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Important Updates

AP U.S. Government and Politics Updates and New Resources for 2019-20

To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.

Download the new course and exam description

New AP Resources
This August, we’re introducing AP Classroom, with a suite of new resources designed in collaboration with AP educators that will help give students personalized feedback throughout the year. These include in-depth unit guides, personal progress checks and a dashboard to measure student progress, and a question bank of real AP questions.

Learn more about AP Classroom 

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.

Your updated course and exam description (CED) for the 2019-20 school year more clearly outlines all required course content and skills and defines how they will be assessed on the exam.

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 current Development Committee for AP U.S. Government and Politics.