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Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics, also known as AP US Gov & Pol, AP USGP, AP US Gov, AP NSL, AP GOPO or AP Gov, is a college-level course and examination offered to high school students through the College Board's Advanced Placement Program. This course surveys the structure and function of American government and politics that begins with an analysis of the United States Constitution, the foundation of the American political system. Students study the three branches of government, administrative agencies that support each branch, the role of political behavior in the democratic process, rules governing elections, political culture, and the workings of political parties and interest groups.[1] The course was redesigned for the 2019-2020 school year.

Topic outline

The material in the course is composed of multiple subjects from the Constitutional roots of the United States to recent developments in civil rights and liberties. The AP United States Government examination covers roughly six subjects listed below in approximate percentage composition of the examination.[2]

  • Political parties and elections Functions Organization Development Effects on the political process Electoral laws and systems
  • Interest groups, including political action committees (PACs) The range of interests represented The activities of interest groups The effects of interest groups on the political process The unique characteristics and roles of PACs in the political process
  • The mass media The functions and structures of the media The impact of media on politics

Required Supreme Court Case and Foundation Documents

Starting from 2019 Administration of the Test, the College Board requires students to know 15 Supreme Court case.[3] These 15 Supreme Court case are listed below:

Same as Supreme Court Case, the College Board requires students to know 9 Foundation Documents.[4] The 9 Documents are listed below:


The Multiple-Choice section is analytical and the Free-Response questions is fairly consistent.[5]

  • Section I: Multiple-Choice (80 minutes, 55 questions, 50% of Total Exam Scores)
  • Section II: Free-response (100 minutes, 4 questions, 50% of Total Exam Scores)

Grade distribution

In the 2007 administration, 160,978 students took the exam from 6,306 schools.[6] In the 2008 administration, 177,522 students took the exam.[7] In the 2009 administration, 189,998 students took the exam.[8] In the 2010 administration, 211,681 students took the exam.[9] In the 2011 administration, 225,837 students took the exam.[10] [11] In the 2018 administration, 326,392 students took the exam.[12] The grade distributions since 2007 were:

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