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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide to AP Comparative Government And Politics Exam [Updated for AP 2024 Exam]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023

Content

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  • The AP Comparative Government and Politics course is organized into 5 topics – Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments, Political Institutions, Political Culture and Participation, Party and Electoral Systems and Citizen Organizations and Political and Economic Changes and Development
  • The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (55 questions, 1 hour) and free-response (4 questions, 1 hour 30 minutes).
  • The mean score for the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam in 2022 was 3.14 out of 5. This is slightly lower than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam for 2022 was 70.5%. This is higher than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.
  • With AP Comparative Government and Politics, some majors that you could choose include political science, international relations, public policy, law, and business. Some of the career pathways that you could pursue include political scientist, diplomat, government administrator, lawyer, and consultant.

AP Comparative Government and Politics is offered in over 100 countries around the world. In 2022, over 20,949 students took the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam.

In this AP Comparative Government and Politics guide, we will provide you with an overview of the AP Comparative Government and Politics course, including the exam format, the topics covered, and effective ways to study. We will also discuss some of the resources that are available to help you prepare for the exam.

What is on the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam?


The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam covers the interactions between citizens and governments in six different countries. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including the political systems, institutions, and processes of China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Students will compare and contrast the different ways these countries organize their governments, make decisions, and deal with political challenges.

Students will examine the concepts of comparative government and politics through reading and discussion, and analyze data from political research studies. The exam also requires students to apply their knowledge of comparative government and politics to solve real-world problems.

The AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam format includes two sections as below:

SectionNo. of QuestionsTime allocated to  each sectionWeightage
Multiple Choice 55 questions1 hour 50%
Free response   questions4 questions 1 hour 30 mins50% 

Now let’s understand everything about the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam: duration, structure, score distribution, etc.

How long is the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam?

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is 2 hours 60 mins long and is divided into two sections

  • The first section consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and is 1 hour long.
  • The second section is a free-response section with 4 questions and is 1 hour 30 minutes long.

The AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam will test your understanding of the psychological concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze behavioral studies.

How many questions does the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam have?

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam has 59 questions in total divided into two major sections; 55 multiple-choice questions and 4 free-response questions.

Topics for AP Comparative Government and Politics Review

AP Comparative Government and Politics is a rigorous course that covers the core political principles, theories, and processes that govern the interactions between citizens and the government. Students will do hands-on activities and simulations to investigate political phenomena.

UnitWhat’s includedWeight in Exam
Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments
You’ll learn about the skills and concepts that political scientists use in their work and apply them as you analyze data related to the six course countries.
How political scientists collect and use data and information
Types of political systems: regimes, states, nations, and governmentsDemocracy and authoritarianismThe ways governments and regimes get, keep, and lose powerFactors that can either help or undermine the stability of a government
18%–27%
Unit 2: Political Institutions
You’ll look at the political structure and the branches of government of each of the six course countries.
Parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential government systemsExecutive institutions (for example, presidents, prime ministers, cabinets)Legislative systems (for example, congressional or parliamentary)Judicial systems (judges and courts)22%–33% 
Unit 3: Political Culture and Participation
You’ll study the ways in which the citizens of a country interact with, influence, and are affected by their government, using the six course countries as examples.
Where the political attitudes and beliefs of citizens come fromPolitical ideologies such as individualism, communism, and fascismPolitical participation by citizens and its effectsCivil rights and civil libertiesSocial divisions within a country and their effects11%–18%
Unit 4: Party and Electoral Systems and Citizen OrganizationsIn the context of the political structures, events, and issues associated with the six course countries, you’ll learn how individuals, parties, and citizen organizations work to gain influence and power.


Types of electoral systems and election rulesTypes of political party systemsHow social movements and interest groups cause political change13%–18% 
Unit 5: Political and Economic Changes and Development
You’ll explore how the political systems and power structures of the six course countries play out in an interconnected global context.
Political responses to global market forcesThe effects of economic liberalization policiesHow governments adapt social policies to address political, cultural, and economic changesRapid industrialization and its impactsThe causes and effects of demographic changes16%–24%

For additional course resources such as classroom resources, formulae and equation sheets and lab manuals refer to the College Board AP Comparative Government and Politics course page.

How is the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam scored?

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. 

The exam is divided into two sections: a multiple-choice section and a free-response section. The multiple-choice section accounts for 50% of your final score, while the free-response section accounts for the remaining 50%.

The multiple-choice section comes first and is one hour and 20 minutes long. There are 55 questions. The multiple-choice questions are scored by computer. You get 1 point for each question you answer correctly; no points are deducted for any incorrect answers or questions left blank.

The free-response section is slightly longer at one hour and 40 minutes. It has four questions, and each question is worth 12.5% of your final score. The free-response questions are scored by human graders, who use a rubric to determine the score for each question.

