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AP Comparative Government and Politics

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AP Comparative Government and Politics

This article is part of the
Advanced Placement series.
General exam structure    •    Awards
Current subjects:
In development:
Former subjects:

Advanced Placement Comparative Government and Politics (or AP Comparative Government and Politics) is an examination given by the College Board through the Advanced Placement Program. It tests topics commonly taught in introductory college comparative government or comparative politics courses.

Exam Scope

Nations Examined

The countries whose politics, political institutions, policy making, and political cultures are examined by this AP test are:

Note: For testing purposes, the College Board uses the names in parentheses when making reference to these sovereign entities.

Structure of the examination

The examination consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and 8 "free response" questions, which require written answers. Each of those sections of the exam accounts for 50% of the score earned by test takers. The examination is timed: 45 minutes is allowed for the multiple-choice section; 100 minutes is allowed for the "free response" section.

Content Spectrum

Examination information provided for this AP test by the College Board states that students taking the examination are questioned about the following topics in the context of the nations specified above: (The percentages cited apply only to the multiple-choice section of the examination.)

Exam Changes

In order to better match a typical introductory college course, several changes were made to the course and the exam in the fall of 2005. These changes include:

  • Greater emphasis on analysis of concepts and themes
  • Shifting focus to coverage of six core countries (China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia)
  • Emphasis on themes such as citizen-state relations, democratization, globalization, political change, and public policy

Grade Distribution

In the 2011 administration, 17,111 students took the exam. The mean score was a 2.97.

The grade distribution for 2010,[1] 2011,[2] and 2012[3] was:

Score 2010 2011 2012
5 18.1% 17.4% 19.3%
4 20.4% 21.9% 23.9%
3 21.1% 20.4% 18.6%
2 22.5% 21.4% 20.7%
1 17.9% 18.9% 17.5%
Mean 2.98 2.97 3.07
Number of students 16,864 17,111 18,402


  • AP Comparative Government and Politics at
  1. ^ The College Board. "AP Comparative Government and Politics -- Student Score Distributions 2010". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  2. ^ The College Board. "AP Comparative Government and Politics -- Student Score Distributions 2011". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  3. ^ The College Board. "AP Comparative Government and Politics -- Student Score Distributions 2012". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
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