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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide To AP US Government and Politics Exam [Updated for AP 2024 Exam]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 08 Dec 2023

Content

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  • The AP US  Government and Politics course is organized into 5 topics: Foundations of American Democracy, Interactions Among Branches of Government, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, American Political Ideologies and Beliefs, Political Participation, and Political Parties.
  • The AP US  Government and Politics exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (55 questions, 1 hour and 30 minutes) and free-response (4 questions,1 hour 20 minutes).
  • The mean score for the AP US  Government and Politics exam in 2022 was 2.58 out of 5. This is slightly higher than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP US  Government and Politics Exam for 2022 was 48.6%. This is slightly higher than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.
  • With AP US  Government and Politics, some majors that you could choose include political science, public policy, law, and business. Some of the career pathways that you could pursue include political scientist, government administrator, lawyer, and lobbyist.

The AP US  Government and Politics course is an introductory college-level course that covers the fundamentals of American government and politics. Students will learn about the Constitution, the branches of government, the political process, public policy, interest groups, political parties, elections, the media, and civil rights and liberties.

In this AP US  Government and Politics guide, we will provide you with an overview of the AP US  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 US  Government and Politics exam?

The AP US  Government and Politics exam cover the interactions between citizens and the government. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including the Constitution, the branches of government, the political process, public policy, interest groups, political parties, elections, the media, and civil rights and liberties.

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

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

SectionNo. of QuestionsTime allocated to  each sectionWeightage
Multiple Choice | 55 questions1 hour 20 mins50%
Free response   questions4 questions 1 hour 40 mins50% 
AP US Government and Politics exam format

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

How long is the AP US  Government and Politics exam?

The AP US  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 20 minutes long.
  • The second section is a free-response section with 4 questions and is 1 hour 40 minutes long.

The AP US  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 US  Government and Politics exam have?

The AP US  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 US  Government and Politics Review

AP US  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: Foundations of American Democracy
You’ll learn how the men who created the U.S. Constitution set up a structure of government intended to stand the test of time, and how the compromises they made left some questions unresolved that continue to be debated today.
-The ideals of democracy as shown in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
-Federalist and Anti-Federalist views on central government and democracy
-Separation of powers and “checks and balances”
-The relationship between the states and the national government (federalism)
-How federalism has been interpreted differently over time
15%–22%
Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
You’ll continue to explore how the government sets and administers policy, and you’ll learn about the complexities of this process.
-The structures, powers, and functions of each house of Congress
-The roles and powers of the president
-The roles and powers of the Supreme Court and other federal courts
-The roles of the federal bureaucracy (departments, agencies, commissions, and government corporations)
25%-36%
Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
You’ll connect what you’ve learned about the founding principles of our government to the debates over how best to balance freedom and order.
-The intent of the Bill of Rights
-The First Amendment (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press) and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it
-The Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it
-Supreme Court interpretations of other amendments
-How the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment have motivated social movements
13%–18%
Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
You’ll explore the various beliefs that U.S. citizens hold about government, how these beliefs are shaped, and how they affect which policies citizens support.
-How cultural and social factors affect citizens’ beliefs about government
-How polls are used to gather data about public opinion
-The ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties
-How political ideologies affect policy on economic and social issues
10%–15%
Unit 5: Political Participation
You’ll learn about the many ways that U.S. citizens can influence the decisions the government makes.
-Laws that protect the right to vote
-Why it’s hard for third parties and independent candidates to succeed
-Interest groups and their influence
-Campaign finance and its role in elections
-The media’s role in elections
20%–27%
AP US Government and Politics Course Content

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

How is the AP US  Government and Politics exam scored?

The AP US  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 US  Government 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 US  Government and Politics exam in 2024?

The AP US  Government and Politics exam for 2024 will be held on Monday, May 6 2024 08:00 Am 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 US  Government and Politics exam?

Here are some tips on how to prepare for AP US  Government and Politics exam

  • 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 documents. The AP Government and Politics exam requires you to be familiar with several key documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Make sure you read these documents carefully and understand their significance.
  • Practice answering free-response questions. The AP Government and Politics exam has a significant portion of free-response questions. These questions require you to apply your knowledge of the material to real-world scenarios. 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.

