The Course

AP Comparative Government and Politics

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Course Overview

AP Comparative Government and Politics is an introductory college-level course in comparative government and politics. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures; policies; and political, economic, and social challenges of six selected countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Students cultivate their understanding of comparative government and politics through analysis of data and text-based sources as they explore topics like power and authority, legitimacy and stability, democratization, internal and external forces, and methods of political analysis.​​​​​​

Course and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students should know and be able to do to, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced comparative political science coursework and to be active and informed about politics abroad.

The AP Comparative Government and Politics framework is organized into five commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.


Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments


Unit 2: Political Institutions


Unit 3: Political Culture and Participation


Unit 4: Party and Electoral Systems and Citizen Organizations


Unit 5: Political and Economic Changes and Development


Disciplinary Practices

The AP Comparative Government and Politics framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called disciplinary practices, that students should practice throughout the year—practices that will help them learn to think and act like comparative political scientists.



1. Concept Application

Apply political concepts and processes in authentic contexts.

2. Country Comparison

Compare political concepts and processes among the course countries (China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom).

3. Data Analysis

Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and infographics.

4. Source Analysis

Read, analyze, and interpret text-based sources.

5. Argumentation

Develop an argument in essay format.

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education section features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Comparative Government and Politics.

The AP Program is unique in its reliance on Development Committees. These committees, made up of an equal number of college faculty and experienced secondary AP teachers from across the country, are essential to the preparation of AP course curricula and exams.