The AP ComparativeGovernment and Politics exam is scored on a curve. This means that the percentage of students earning each score is determined after all the exams have been graded. Generally, a score of 3 or higher is considered a passing score.

When is the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam in 2024?

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam for 2024 will be held on Monday, May  2024 12:00 Pm local time. The 2024 AP Exams will be held over two weeks in May: May 6–10 and May 13–17. 

For the most recent information on exam dates and registration deadlines, students can check with their institution or the College Board website.

How to prepare for the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam?

Here are some tips on how to prepare for AP ComparativeGovernment and Politics

  • Take a practice exam. The College Board offers a free practice exam that you can take to get a feel for the format of the exam and the types of questions that will be asked. This is a great way to identify any areas where you need more practice.
  • Read the required readings. The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam requires you to be familiar with several key readings, including the textbook, the course reader, and any additional readings that your instructor assigns. Make sure you read these readings carefully and understand the material.
  • Learn about the six core countries. The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam covers six core countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Make sure you learn about the political systems, institutions, and processes of each country.
  • Practice answering comparative questions. The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam has a significant portion of comparative questions. These questions require you to compare and contrast the political systems of two or more countries. Practice answering these questions under timed conditions to get comfortable with the format.
  • Support your answers with evidence. When you answer a question, make sure to support your answer with evidence from the course material. This could include quotes from the text, examples from current events, or statistics.

Why take AP Comparative Government and Politics?

Here are some advantages of taking AP ComparativeGovernment and Politics

  • College credit: Depending on your score and the policies of the college you plan to attend, a high score on the AP Government and Politics exam can earn you college credit. This can save you time and money on tuition costs, as you may be able to skip introductory government and politics courses in college. You can major in political science, public policy, law, or international relations.
  • Advanced Placement: In addition to college credit, a high score on the AP Government and Politics exam can also earn you advanced placement in higher-level government and politics courses in college. This can give you a head start and allow you to take more advanced courses earlier in your college career.
  • Career prospect: Taking the AP Government and Politics exam and earning a high score demonstrates to colleges and future employers that you have mastered college-level government and politics concepts and skills. This can be an impressive addition to your college application or resume if you are looking to make your career as a political scientist, policy analyst, lawyer, or government official.
  • Interest in government and politics: Finally, taking the AP Government and Politics exam can be a way to pursue your interest in government and politics and deepen your understanding of the political system and how it works. By exploring advanced government and politics concepts and practicing critical thinking skills, you can gain a greater appreciation for the importance of civic engagement and participation in the political process.
  • Global perspective: The AP Government and Politics exam also teaches students about the interconnectedness of the world’s political systems, and how different countries approach government and politics. This can help students develop a global perspective and a commitment to democratic values.

Conclusion

Students who are interested in majoring in comparative politics, international relations, or other related fields will find the skills learned in AP Comparative Government and Politics to be essential. Additionally, the skills learned in this course can be applied to a wide range of careers, such as government service, law, and business.

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (75 questions, 100 minutes) and free-response (3 essays, 60 minutes). The mean score for the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam in 2022 was 3.14 out of 5, which is slightly higher than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022 (2.92). The passing rate for AP Comparative Government and Politics in 2022 was 70.5%, which is slightly lower than the pass rate for AP overall (60.2%).

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is challenging, but it is also rewarding. By learning about the political systems of different countries and applying your critical thinking skills, you can better understand how governments work and how they compare to each other. You can also develop the skills necessary to be an informed citizen and participate in the global political process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam hard to self-study for?

The AP Comparative Government and Politics exam is not considered to be one of the most difficult AP exams, but it can still be challenging to self-study for. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including political systems, political parties, civil society, and political economy. In order to do well on the exam, you will need to have a strong understanding of these concepts and be able to apply them to different political systems.

Is AP Comparative Government and Politics harder than AP U.S. Government and Politics?

AP Comparative Government and Politics is generally considered easier than AP U.S. Government and Politics.

Going by the AP exam pass rate, AP US Government and Politics is one of the hardest AP courses, with an exam pass rate of 50.4% in May 2021. This is significantly lower than the average rate of passing scores for all AP exams. It also has a lower-than-average rate of perfect scores across all AP exams.

In contrast, AP Comparative Government and Politics has a higher-than-average pass rate and a roughly average rate of perfect scores. However, just as many factors go into how difficult any student finds an AP course, which of the courses you find most difficult is harder to predict.

Is AP Comparative Government and Politics worth it?

Whether or not AP Comparative Government and Politics is worth it is, as with any AP course, a personal decision for you. For students who are very interested in politics, international relations, and the social sciences, AP Comparative Government and Politics will likely be worth taking.

However, if you are not very interested in the social sciences and already have a large number of AP classes in your schedule, AP Comparative Government and Politics may not be worth it for you.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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