The Course

AP United States Government and Politics

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Updates for 2023-24

Starting in the 2023-24 school year, AP U.S. Government and Politics will have an updated course framework and instructional materials.

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 and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

This course framework describes the course requirements necessary for student success and specifies what students should know and be able to do. 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.


Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy


Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government


Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights


Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs


Unit 5: Political Participation



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

Skill Category


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 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 U.S. 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.