Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

My favorite assignment in AP Psychology would definitely be the research project. We had to design our own scientific study to investigate some aspect of psychology and create, carry out, gather data, and write a scientific report about it.

AP Class Reviews

AP Comparative Government taught by Julia Reed

by Students and Parents

Amazing course! posted by Ishaan Singh on May 30 2020 at 20:49:17

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

I felt prepared for the AP exam! Even though the exam was shortened this year (and was in a new format), I still felt pretty prepared all round as I felt that I had all the knowledge I needed for the course. The area I felt strongest on was probably the quantitative analysis. I don't think I necessarily felt weak in any area, because the class had prepared me really well to be able to address anything and everything that the exam threw at us. I really enjoyed the review sessions at the end of the year and the 6 weeks we had dedicated to review, which gave me the time I needed to refresh my knowledge on all the courses.

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

I usually worked about 1-2 hours every day, so about 6-10 hours a week depending on how many videos and documentaries we had to watch. the course load is definitely super manageable if you're willing to space it out over the week.

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

I really enjoyed the class meetings every week. Mrs. Reed was able to discuss many of the important course concepts with us and helped us to solidify everything that we needed to know for the course. I especially loved our discussion of current events happening in each of our countries and the supplemental materials that Mrs Reed brought. Getting to talk with and learn from Ambassador Craig was SO FUN! that experience was surreal.

I really enjoyed my work with the Nigerian embassy. We learned so much through that group, and I really enjoyed dissecting a country that is less studied today compared to other western countries. I was really able to gain a much deeper understanding of Nigeria as a whole through the yearlong project. Also, reading other embassies' work helped me review for the exam as well. I loved our presentations throughout the year on Nigeria.

I also really enjoyed all the Mary McConnell videos and the Inside China documentaries...and pretty much all the supplemental videos that we had throughout the year, such as the "War of the Worlds" Lecture by Niall Ferguson.

Also, the essay comparing the UK and Russia was really exciting as well, as it helped me to solidify everything that I had learned about those two countries.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

The course definitely enhanced my interest in political science! I learned more both about countries that usually are not discussed in the news (such as Nigeria) and countries that are discussed but oftentimes don't shed light on what really occurs under the surface (such as China and Russia). I hope to study political science in some form at university.

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

Definitely! The class group chat was very lively, and our weekly discussions in Mrs. Reed's class also were very valuable.

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!)?

A student who is willing and able to put time in every day for this course would succeed.


I'd just like to acknowledge what a great teacher Mrs. Reed is. I've had her both for US Government last year and comparative government this year, and I can tell you that she is a fantastic teacher that truly cares for her students and wants them to succeed. Mrs. Reed knows SO MUCH about politics and government structures around the world, and you can gain from this if you attend her weekly lectures. Additionally, she is an incredibly fair and open-minded teacher in the sense that she does not let her political beliefs get in the way of what she teaches: conservative, moderate, and liberal students alike can all succeed and thrive in this course because Mrs. Reed balances the material and ensures that all students feel included...this is a refreshing change from the polarized political environment that we have come to live with in our day-to-day lives. I highly recommend Mrs. Reed not only because her knowledge on the subject is unparalleled but also because she remains politically neutral with all of her students.


2019-20 posted by Sarah Jacobs on May 27 2020 at 14:13:23

My class experience was great! My classmates and my teacher were all amazing, and I really felt like my questions could be answered and my support team was always there to assist me. I was really fortunate to be part of such an amazing class, and though it was challeging at times, it is so worth it. The knowledge I have gained from this class has amazed my family and friends, and this class has sparked in me the passion to keep up with today's international news. I feel more interconnected with the world. 

2019-20 posted by Sarah Fox on May 27 2020 at 14:10:20

How was your overall class experience?  Please provide your thoughts overall.

I have to admit I was apprehensive entering this class. I thought that I would enjoy some sort of government class, but I wanted to try one out, and I wasn't sure about the work load. What I found was that the work load of the class wasn't too difficult. While I definitely could have spent more time on the class just for my own further enrichment (and I would recommend anyone to spend as much time as they can,) it didn't take a crazy amount of time to finish the homework, and finish it well. All that said, I loved this class. Not only was it a fantastic preparation for the AP (even the sudden new online format,) but it was a fascinating class in general. I never realized how interesting studying the government structures, histories, civil societies, etc. of countries across the world could be! I am so glad I took this class, and cannot recommend it enough! It has been interesting, prepped me well for the exam, and has even helped in my other academics such as debate.

Did you feel prepared for the AP exam?  What areas did you feel strongest?  Weakest? 
Your Answer:

After taking the exam, I feel that this class prepared me well for it. The numerous practice exams and practices in class were very helpful at making me feel completely calm going in, because I knew what was expected.  Overall I definitely felt the strongest in the broad concepts of the course. I think my weakest point were the individual case specific details. That is not necessarily a result of the course itself, but just my own studying.

