course materials?

For the most part, yes.

What overall rating would you give the instructor and why? Excellent/Good/Average/Poor/Bad

Average

What would you recommend to improve the instructor's performance?

Having finished this course, I felt like I had very minimal contact with Mrs. Califf. Even adding something like being available on AIM or some other form of chat once a week would have really added to Mrs. Califfís presence with regards to the class.

General Course Evaluation

What overall rating would you currently give the course? Excellent/Good/Average/Poor/Bad

Average

What are the major strengths of this course?

see above

What are the major weaknesses of this course?

see above How much time do you generally spend each week on the course?

4-10 hours

How much of that time is spent completing required assignments?

Two thirds or more.

How much of that time is spent socializing with classmates or taking part in optional aspects of the course, such as the discussions and study buddy?

One fifth or less.

Do I have your permission to share your review, in whole or in part, using your name, on the public review page of the course?

Yes.


AP US Govt & Politics posted by Melanie Bertotto on May 21 2008 at 16:39:13

Perspective students,

I took this course in order to better understand the structure of the United States government. Having always been interested in politics Mrs. Califfís class opened my mind to new opinions and ideas. The course load was reasonable and we were given sufficient time to complete all assignments. Weekly essays, though not required, were a beneficial practice tool for the final AP exam and I recommend them. Discussion questions initiated class wide debate on all subject matter which I enjoyed. Mrs. Califf was involved and always available to answer questions and clarify information. This was my first AP course and I am glad I chose US Govít & Politics because it deepened my interest in the political process and gave me a thorough understanding of the US government.


AP U.S. Govt. & Politics review posted by Robert Peele on May 20 2008 at 13:20:13

This class provided a solid knowledge base on US Government. Although there were occasional problems with quizzes appearing out of order, they were promptly resolved and the questions on the quizzes were very helpful in preparing for the multiple-choice section on the final exam. I reccomend doing the essays each week, as they take only 25 minutes to write and another 5 minutes to type up for submission, and offer an understanding of what types of questions will appear on the real test, and what kind of knowledge is important. The discussions on the online forum were fascinating and often presented opportunities for further study.

Overall I enjoyed the class and feel that it prepared me for the AP test excellently.


Great Class! posted by Michelle Nance on May 19 2008 at 22:16:47

Dear Prospective AP US Government Student,

I hope you take this course! I have learned so much this year and feel that every high school student should have the level of political knowledge taught in this class. I will now continue this letter by specifically answering the questions Mrs. Califf has given us to answer:

Why did you take the course? As I researched colleges in the summer before my senior year in high school, I realized that a potential college required students to take a government class. That initially led me to this course, as well as the wonderful experience I had the year before taking a Pennsylvania Homeschooler AP English Language class by Mrs. Catherine Dawgert (she no longer offers the class). I have always loved government and politics anyway, so I was very excited about this course.

Did you enjoy the course? Yes, I did. I particularly enjoyed the assignments where we interacted with fellow students.

What have you gained from the year? Before this course, I had a vague knowledge of the American government, even though I loved politics. This class has enabled me to better understand what I watch on the news and read in political magazines and newspapers.

Which assignments did you like the least? Why? I canít think of any assignments I particularly did not enjoy, but I would have appreciated more group projects. I think one of the benefits of online education is making friends from different areas and backgrounds and learning from them. Working collaboratively on activities has always helped me delve more deeply into the subject matter.

Was the amount of writing appropriate to the course objectives? Definitely! Because the AP US Gov. exam contains four essays, I am glad Mrs. Califf made it such an integral part of the class. However, I would recommend to you that you take advantage of all the essays Mrs. Califf sends you. I only wrote the minimum number of essays, and I feel that I would have been better prepared had I written more.

Did you find the "standings" and bonus credit activities helpful and enjoyable? Yes! I tend to be competitive, so having the standings and bonus credit opportunities kept me motivated!

Was your parent or guardian regularly involved in overseeing your work? No. I complete almost all my schoolwork independently. However, I donít think anyone really needs to have a parent involved, because the coursework is explanatory and Mrs. Califf is available for questions and helps.

So overall, I have enjoyed this class and, if you take it, I hope you love it as well!!

Sincerely,

Michelle


I would recommend this course! posted by Lauren Sturdy on August 07 2007 at 20:06:12

Why did you take this course? Because I wanted to study American Government in depth

Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not? In general yes, I did. I was intrigued by learning all sorts of things about government that I had not know or thought about. I particularly liked how the course made me form opinions on political issues that I had not considered and challenged me to re-think those that I had in light of more detailed information about how the government works.

