AP United States Government and Politics
|This article is part of the
Advanced Placement series.
|General exam structure • Awards|
Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics, also known as AP US Gov & Pol, 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 Topic Outline
- 1.1 Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (5-15%)
- 1.2 Political beliefs and behaviors (10-20%)
- 1.3 Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media (10-20%)
- 1.4 Institutions of National Government: the Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (35-45%)
- 1.5 Public policy (5-15%)
- 1.6 Civil rights and civil liberties (5-15%)
- 2 The exam
- 3 Grade distribution
- 4 References
- 5 External links
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. 
Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (5-15%)
- Considerations that influenced the formulation and adoption of the Constitution
- Separation of powers
- Theories of democratic government
Political beliefs and behaviors (10-20%)
- Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and its leaders
- Processes by which citizens learn about politics
- The nature, sources, and consequences of public opinion
- The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life
- Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and behaviors
Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media (10-20%)
- Political parties and elections
- 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
Institutions of National Government: the Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (35-45%)
- The major formal and informal institutional arrangements of power
Public policy (5-15%)
- Policy making in a federal system
- The formation of policy agendas
- The role of institutions in the enactment of policy
- The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation
- Linkages between policy processes and the following:
Civil rights and civil liberties (5-15%)
- The development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation
- Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties
- The impact of the Fourteenth Amendment on the constitutional development of rights and liberties
The exam consists of two sections:
- Section I: Multiple-Choice (45 minutes, 60 questions)
- Section II: Free-response (100 minutes, 4 questions)
In all a total of 120 points are attainable, with each section being worth 60 points. 
In the 2007 administration, 160,978 students took the exam from 6,306 schools. In the 2008 administration, 177,522 students took the exam. In the 2009 administration, 189,998 students took the exam. In the 2010 administration, 211,681 students took the exam. In the 2011 administration, 225,837 students took the exam.  The grade distributions for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 were:
|Final Score||Percent (2007)||Percent (2008)||Percent (2009)||Percent (2010)||Percent (2011)||Percent (2012)||Percent (2013)|
- "Government and Politics United States Comparative Course Description" (PDF). The College Board. pp. 9–13. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "Government and Politics United States Comparative Course Description" (PDF). The College Board. pp. 14–15. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "The Exam". collegeboard.com, Inc. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "U.S. Government & Politics Grade Distribution". collegeboard.com, Inc. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "2008 U.S. Government & Politics Grade Distribution". collegeboard.com, Inc. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- "2009 U.S. Government & Politics Grade Distribution". collegeboard.com, Inc. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Packer, Trevor. "2012 AP Exam Score Distributions". Total Registration. Retrieved 10 July 2012.