AP Comparative Government Review posted by Ilinca Drondoe on May 26 2020 at 15:47:30

I think that this class was wonderful, especially given that I hope to study international relations in the future. I genuinely liked the textbooks, the discussions, and the embassy group projects (in which we were split into embassies representing our different course countries.) Given that we only began orienting our class work towards exam preparation close to May, I felt the need to do extra studying on my own through prep books, videos, and additional resources. I would have liked to have more AP prep integrated throughout the year - I think that would have helped me feel even more ready and confident in my ability to apply my knowledge in the context of the test. Regardless, I think I did well on the exam and was ready to tackle the free response questions. 

I enjoyed the live class time, especially the parts spent on exam prep and embassy presentations! The group projects were a lot of fun, and my favorite part of the live class time was when we were sharing our findings with each other and delving into individual countries. I found the classes focused on reviewing power-points on the textbook chapters to be my least favorite, given that I had already read those chapters. I would have preferred having that class time focused on interactive discussions or supplementary materials instead. I also found that some of the classes went a little off topic. Although I enjoyed the discussions on global and domestic issues outside of the AP curriculum, they did detract from time spent gearing up for the exam.

I genuinely enjoyed the reading from the textbooks and know I will refer to them again because they were both captivating and fun to read! The case studies included were fascinating and very helpful. Additionally, videos and outside material were great facets of the class work! I enjoyed many of the documentaries and extra articles, especially the ones on Boko Haram and Vladimir Putin. However, I found some to be leaning towards a conservative viewpoint and coming from a Western perspective.

One of my favorite aspects of the class was the community between the students. I've made genuine friends through this class and it was a supportive environment.




Great class! posted by Spencer Min on May 25 2020 at 23:46:23

As a debater and someone who has been interested in government and politics, I thought that this was a very interesting course to take. Although it was hard at first to get used to all the new terminology and forms of government, the course gave me a great framework for understanding foreign countries, governments, and culture. On average, I spent about 45 minutes a day and worked 5 days a week on the coursework. 

Any course can have interesting material but it's a teacher that really brings a subject to life. Mrs. Reed does a fantastic job of bringing this class to life! Mrs. Reed strikes a great balance between excellent teaching and having fun. 

It's also very unique to take this course in an online setting because you're able to interact with kids from all around the world. This adds very unique perspectives to discussions! 

AP Comparative Politics and Government posted by Sarah Jacobs on May 24 2020 at 18:07:30

Excellent and Entertaining course posted by Wade K on May 24 2020 at 06:34:16

I thought that Comparative Government and Politics was a fabulous course. I learned so much about political institutions from around the world, which prepared me well for the AP exam. More importantly, perhaps, I learned how to think about political issues with an open mind, how to really analyze a situation and form my own opinion. Not only did I learn about politics, I also thoroughly enjoyed the class. The videos that we watched about specific topics were fascinating, and class discussions were helpful and interesting. Class times were helpful and fun; Mrs. Reed is such a great, smart, entertaining teacher. I'm really looking forward to further political study, and I think that even students who do not want to study politics should take this course because it provides a foundation for a balanced view of the political issues that surround us. 

INCREDIBLE AP Comp Gov Course! posted by Kaeleigh D on August 21 2019 at 15:25:01

AP Comparative Government was the second amazing class I took with Mrs. Reed! After finishing AP U.S. Government last year, I knew right away that I wanted to spend another year studying under her. After starting her classes, I soon realized that what she was trying to teach us was so much more than just facts to memorize for the AP exam. Mrs. Reed’s classes helped me appreciate our country, its government, and why it is so special, as well as how other governments are unique and why we should want to learn about them. I can truly say that I enjoyed this year just like I did last year, and I only wish there existed another AP government course that Mrs. Reed could teach. Most of the time, it didn’t even feel like I was doing schoolwork because I enjoyed it so much. This upcoming school year will be the second year that I am going to TA for Mrs. Reed in AP U.S. Government and Politics, and I have continually enjoyed helping others learn what I was so blessed to be able to learn. If you are considering taking this class or AP U.S. Government and Politics, DON’T PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY! You will not regret taking this course! I know that I will carry with me what I have learned over the last two years for the rest of my life, and I am so grateful that I was able to take these classes.

I cannot stress enough how much Mrs. Reed prepared us for the AP exam. I was able to walk into the exam confidently, and I cannot recall anything on the test that was foreign to me.  

I think I generally put in between 5 to 10 hours a week, more during weeks approaching the AP exam.

I don’t think I can pick a favorite assignment, because I loved so many of them, but I really enjoyed learning about Russia.

This course ABSOLUTLY enhanced my interest in government and politics. I didn’t think I could be any more interested in government and politics than I was after I finished my first year of U.S. Government, but I am. I seem to always be talking about Vladimir Putin and driving my family crazy with random facts about Russia. :)

I always found my communication with other students to be valuable, and some students lived in different countries which made it very interesting to learn about their experiences.

If you are a student who is willing to work hard and put in the time, this class is for you! None of the work is too overwhelming, and I always found the assignments very reasonable. I hope you will decide to take this class! Trust me, it is well worth all the time and effort you will put into it!