How can Wiingy help with AP Government and Politics exam prep?

In 2022, only 12.0% of the 298,118 students who took the AP Government and Politics exam scored a 5. While 3 is considered the unofficial passing rate, most elite universities, such as Harvard or Princeton, offer AP credit only if you score 5 or higher. 

Getting a 5 is possible if you have the right support in your high school, but that’s rarely the case.

Here at Wiingy, we work with vetted AP Government and Politics tutors with demonstrated expertise and experience in helping students score a 5 on AP exams

Unlike tutor marketplaces, every Wiingy tutor is screened individually and undergoes a comprehensive assessment.

Less than 3% of applicants are selected to become tutors on Wiingy’s platform, ensuring tutors are highly qualified and experienced in teaching AP courses.

Our tutors will work with you 1-on-1 to master the content and skills you need to succeed.

Experienced tutors can provide you with curriculum-specific guides and practice questions and familiarize you with the exam format to help you ace the test.

We know that sometimes you don’t want to pay for private tutoring because it is too expensive. It’s common to see tutoring costs between $100 to $150 per hour.

Wiingy’s rates are very affordable, starting from just $28 per hour, much lower than the average AP tutoring offered by other platforms.

One more advantage of studying with us is that we don’t require you to sign up for any packages or yearly subscriptions. You can sign up for as little as a single lesson and add more lessons as per your requirements.

While we try to match you with the perfect tutor as per your needs, we know that sometimes even the best tutors might not be the right fit for you. That’s why we offer you the Perfect Match Guarantee, which means that if you are not satisfied with your tutor for any reason, you can request a free replacement at any time. 

Sign up with Wiingy AP Government and Politics Tutoring today and achieve your goal of scoring a 5 on your AP Test!

Why take AP US Government and Politics?

Here are some advantages of taking the AP US  Government and Politics exam

  • 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 political science, public policy, or other related fields will find the skills learned in AP 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 exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (70 questions, 100 minutes) and free-response (2 essays, 40 minutes). 

The mean score for the AP Government and Politics exam in 2022 was 2.58 out of 5, which is slightly higher than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022 (2.92). The passing rate for AP Government and Politics in 2022 was 48.6%, which is slightly higher than the pass rate for AP overall (60.2%).

The AP Government and Politics exam is challenging, but it is also rewarding. By learning about the political system and applying your critical thinking skills, you can better understand how government works and how you can make a difference in your community. You can also develop the skills necessary to be an informed citizen and participate in the political process.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Is AP U.S. Government and Politics worth it?

AP U.S. Government and Politics is a challenging course that can be a great way to learn about the U.S. government and develop critical thinking skills. However, whether or not the course is worth it for you depends on your individual circumstances and goals.

If you are interested in politics and government, and you think you would be able to handle the challenge, then the course could be a good fit for you. The course can help you develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and it can give you a deeper understanding of how the U.S. government works. Additionally, if you pass the AP exam with a score of 3 or higher, you can earn college credit for the course. This can save you time and money on your college education.

How many credits do you get for AP U.S. Government and Politics?

The number of credits you get for AP U.S. Government and Politics depends on the college or university you attend. Some colleges will award 3 credits for a score of 3 or higher on the AP exam, while others may only award 1 or 2 credits. It is important to check with the specific colleges you are interested in attending to see how they award AP credit.

Here are some examples of how colleges award AP credit for AP U.S. Government and Politics:
Stanford University: 3 credits for a score of 3 or higher.
University of California, Berkeley: 3 credits for a score of 4 or higher.
Columbia University: 1 credit for a score of 3 or higher.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: 2 credits for a score of 3 or higher.

What are the requirements for taking AP U.S. Government and Politics?

The requirements for taking AP U.S. Government and Politics vary from school to school. However, most schools require that you have completed a course in American history or government. You may also need to have a certain GPA or score on a placement tes

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