What have you gained from the course this year? A greater respect for all of the complicated forces pushing policy in different directions!

Were course objectives clear? (That this was an AP prep class?) Yes, both the subject and the purpose of the class was clear.

Were course procedures and assignments understandable? If not, how can I improve on that? The course procedures were clearly laid out at the beginning of the class and conveniently posted for reference. The assignments were understandable, and those that happened to be confusing I think were all addressed with further clarification at the beginning of the week they were assigned.

Which assignments did you like the most? Why? My favorite assignments were the cartoons. I enjoyed looking for them and choosing amongst them, and then spending time really looking at the cartoon to try to understand their nuances.

Which assignments did you like the least? Why? I am afraid that I canít be much help here. I didnít particularly have a least favorite assignment. I thought that some of the extra credit work, like finding the statistics, was busy work, but since it was extra-credit, it was also optional. But I did find many of the statistics interesting, so it was not all busy work.

Was the amount of writing appropriate to the course objectives? Why or why not? The amount of writing seemed to be generally appropriate to the course objectives. I think, though, that being required to write more than 10 essays would have been helpful, especially at the end of the year as the exam loomed closer. I did not do most of the essays at the end of the year because I had done my ten and was cramped for time, and so did not work hard to find time for them because they were optional, even though they were short.

Has the course inspired you to be more involved in politics, or helped you to understand your own political viewpoints? Why or why not? Yes, this course has done both. By learning more about the details of how the government works and what influences it, I was encouraged to rethink policies that I believe would be good and also to consider becoming more involved to change many of the policies in place today.

Did you like the course materials (textbooks, etc.)? Why or why not? In general I liked the course materials, although occasionally I found myself wondering if the textbook had a point that it was trying to make, such as in the chapter on elections when it worked so adamantly to show why apathy was not the reason for low-voter turnout. I liked the fact, though, that the textbook seemed to come in general from a more conservative view-point.

Did you like having bonus activities? Why or why not? I liked having bonus activities. For one, I found many of them helpful and getting some credit for them gave me some incentive to do them.

Did you find the ďstandingsĒ and bonus credit helpful and enjoyable? I think that having bonus credit is both helpful and enjoyable. It prompted me to do the review quizzes and to do some other activities to try to get points.

Did you enjoy discussions? I enjoyed the discussions, although I did not participate in all of them. The questions that you posted were thought provoking, and they also led to many different tangents!

Was your parent or guardian regularly involved in overseeing your work? Not really. I was in charge of keeping track of assignments and turning them in. Although my mother would sometimes ask how the class was going, she never checked the assignments. How does this class compare to other AP courses that you have taken? In my opinion this class provided a good balance between covering the AP material and preparing for the exam and learning the material for its own sake. I did not feel that the sole purpose of the class was to score well on the AP exam, but rather to learn about government. The class was easier than the other AP classes that I have taken, but it prepared me well for the exam, which many have not.

Would you recommend this course to a friend? Why or why not? I would. The course covered the material for the exam and provided a forum for discussions that I found very interesting. I was challenged by the material in the course.

General Evaluation of the Instructor:

Do you get clear and timely answers to your questions from the instructor? Most of the time.

Is the instructor fair and respectful? Yes

Is the instructor effective in teaching the material? Yes. Although there was not any direct teaching, the assignments did help to flesh out and cement the information in the textbook and all questions that I had were answered.

Does the instructor convey enthusiasm and knowledge about the course materials? Yes, although there were a number of quiz questions that needed to be corrected through the year.

What overall rating would you give the instructor and why? Excellent


Excellent course posted by Ian Sturdy on July 05 2007 at 11:10:54

This course was not entirely satisfying on account of how broad a subject government is, and thus how lightly any one course can cover it, but within the limitations of any school course it covered the material well and did an excellent job of preparing me for the AP exam.

I actually spent somewhat less time than is noted in the course description--probably 1-1.5 hours a day.

I particularly liked the term paper--it really got me to think about the issue (in my case, the electoral college) and, in the research for the paper, my opinion actually changed.

I recommend this course to all students, including those not planning to study government in college. It does an excellent job of framing political issues, and the background on politics that it provides did help me to understand better much of what is happening in politics and government now.