2018-19 posted by Claire Snyder on May 22 2019 at 09:37:28

Honestly, this class was not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be pretty easy, and that we would just look at countries. Although it was harder, and the country comparisons were tough, the class was super interesting and broadened my understandings of politics, economics, and regimes types. Without taking this class, with this teacher, I would not feel as confident about the AP Exam, and I wouldn't have enjoyed the class as much. I am super thankful to Mrs. Reed for dealing with my frequent emails, and for her help when I didn't understand! Even though this year was a tough time for her and her family, she still put in a lot of work to keep the class going! Thank you so much, Mrs. Reed!!

2018-19 posted by Hope Rawlson on May 22 2019 at 09:36:32

Overall, the class was my favorite that I have ever taken! I learned more in this class than I have in any other class I've done in high school. You are such an engaging teacher and it is clear that you really care about the class and love teaching this information. The only challenge for me was that because I do a lot of speech and debate and I travel a ton during the school year, I fell behind quite often. Because the workload was pretty heavy most weeks I ended up having to cram a lot of homework into short periods of times which I think harmed my ability to learn the information in the long-run. However, that's not really a problem with the class, just a scheduling problem of my own! It was extremely helpful that I was able to submit homework late and ask for extensions. In speech and debate, my favorite category is Extemporaneous where they give you a topic on current events, you prep for 30 minutes, and then you deliver a speech, and this year I have been able to do better in Extemp than I ever have, or ever thought I would have, and I credit that entirely to this class! In almost every speech I used some type of information or understanding of governments that I learned from Comparative Politics. So, not only have I learned a lot in the class but it has been so useful for me already! 

2018-19 posted by Asuncion Martinez on May 22 2019 at 09:35:29

It was great, Ms. Reed was a great teacher who provided outstanding resources. The class itself was very hard for me, as I have never done much or studied much of other countries or their governments. However, I did learn a lot, and I believe it will be very helpful in future studies.

2018-19 posted by Joshua Hendershot on May 22 2019 at 09:34:16

Overall, the class was okay. I would like to have had more communication and clarity, especially about what exactly is required for individual assignments. For example, it is not clear that you require students to comment on other replies for every discussion board assignment. Once, I did not comment on another student's reply because the assignment did not explicitly say to.  I lost two points on that assignment. Please make it clear exactly what is expected for each assignment.

2018-19 posted by Erin Guerzloe on May 22 2019 at 09:33:08

I really enjoyed this class!  I came into the class already loving current events, and this class has made me much more well informed about the rest of the world.  I think that the textbooks, class times, and assignments were great overall.  The only thing I might make changes to is the Embassy set-up.  Our Embassy ended up dropping to only three people by the end of the year, and only two of us usually contributed to group work and presentations.  I don't know if there might be any way to make that more accountable, or to make sure everyone is actively involved in Embassy work?  I think the concept is great, and it was a lot of fun to do those projects- I just wish we had had a bit more collaboration with our other members.

2018-19 posted by Grace Lannigan on May 22 2019 at 09:31:55

My overall class experience was positive. Mrs. Reed taught us a wealth of information in a systematic and informative way. The two textbooks that we used were essential to understanding the extensive amount of information in AP Comparative Government and Politics. One of my favorite parts of the class was working with my embassy. Working in a group gave me the opportunity to present on multiple occasions and it also taught me to manage my time and energy to effectively contribute to all of the group projects. This was my first AP class, and my experience was very positive. 

2018-19 posted by Ross Van Farowe on May 22 2019 at 09:31:02

I think the class this year was great.   I am very appreciative of the thorough lectures, access to a number of great resources, and the wealth of knowledge I gained from this class.  My only suggestions for what I would improve would be to try to be able to have more  outside guest speakers and to perhaps make the content more narrowly focused to what is covered on the AP Comparative Government course outline (i.e. some terms and countries focused on were not topics mentioned in the AP Comp Gov course outline). 

2018-19 posted by Kaeleigh Dicello on May 22 2019 at 09:30:04

I love this class! I enjoyed the assignments and the class interactions. I loved learning about our different countries and how they are similar and different from one another. I talk about Russia more than I ever did and now keep a close eye on what Vladimir Putin is up to ;) 

2018-19 posted by August Herkamp on May 22 2019 at 09:29:04

I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It was organized well and the assignments were just hard enough to make us think without being overwhelming. The variety of assignments combated any boredom that one might experience in other classes as well. I would recommend this class to all who want to enjoy Comparative Politics.

2018-19 posted by Thomas Anderson on May 22 2019 at 09:27:35

I really enjoyed this class--especially the interactive embassy groups which made answering discussion questions interesting (you have to answer some questions from the point of view of your embassy--as a member of the Chinese embassy, my personal opinions didn't align with much of China's, which made for thought-provoking discussions).

2018-19 posted by Thomas Anderson on May 22 2019 at 09:27:01

I really enjoyed this class--especially the interactive embassy groups which made answering discussion questions interesting (you have to answer some questions from the point of view of your embassy--as a member of the Chinese embassy, my personal opinions didn't align with much of China's, which made for thought-provoking discussions).

posted by Ainsley Fox on June 07 2018 at 21:56:16

I would describe my overall class experience as wonderful. The lectures, materials, and activities(including embassy projects) were extremely helpful and intriguing. I am personally interested in politics and international affairs so I found this class to be fascinating and very eye opening. I would highly recommend this class to anyone interested in world politics or just anyone who appreciates learning other cultures. 

