What You Need to Know About the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Mar 4, 2011

What Is Going to Appear on the Exam?

Excellent question! The College Board, after consulting with teachers of U.S. Government and Politics, develops a curriculum that covers material that college professors expect to cover in their first-year classes. Based on this outline of topics, the multiple-choice exams are written such that those topics are covered in proportion to their importance to the expected government and politics understanding of the student. For example, if 10 percent of the curriculum in an AP U.S. Government and Politics class is devoted to the foundations of U.S. government, you can expect roughly 10 percent of the multiple-choice exam to address the foundations of U.S. government. Below is a general outline for the U.S. Government and Politics exam. Remember this is just a guide and each year the exam differs slightly in the percentages.


I. Constitutional Foundations of United States Government 5-15%
II. Beliefs and Behaviors about Government 10-20%
III. Political Parties, Interest Groups, and the Mass Media 10-20%
IV. Institutions of National Government 35-45%
V. Public Policy 5-15%
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 5-15%


Who Grades My AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam?

Every June a group of government teachers gathers for a week to assign grades to your hard work. Each of these “faculty consultants” spends a day or so getting trained on one question. Because each reader becomes an expert on that question, and because each exam book is anonymous, this process provides a very consistent and unbiased scoring of that question. During a typical day of grading, a random sample of each reader’s scores is selected and crosschecked by other experienced “table leaders” to ensure that the consistency is maintained throughout the day and the week. Each reader’s scores on a given question are also analyzed statistically to make sure that they are not giving scores that are significantly higher or lower than the mean scores given by other readers of that question. All measures are taken to maintain consistency and fairness for your benefit.

Will My Exam Remain Anonymous?

Absolutely. Even if your high school teacher happens to randomly read your booklet, there is virtually no way he or she will know it is you. To the reader, each student is a number, and to the computer, each student is a bar code.

What About That Permission Box on the Back?

The College Board uses some exams to help train high school teachers so that they can help the next generation of government students to avoid common mistakes. If you check this box, you simply give permission to use your exam this way. Even if you give permission, your anonymity is still maintained.

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