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Important Updates

Support for Students and Schools Impacted by Coronavirus
In response to school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re providing free, live AP online classes and review lessons. We’ll also offer at-home testing for 2020 AP Exams. Note that any related adjustments to 2020 AP Exams, such as length or content covered, may not be reflected on all AP Central pages. Visit at Taking Online AP Exams for the latest exam information.

Updated Course and Exam Description
The AP United States Government and Politics Course and Exam Description (CED) has been updated to accurately reflect the skills-based activities available through the AP Course Audit site.

New AP Resources
AP Classroom is now available. Designed with AP educators, it helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access AP unit guides with aligned resources, topic questions, personal progress checks, the progress dashboard, and your question bank.

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Course Overview

AP U.S. Government and Politics is an introductory college-level course in U.S. government and politics. Students cultivate their understanding of U.S. government and politics through analysis of data and text- based sources as they explore topics like constitutionalism, liberty and order, civic participation in a representative democracy, competing policy-making interests, and methods of political analysis.

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, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles and theories of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced political science coursework and active, informed participation in our constitutional democracy.

The AP U.S. 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.

Unit

Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy

15%–22%

Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government

25%–36%

Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

13%–18%

Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs

10%–15%

Unit 5: Political Participation

20%–27%

Disciplinary Practices

The updated AP U.S. Government and Politics framework included in the CED outlines distinct skills, called disciplinary practices, that students should practice throughout the year—practices that will help them learn to think and act like political scientists.

Skill

Description

1. Concept Application

Apply political concepts and processes to scenarios in context.

2. SCOTUS Application

Apply Supreme Court decisions.

3. Data Analysis

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

4. Source Analysis

Read, analyze, and interpret foundational documents and other text-based and visual sources.

5. Argumentation

Develop an argument in essay format.

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site 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 U.S. Government and Politics.