Suggestion: I was thinking it might be cool if the all the embassies were given a topic/world conflict that they could display their countries views on and comment on other countries views(kind of like a debate, minus the arguing) during the live class. I think that might be a cool way to use the embassies and it would be like the discussion threads, but live.  


I felt prepared for the AP exam. I felt strongest in the FRQ answers and the MCQ questions that focused on specific terminology and questions asking about regime type or cleavages of the countries studied.  The parts where I felt weaker were compare and contrast questions and questions asking about impacts of a conflict or decision. The time constraints also crept up on me in the MCQ portion and I had to rush to finish the last few questions. 

posted by Mary Claire Eyre on June 07 2018 at 21:54:33

My overall class experience was amazing! I had pretty much no background in politics and government, and this class taught me so much. I love how this class emphasized live class time and collaborating with other students. It helped me to be more involved in the learning process. I felt like almost all of the people in this class were serious about their schoolwork and Ms. Reed is a fabulous teacher.


I did feel very prepared for the AP exam, especially for the FRQ section of the test. I did not feel as strong on the MCQ section, largely because there are almost no released MCQ questions from this particular test. However, I still felt prepared for this section of the test.

Regarding the material, I felt very strong in my knowledge of the institutions within each country and in my knowledge general political terms. The most difficult thing for me was remembering specific policies that countries used to solve issues in their governments.

posted by Lucy Eyre on June 07 2018 at 21:53:15

I really enjoyed this class! Comparative Politics is such an interesting subject. The videos, textbooks, live classes, and tests helped me learn the material really well! I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to take an interesting AP class and feel prepared for the exam! You are an amazing teacher who really cares about her students!


Class Review posted by Denis Coleman on June 07 2018 at 21:49:59

It was excellent. I learnt so much, it was so interesting and always enjoyable, and I look forward to more similar classes in the future.


During the exam I felt prepared, as the course had given me all the knowledge that I needed. However, before the exam, I had virtually no idea what it would look like, having never taken an American exam, and so was quite unprepared for how to answer the Multiple Choice in the bubbles. Of course, everything relating to the content of the exam I felt well prepared for, it was only the act of completing the exam which I was unsure about.

posted by Aditya Sivakumar on June 07 2018 at 21:48:10

Overall, I think this was a great course. It broadened my mind in terms of understanding the different political systems around the world and the issues and challenges we face today.

Class review for AP Comp G&P posted by Fara Ling on May 23 2018 at 05:59:56

AP Comparative Govt and Politics is a good choice for an introductory AP. It doesn’t require the level of analysis of AP Lang and Lit. It is, however, much more memory-work heavy. I found the course material fascinating – it’s given me a lens to understand my own country (Malaysia) and others more holistically from a political standpoint.

I spent 2 hours 3 days a week on this class. The Drogus and Orvis textbook is an excellent textbook that covers and goes beyond material tested in the AP exam. Thorough introduction to comparative politics. The version we used doesn't have the most recent information on its eight countries, though, so independently researching current news probably provides a more holistic presentation of the countries' policy continuity. This book is more principle-focused than country-focused, though, so I depended almost exclusively on Ethel Wood's book for country studies. Keeping up to date with current events will help you in the AP exam, but you can still earn a high 5 knowing only a handful of significant country-specific examples (of pollution, corruption, population policies, protests, etc).Ethel Wood's textbook provides an overview of the concepts and then goes straight into country studies. Again, this book was published in 2015 or so, but it included sufficient important specific examples of social movements, corruption, environmental/population, etc policy to for us to use in the exam. This was my "go to" book for reviewing the six countries. I also used Barrons’ in review – that compliments material covered in Ethel Wood (would highly recommend Barrons’ for practice tests!).

I'd have liked live classes to be more discussive. It might also be useful if they could covered material that our textbooks didn’t. I'd have liked more interaction with my classmates -- e.g. more lively discussions and debates. 

I feel that the class could also benefit from studying the six countries in greater depth. This class definitely gave me a sound overview of the countries, but a deeper look at specific movements, problems, and policies in the six would have made preparation for the exam easier. What I really liked about this class, however, is that we covered concepts of comparative politics that go beyond what the AP exam tests (thanks, Drogus and Orvis!).

Related to my last comment about studying the countries in greater depth, I think emphasizing more (specific) problems and policies (population, environment, migration, protests) would help. I noticed from doing past FRQs that the CollegeBoard tests students' knowledge of policy frequently. That was an area I had to work on. Personally, I would have liked exam prep to start earlier in the year, but I was able to start earlier anyway with CollegeBoard resources. 

