AP U.S. Government and Politics Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about the course


The key political ideas, institutions, policies, and behaviors that make up the political culture and system of the United States. For more details go to the course home page.

The required project adds a civic component to the course, engaging students in exploring how they can affect, and are affected by, government and politics throughout their lives. The project might have students collect data on a teacher-approved political science topic, participate in a community service activity, or observe and report on the policymaking process of a governing body. Students should plan a presentation that relates their experiences or findings to what they are learning in the course.

AP Comparative Government and Politics compares political cultures from a global perspective, rather than domestic. The course concentrates on six selected countries: Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China, and Nigeria.

The AP U.S. Government and Politics course aligns to a typical one-semester college-level introductory course in United States government and politics.

There are no prerequisite courses, but students should be able to read and comprehend a college level textbook and write grammatically correct, complete sentences.

The College Board does not recommend specific textbooks. However, a list of example textbooks appropriate for the course appears on the AP Course Audit page for this course.

Any motivated student should be given the chance to benefit from an AP course. If your school administers the PSAT/NMSQT®, use AP Potential. This free online tool allows you to identify students who are likely to succeed in AP based on their PSAT/NMSQT or SAT® scores. Such scores have been proven to be stronger predictors of AP success than high school grades or GPA.

These resources will help:

Yes. Each course can be offered as a half-year course, in either a traditional one-semester format, or in a block schedule. There is no prescribed sequence of study.

The AP Teacher Community might be the best source for answers. You’ll also find articles, tools, and resources to help you teach every aspect of the course on the course home page.

Questions about the AP Course Audit


The AP Course Audit is an authorization process that provides teachers and administrators with guidelines and requirements for offering AP courses. It also ensures that AP courses across high schools meet the same college-level criteria.

Yes. Every school wishing to offer an AP course must participate in the AP Course Audit.

The AP Course Audit requires the online submission of two documents: the AP Course Audit form and the teacher’s syllabus. The AP teacher and the school principal (or designated administrator) submit the Course Audit form, acknowledging the curricular and resource requirements. The syllabus, detailing how the AP course requirements will be met, is submitted by the AP teacher for review by college faculty. To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports launching in August, teachers won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year. Go to the AP Course Audit page  for this course for more information and guidance about the requirements for the 2019-20 school year.

The AP Course Audit page for the course will give you the tools you’ll need to create and submit your syllabus for authorization, including information and guidelines.

Go to AP Course Audit for more FAQs, resources, and info about the whole course audit process.

Questions about the exam


These resources will help:

  • A secure practice exam reflecting the 2018-19 redesign is available by logging in to your AP Course Audit account. Older secure practice exams that do not reflect the 2018-19 redesign are also available.
  • Starting in August 2019, you will have access to AP Classroom, a dedicated online platform designed to support you and your students throughout your AP experience. The platform features a variety of powerful resources and tools to give you year-long support and enable your students to receive meaningful feedback on their progress as they prepare for the AP Exam.
  • A publicly available practice exam, which reflects the 2018-19 redesign.
  • Pre-redesign free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines are available on the Past Exam Questions page. Scroll down the “Scoring” column in the free-response questions table to find yearly Chief Reader Reports (former title: Student Performance Q&A) from the Chief Reader that describe how students performed on the FRQs, typical student errors, and specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
  • Released exams can be purchased on the College Board store.

The exam is given each year in early May. Go to the Exam Calendar for the most current exam dates.

That depends on the college. Tell your students to use the AP Credit Policy Info tool to verify the credit/placement policies at the colleges they are considering.

Go to the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam Information page for answers. You’ll find specifics about the exam format and more.