I Am So Excited That You Will be Taking This Class posted by Rebecca Duberstein on May 07 2007 at 01:51:25

Dear Future Student of American Government,

Don't be intimidated if you don't know much about government. At the beginning of this class, almost the only things I knew about the United State's government was that it has three branches and that a presidential term lasted for four years. This class presented an understandable, systematic survey of our government and I cannot believe how much my knowledge of our government has increased in just one year! If you have never studied government before, you may be surprised to discover that it is truly fascinating. You will receive an introduction to government theory, structure, the three branches, current controversial issues, and so much more. You will probably also grow in gratitude for the amazing priviledges and advantages that we enjoy.

I am so glad that I have the opportunity to write this letter to you because I want to help you avoid a few mistakes that I made. First, I didn't know what the WWW Board was, so, for the first two or three months, I didn't participate on it. I deeply regret this. The Government Board is a wonderful place to discuss current events and be exposed to the opinions of your fellow classmates. I want to encourage you to invest some time in discussing the articles or questions that Mrs. Califf posts. This is a great opportunity for you to apply the information that you are reading in your textbook or go deeper into a government-related issue.

Second, take as many timed essays as possible. I don't enjoy taking timed essay tests. Therefore, I only took the minimum amount of essay tests required of me. This was a definite mistake. Writing essays forces you to process the information you learn each week in a completely different way and it allows you to practice for the four essays on the government exam. I would have been much stronger in my understand of our government and my readiness for the exam if I had pushed myself harder to do essay tests.

I am so excited that you will be taking this class! One reason for this is that Mrs. Califf is an excellent teacher. She is very accessible and is eager to answer questions and she is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of government. I'm glad that you will be able to take this class from her.

I am also excited that you will be taking this class because it is so important for you to understand the way our government works in order for you to make the wisest, and most effective use of your position in this society. As a result of this class, I have changed from someone who knew almost nothing about government to someone who is considering a major in political science. I hope you enjoy this class as much as I did! Have a wonderful year!

Sincerely,

Rebecca D.


Mark Huggins May 14 2004 at 08:24:22

hi mrs. califf,

I appreciate all you did in the class; regardless of how I do on the test, I learned a TON and really enjoyed taking the class.

Thanks a lot,

Mark


by Sean Smith, May 24 2005 at 14:18:12

I took this years AP U.S. Government and Politics course and I thought it was very well taught. Thanks to the class, my interest in politics has really increased.

I had never really payed attention to politics or government before, but thanks to this course I became interested in politics. I have never really followed an election closely before, but because of this course I really followed the 2004 presidential election. I watched every debate and even did research on the candidates.

On top of increasing my interest in politics, the assignments and books we read prepared me very well for the AP test. Every few weeks we had to write a 25 minute essay, and I thought this really prepared me well for the essay section of the test. Thanks to the essays we wrote in class, I learned how to manage my time well on the essay section of the test.

We also had a "Practice AP Test" near the end of the year. I think this really helped me alot when I took the actual test, because until I took the practice test I really wasn't exactly sure of what to expect.

Thank you very much for teaching the class Mrs. Califf! It was well taught and I feel it more than prepared me for the test.

Sean Smith


Class review by David Walker, June 02 2005 at 14:05:07

Written by David Walker (student) in response to an evaluation questionnaire.

ē Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes. I donít have a grade for it yet, so I canít know for sure. But I did feel prepared.

ē How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

10-12 But I spent way more time or option discussions than I had to, so you could probably cut off 2-3 of that.

ē Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? The timed essays were most helpful for preparing me for the test since I had only done that before once.

ē Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Well, no. But my interest in the subject was already quite high. Still you probably should have an interest in the subject before you start, or at least be able to discipline yourself to excel in a subject you dislike. Personally I canít.

ē Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Um, not really. With a few notable exceptions, I found class discussion to be quite pathetic. Still that could well change next year with a new student group.

ē What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

Well, other than students should be interested in taking in US AP govít class Iíve nothing really to recommend. I see nothing that really would recommend one ďpersonality typeĒ over any other, but Iím no psychologist.


AP Government Review by Ian Jeffries, July 12 2005 at 16:52:32

My name is Ian Jeffries, and I took Mrs. Califf's AP US Government class in 2004-05.

I enjoyed the class, and gained an understanding of the US government. I also felt very well prepared for the exam.

It was alot of work, and you have to actively work on assignments and things you don't understand.

Mrs. Califf did a great job, and this class is highly recommended.