I felt strongest in the concepts of comparative politics -- defining legitimacy, cleavage, sovereignty, etc. When I first started doing FRQs, I had some trouble recalling the structure of political institutions (in the countries) and good examples that I could use. Studying government structures and political institutions, in addition to Ethel Wood's case studies, helped. My advice to future students: start revising course material and completing CollegeBoard FRQs a few months in advance. I found this course required a fair bit of memory work – you’ll be able to remember material much better if you start small but early. Take the initiative and you'll be fine :). 

Timing during the exam was not an issue at all -- I finished in an hour and spent the remaining minutes checking through my FRQs (and even re-reading my longest paragraph backwards). 

posted by Mariposa Casida on May 20 2018 at 18:38:43

The Class is very good exam preparation. Mrs. Reed works in the indset of the exam throughout the whole year going over the same material over and over and OVER!! until it becomes a rote automatism (and a bit boring) in the textbook, in class, in discussions etc.  She prepares you very well for the exam by studying passed ones, as well as statistics, so you know exactly what game you are playing on exam day.

What you will learn about the 6 case study countries is very interesting. The first time you read it it is enlightening and I liked it a lot, but the second time you find yourself wishing there were more details/meat on the bones. Most of the things studied in the class are very superficial, and just about the same level as the exam. Most "AP" things I have done (as self study) have been at a much higher level than the exam. One thing that does help with this though is that Mrs. Reed does provide articles and documentaries about certain issues which give a sense at least of the rhetoric/discussion surounding them. I just wish there had been significantly more of these compared to repetition of trivial material.

Embassy assignments (students are assigned in groups to embassies and present things from the assigned country's point of view) are nice in theory, but in reality the directions are a little lacking so we aren't always sure ectly what to do. Also group organization, at leats in my embassy was terrible. In the begginning of the year it was OK, but in the end of the year if I wanted anything to happen I had to practically do the group assignment myself.

Overall the class was not as interesting as I had expected, but that was OK because it also took a lot less time than expected. I took longer to read textbook chapters than Mrs. Reed estimated, but total to do the assignments, for most of the year it was very quick. I would often just type something on my phone while on the bus or whatever, so it's not a major time commitment/constraint. I worried a lot in the beginning of the year that I didn't have either the resources or the time to do the writing assignments to my satisfaction, but when I realized that I was getting full credit anyho and an overall grade of over 99% in the first semester, I realized that Mrs Reed isn't looking for something really good, just for you to produce something. Once I reconciled myself to spouting a lot of crap, whatever came to mind first without thinking it was fine.

I would recommend the course for someone who wants to do an AP class, maybe if it's their first one, but doesn't want to put much time or effort into it but still get a good grade. Just be ready to come at it with that attitude or you'll be disappointed.

A fantastic AP class! posted by Christopher Kuo on May 17 2018 at 21:08:15

I felt like this course prepared me extremely well for the exam.  Mrs. Reed does a great job of reinforcing the textbook content with Youtube videos, discussions, lectures, and so on.  At the end of the year, she also has us do review sessions, study the released FRQs, and many other things.  All of this contributed to making me feel very comfortable on exam day.  

I probably put in 8-10 hours of work per week.  I especially enjoyed doing the embassy assignments, in which we divided into groups and represented particular countries.  We also did presentations on these countries in class, which really helped me remember specific aspects of each country.  

This course has made me want to be a poitical science major and to continue studying comparative poliics in college.  I would recommend this class to a student who is interested in current events and international affairs.  Also, the textbook reading can be dense and long, so be prepared for a lot of reading (less writing).  Overall, a wonderful class!

posted by Dave Vriend on May 15 2017 at 06:33:23

The course prepared me well for the AP exam. Mrs. Reed made a constant effort to give us new mediums to learn through, and has an extremely well thought out and comprehnsive curriculum.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Ethan Wong on May 31 2016 at 10:53:09

I felt my overall class experience was excellent, as I really learned a lot from the course, and Mrs. Reed was willing to help us when we struggled with certain parts of the course material.


Test Readiness: I felt that I was most confident in supranational organizations and Mexico, Britain and China, while not so confident in civil society and Iran.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Matthew Tan on May 31 2016 at 10:51:16

Overall, I liked this class a lot. It prepared me well for the exam, and also gave me a lot of extra knowledge that made the class interesting. I had great classmates that had a high level of knowledge and that added to discussions and class.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Raymond Stunkel on May 31 2016 at 10:50:25

The overall class experience was great. The teacher was very good and provided her students with great articles to read (one of which actually ended up helping me in my competitive debating which was cool) and videos to watch and was very helpful. The assignments were suitably challenging and the overall atmosphere of the class was great.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Eden Rea-Hedrick on May 31 2016 at 10:48:02

Overall, my class experience was very engaging and informative.  My greatest frustration was with the embassy assignments.  I often felt that embassies were provided insufficient direction in their work and I found my particular embassy not very inclined to participate (we had one member who did nothing whatsoever to help all year.)  Except for this, I felt that the overall class experience was positive.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Joshua McKinnis on May 31 2016 at 10:46:13

The class experience impressed me. I haven't taken many AP classes, but this one seemed like an actual college course, with assignments due every week and large chapters to read. The whole class was professionally handled, and Mrs. Reed was ready and able to both answer any question and suggest further and relevant material. This was definitely an AP-level class.


Test Readiness:  I wasn't sure how prepared I would be until I got there. The MC section, however, seemed easy after the harder and more specific Ethel Wood questions, and the events and topics covered in class and the videos helped me answer the FRQs. I felt weakest in knowing how much to write in the FRQs, whether I should just give an answer or explain in detail.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Joel Desmarais on May 31 2016 at 10:43:11

Overall I was very satisfied with the class. We covered all the main material, but also explored some current events and other topics that enriched the experience. AP exam prep was good, I'm glad we did the practice tests, both on our own and in class. I kind of wish there were a few more embassy assignments, I really enjoyed the homework where we had to write embassy statements for our countries, it made me think in terms of the political attitudes of the country, and definitely lead me to understand it more.

2015-16 Comparative Politics posted by Davis Cousar on May 31 2016 at 10:41:47

This class was really fantastic. It helped me learn so much about world politics, and being to view the world through the comparative framework is something that has already brought me great benefit just in reading news articles and keeping up with current events. I also learned so much about the current events and political systems in countries are major political actors today. My favorite country was probably either Russia, Iran, or China. One of my favorite assignments was being placed in embassies. That helped me to see the world through a different set of eyes, and it was really fun as well. 

Mrs. Reed was an excellent teacher. She was very helpful and engaged in the class, and she is also very passionate about what she is teaching. I couldn't have hoped for a better experience. 


I definitely felt prepared for the exam! We did so much practice at the end that the exam itself seemed pretty easy! I felt that I was strongest in the country in context questions & MCQs. If I had to pick a weak point it would probably be China (that country is pretty complex and there is a lot going on!), but overall I felt very well prepared 

2015-16 Comparative Politics posted by Scout Best on May 31 2016 at 10:39:28

On the Embassy Project and live classes:This was amazing! It was really nice to interact with everyone in real time...a nice difference from other online classes. I would have liked to see more involvement from my embassy, but I still enjoyed the project and could definitely see how it would have been cool working together! 


Overall experience and test preparedness:It was very positive! You are a good, very involved and responsive teacher which is wonderful!I'm currently going through pre-AP panic, so it's kinda hard for me to assess this objectively. I feel good but I think there could have been more emphasis on actual practice exams and grading of the FRQs. Still, I feel pretty good and I know that with the time I have put in and that paying attention to the things you have taught will pay off! 

2015-16 Comparative Politics posted by Allison Bell on May 31 2016 at 10:35:50

I was very happy with the class. The subject matter and the textbooks and videos were engaging, the workload was not too large, and the tests did a good job of preparing me for the exam. I feel like I learned a lot about political structure and theory as well as many specific countries throughout the world, and I feel better equipped now to understand world news and politics. I felt well prepared. I felt strongest with theoretical aspects, and didn't feel particularly weak in any areas.

2015-2016 Comparative Politics posted by Peter Anderson on May 31 2016 at 10:33:08

Overall Experience: I really enjoyed this class.  It combined many of my interests including politics, foreign policy and economics.  In some ways it helped me focus in on interest areas by using empirical political science techniques to analyze the broad field of government.


Test Preparedness:  very prepared.  I've made a few bad calls regarding test performance in the past, but I had a pretty good feeling about this one.  This is one of those exams that you can't cram for-- it just takes regular immersion in the terms and concepts to nail down everything needed for the exam.  While I took fewer practice tests in this class than in some AP classes I've taken, I felt prepared and had plenty of time on all of the test segments.

2014-15 posted by Caleb Stewart on May 17 2015 at 03:27:33

This class was amazing and it has definitely helped me to figure out what I am interested in studying past high school and work at.

2014-15 posted by Daniel Douglas on May 17 2015 at 03:24:09

Overall, it was an enjoyable class experience. I did things that was not in my comfort zone. Giving presentations/talking on the mic. The class is well rounded with differing aspects. Such as writing essays, frequents quizes, student discussions, live sessions, presentations, embassy groups, etc. These aspects were effective in understanding and educating ourselves with subjects

2014-15 posted by Joseph Corbett on May 17 2015 at 03:23:00

Class experience was amazing.  The teacher was great.  I learned a lot from both fellow students and Mrs Reed.

Comp Gov 2014-15 posted by Amanda Chang on May 17 2015 at 03:21:59

The overall class experience was really great! I found the course material to be really interesting, and I have to say this is probably one of, if not the, favorite class I've taken in high school. It really shaped the way I read/watch the news today as I can really understand the structure of different governments and have a better understanding of the relationship between citizens and the state. The course material was easy to use, and I learned so much through taking this class. 

Comparative Politics 2014-15 posted by Nickolaus Mack on May 13 2015 at 23:49:39

If I had to redo my school year I honestly would sign up for this class again. It was really intensive, but at the same time extremely informative and has enriched my thinking. My major will be in International Studies at American University's School of International Service and so this information was right up my alley. Perhaps next time, I will allot more time (less classes) so that I can complete assignments more timely and wholly. In a few soundbites: Wonderful teacher! Great classmates! Informative!

Comparative Politics 2014-15 posted by Emily Staments on May 13 2015 at 23:48:22

I really enjoyed taking this class.  I learned a ton!  It was also a lot of fun to be able to discuss and debate things with fellow students. 

Comparative Politics 2014-15 posted by Piper Serra on May 13 2015 at 23:47:15

It was very good! I felt like everything was covered well and the workload was not too much. I never felt overwhelmed per say, but I was challenged with the amount of reading for sure. I wish there were more short essays, because I feel like that really helps me organize information. I know there were question built into the test, but sometimes I wish there was something similar before. However, I also know that I could have done that kind of review on my own! 

Comparative Politics 2014-15 posted by Manuel Ramsler on May 13 2015 at 23:44:49

Taking Comparative Government and Politics with Mrs. Reed was absolutely the right decision for me. At the beginning I wasn't too sure about whether I would be able to do well in an online course because I had never taken one before and it was the first time that I took an AP Class. However, just in the first weeks, I felt comfortable already, and began doing very well. In addition to covering all the core materials needed for the course through weekly classes, assignments and readings, we looked at current events to understand out material and completed several projects. I felt as though the class did an excellent job of preparing us for the AP Test through practice multiple choice and free response questions.

Any time I had any question on the subject, I could email Mrs. Reed through email, or ask during class time, and she would respond very quickly and would give me a well explained answer. I think that as a teacher she was phenomenal and taught the course very well. I will use PA Homeschoolers again in the future should I do another AP Course online.

Highly Recommended posted by Manuel Milan Ramsler on May 11 2015 at 14:07:54

Taking Comparative Government and Politics with Mrs. Reed was absolutely the right decision for me. At the beginning I wasn't too sure about whether I would be able to do well in an online course because I had never taken one before and it was the first time that I took an AP Class. However, just in the first weeks, I felt comfortable already, and began doing very well. In addition to covering all the core materials needed for the course through weekly classes, assignments and readings, we looked at current events to understand out material and completed several projects. I felt as though the class did an excellent job of preparing us for the AP Test through practice multiple choice and free response questions.

The courseload was very reasonable in my opinion, and I would spend around 4 or more hours on it every week. I particulary enjoyed when we had different guest speakers come to live class where we could ask questions and learn about the different countries in the course. 

The course has greatly increased my interest in politics. One year ago, I wouldn't have even thought of getting into the field of politics, but now I do view it as a strong possibility. 

Class interaction was well in my opinion. We had several different projects where we got to work with other students in the course which made the overall experience better.

I would recommend this course to any student who is interested in the field of politics and willing to learn and complete the work for the course.

Any time I had any question on the subject, I could email Mrs. Reed through email, or ask during class time, and she would respond very quickly and would give me a well explained answer. I think that as a teacher she was phenomenal and taught the course very well. I will use PA Homeschoolers again in the future should I do another AP Course online.

AP Comparative Government and Politics with Mrs. Reed posted by Justin Lowry on July 19 2014 at 18:24:53

This class did a very thorough job preparing hard working students for the test. Mrs. Reed did a great job as the teacher of the class. She was very willing to help students throughout the course, and the weekly live online class meetings that she organized were very helpful. The reading and weekly assignments were lengthy, but the class wasn't meant to be easy. There was a lot of writing, so if you do not like writing or aren't willing to write quite a bit, you may want to find a different course. Some of the subjects were somewhat abstract as other students have mentioned, but they were not too difficult to grasp. Actually I found that some of the abstract subjects we had to write about helped me understand the overall topic better because I had to do more research and therefore learn more. I spent about an hour to an hour and a half per day usually. I worked on the weekends too, but if you are better at pacing yourself, then it wouldn't be necessary. One particular assignment that I thought helped very much was the Country Presentations. For this assignment students are paired (or not) to a country and are required to make a 15+ minute presentation on a country to present to the class. To be honest I still do not have a great interest in politics in general. I actually found that the class increased my desire to stay out of an occupation involving politics. If you love technicalities of government, policy making, and interactions between governments and people, then this is the class for you. The interaction with other students was very fun and helpful. It was very interesting to meet students from around the United States and around the world. The discussion posts (where students are assigned to comment on international events or other topics) were very interesting to find out about other viewpoints on topics. To do well  in the class one must be driven to work hard and stay focused. I would recommend this course to any student who will work hard, but I would not recommend it to someone who is unwilling to commit to a significant amount of work.

Julia Reed's AP Comparative Government and Polotics posted by John Lowry on July 09 2014 at 02:20:20

 I took Mrs. Reed's AP Comparative Government class in the 2013-2014 school year.  It was the first AP course I have ever taken as well as my first government class.  The material itself was a fantastic introduction and explanation of how different world governments and politics work and how they fit together in the world today.  Mrs. Reed also did an excellent job organizing the class, presenting the material, and making sure everyone understood all of the concepts discuses.  She is a good teacher, easy to work with, and all around a great person.  Also, I thoroughly enjoyed learning with the other students in the class... they were great! Anyone with an interest in governments and how they work would certainly enjoy this class.  It is a somewhat challenging class, not because there is anything hard to figure out, but mostly because there is simply a lot of information to remember.  However, for anyone who is willing to put some effort into this class, it is very doable.  I usually spent about six to eight hours on this class per week.  I really enjoyed the group discussions we had about the material each week, and I feel that the presentations that we gave to the rest of the class on our assigned countries were particularly helpful learning experiences.  Over all, I finished the class with a much better understanding of how the world runs, and if you are looking for a very educational course taught by a great teacher with students from around the world, this is the course for you!

Mrs. Reed's AP Comp/Gov posted by Noah Willis on June 23 2014 at 21:06:05

Of all of the excellent courses I took this year, Mrs. Reed's class was my favorite. I had never taken a class in politics before, so I was a little intimidated going in. Would I be able to keep up and understand what was going on? It turned out that I had nothing to fear. This class was outstanding. Mrs. Reed administered an awesome curriculum with helpful supplemental resources. Our weekly class meetings helped cement the week's material. I would say I put an average of an hour per day into this subject, including weekends oftentimes. Had I worked a little more during the week, I wouldn't have had to work on weekends. One of my favorite assignments was listening to lectures by Samuel Huntington and Niall Ferguson. Hearing the perspectives of renowned comparativists was really interesting. This course definitely enhanced my interest in the subject. I enjoyed communicating with other students during our weekly meetings. It was a lot of fun and was helpful for learning. I would certainly recommend this class to others! Although I haven't received my score back, I felt extremely well prepared for the AP exam, and I cannot wait to get my scores back. I don't know if she can see this, but Mrs. Reed was an excellent teacher. She really made this class go; she was a fantastic teacher. Thank you Mrs. Reed!

AP Comparative Government with Julia Reed posted by Hannah Bowland on June 19 2014 at 19:11:12

Hey, my name is Hannah Bowland, and I was a student of Mrs. Reeds in her Comparative Government class from the fall semester of 2013 through the spring semester of 2014.  If you want to develop a thorough knowledge about the material covered on the AP exam and experience wonderful, comprehensive lectures from the nicest teacher ever, definitely take this class.  However, this is by no means an easy class; there is a lot of material to cover, and some of the concepts are abstract.  I worked on average about six hours a day on this class alone, so unless you're willing to work hard and put in a lot of study time, you might want to consider taking another exam.  If you're willing to study though, Mrs. Reed will make sure that you understand the material, and she will help you in any way possible.  I struggled with some of the material, especially in the beginning of the class, and Mrs. Reed took time out of her day and met with me over chat to discuss the concepts, until I began to understand them.  I believe that this class prepared me as much as possible for the exam, and my score on the test will be determined more by my retention of the material under stress than by how well I understood the material as a whole.  My favorite assignments in the class were the essays; I love to write, and I found that writing a long, detailed paper on different subjects dramatically increased my comprehension of different concepts and governmental processes and histories.  This course also helped me determine my intended career path; I am interested in pursuing an Environmental Science degree, but I was still undecided on whether or not to pursue the more political side of this subject.  This class helped me find my strengths, and I'll probably try to stick more with the science of the environment, and allow other more adept people to work on determining policies.  One of the best parts of this class though wasn't the teaching; it was the people who we got to work and connect with.  In my class, we had students from all over the world and the U.S.  We formed some wonderful friendships, and discussing the material together allowed us to see and hear ideas expressed in different ways, which helped improve our comprehension and enjoyment of the subject.  Overall, it was an amazing class, and I would really encourage anyone who really wants to understand how governments function together and the differences and similarities between them.  I would not recommend this class if you have no interest whatsoever in politics, history, economics, and government.  But if you are interested in covering these subjects with a intelligent, kind, and caring teacher, and with other students from all over the world, then this is a wonderful class for you.  I hope this has been helpful!

Review of Mrs. Reed's Comp Politics and Government AP class posted by Joshua Kam on June 19 2014 at 01:17:29

I must admit -Ap Comp P&G was one of my harder subjects last year.  But Mrs. Reed really was an awesome AP coach and instructor.  I appreciated the live online classes she gave us all weekly -and for elucidating a lot of the trickier concepts of the field.  I did also enjoy the Embassies students got to participate in, as we responded to current, week-by-week events.  This included a fair mix of subjects -the Syrian War, the Ukrainian invasion, the Nigerian kidnappings, etc.  It really lets you dig into your country's pathos and decision-making process.  

The reading, I must, emphasize, though, is heavy, but manageable if you pace yourself.  Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the deluge of countries mentioned -though it's comforting to remember only six states are studied in the Comp Gov course.  That doesn't mean you should skip the less discussed country studies -but use them as illustrations of key concepts, rather than annals to recite for their own sake.  ;)

It might have hoped, though, if we'd received a few more required practice tests earlier in the year.  i'm sure a good deal of students (like me) used up the FRQs provided on Collegeboard, though I felt that was one minor area in which the course could prepare students better. I think the course as a whole, however, was very well designed. I entered the test prepared and almost calm -in spite of myself! :D Good on you, Mrs. Reed!  

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