AP US Government (AP Gov) Score Calculator – 2024
January 13, 2024
Wondering how you will perform on the AP Gov exam? With our AP Government Score Calculator, you’ll be able to predict your score ahead of time. Even though AP Gov is considered one of the easiest AP classes (with approximately 50% of students who take the exam scoring a 3 or higher), you’ll still need to prepare adequately. In fact, practicing for AP exams (using an AP Gov score calculator) is important no matter how easy or challenging the AP class. Like all AP exams, the AP Gov exam is administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. Yep, those College Board folks are a bundle of fun! All AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), and can be interpreted as follows:
5 = Extremely well qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: A or A+)
4 = Well qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: A-, B+, or B)
3 = Qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: B-, C+, or C)
2 = Possibly qualified (No grade equivalent provided by the College Board)
1 = No recommendation (No grade equivalent provided by the College Board)
AP Gov Score Calculator
Total Composite Score:
Predicted AP® Score:
Why do AP Scores Matter?
Your AP scores can earn you college credit or advanced placement (the ability to skip certain introductory courses). More selective schools require a 4 or 5, while others will award course credit for a 3 or above. A few schools will not award college credit regardless of your score (womp womp). Meanwhile, some schools consider AP scores during the admissions process. It’s a good idea to research the schools in which you are interested and familiarize yourself with their AP policies so you can determine your target score before you sit for the exam (or even before you decide how many AP courses to take).
Our AP Gov Score Calculator will show you where you might improve on your score, and can help you focus study efforts in advance of the exam—whether your goal is a 3, 4, or 5.
Moreover, even earning a 1 or 2 on the exam can bode well, with the College Board reporting that students who scored below a 3 still perform significantly better in introductory college classes.
What’s covered on the AP Gov Exam?
AP US Government and Politics (AP Gov) is an introductory college-level course in—you guessed it—US government and politics. Note that it is sometimes confused with the less-commonly offered AP Comparative Government and Politics. Lastly, be sure to double-check that you are preparing and registering for the correct exam.
The College Board provides detailed guidelines for the AP U.S. Government and Politics Course, including updates for the 2023-2024 school year. By the time of the exam (scheduled for May 6, 2024), you’ll most likely have completed the following units (or at least have covered the topics) in your AP Gov course:
- Foundations of American Democracy
- Interactions Among Branches of Government
- Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
- American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
- Political Participation
AP Government Score Calculator
Additionally, you should also be familiar with the required SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) cases (to be discussed below).
Practicing for the exam will alert you to any topics in need of further study, and interacting with the AP Gov Score Calculator will help you predict your score.
How is the AP Government Exam Structured?
You’ll have 3 hours (180 minutes) to complete the AP Gov exam, which is divided into two sections:
- Section I: Multiple Choice
- 55 Questions
- 1 Hour 20 Minutes (80 minutes)
- 50% of exam score
- Section II: Free Response
- 4 Free Response Questions (FRQ)
- 1 Hour 40 Minutes (100 minutes)
- 50% of exam score (12.5% per question)
Additionally, each section is designed to test different modes of analysis.
AP Government Score Calculator
For Section I, you’ll be tested on your ability to perform:
- Quantitative Analysis: Analysis and application of quantitative-based source material
- Qualitative Analysis: Analysis and application of text-based (primary and secondary) sources
- Visual Analysis: Analysis and Application of qualitative visual information
For Section II, you’ll be tested on your ability to demonstrate:
- Concept Application: Respond to a political scenario, describe and explain the effects of a political institution, behavior, or process
- Quantitative Analysis: Analyze quantitative data, identify a trend or pattern, or draw a conclusion from a visual representation and explain how it relates to a political principle, institution, process, policy, or behavior
- SCOTUS Comparison: Compare a nonrequired Supreme Court case with a required Supreme Court case, explaining how information from the required case is relevant to the nonrequired one
- An Argument Essay: Develop an argument in the form of an essay, using evidence from required foundational documents and course concepts
AP Gov FRQ
While most students are familiar with a multiple-choice exam structure, the AP Gov “Free Response Questions” (FRQ) can seem a bit more mysterious. However, the College Board allows you to access free response questions from past exams (even for as recently as the 2023 exam), along with scoring guidelines and sample responses from exam takers.
Here’s an example FRQ from 2022—one which tests a student’s ability to demonstrate “concept application:”
In the 2000 election, Ralph Nader won the Green Party nomination for president of the United States. While he trailed the Democratic and Republican candidates in the polls by a wide margin, Nader attracted large audiences in campaign appearances across the country.
In an interview from 2016, Nader discussed the challenges he faced in his campaign for president. “But there are only two that get on the presidential debate—Republican and Democrat—because they control the gate. . . .Had I got on the debates in my presidential run, I would—in one debate, I would have reached more people, by 50-fold, than I reached by filling all the major arenas. . . .”
AP Government Score Calculator (Continued)
“Never mind that you represent majoritarian positions, like full Medicare for all, like loosening up the electoral process so more people can get in and run and vote. It doesn’t matter that you represent majoritarian positions that are taken off the table by the Republican and Democratic Party.”
After reading the scenario, please respond to A, B, and C below.
- Describe a structural barrier in the scenario that makes it less likely that a third-party candidate will be able to secure enough popular support to justify including the candidate in a debate.
- In the context of the scenario, explain how a third-party candidate could still have an influence on public policy despite the barrier described in part A.
- Explain how including the third-party candidate in the scenario could have had a positive impact on participatory democracy.
The exam instructions recommended that students allocate approximately 20 minutes to the above FRQ.
How is the AP Gov Exam Scored?
Section I (multiple-choice) is scored by machine. Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. No points are deducted for incorrect answers, so guess away!
Section II (Free Response) is evaluated and scored by trained AP readers hired by the College Board. Rubrics are provided by the College Board after the exams are administered.
In conclusion, after your raw scores from Sections I and II are calculated, your results are converted to a scaled score from 1-5. Our interactive AP Gov Score Calculator can help you experiment with different scenarios and prepare you for possible score outcomes.
What is the Average AP Gov Score?
In 2023, 329,132 students sat for the AP Gov exam. The mean score was 2.59. It is more important to consider the overall score distributions, though, which show that 49.23% of students scored a 3 or higher. Here’s the full breakdown:
- 79% of students scored a 5
- 35% of students scored a 4
- 09% of students scored a 3
- 95% of students scored a 2
- 82% of students scored a 1
We recommend establishing a target score before sitting for the exam, and reviewing previous score distributions can help you with this process.
How to Get a 5 on AP Gov
As noted, you should determine your own individualized target score before the exam. And guess what? It may not be a 5. Depending on various factors, including your college and major aspirations, your AP course load, and your anticipated AP exam schedule, you may determine that your target score is actually a 3 or a 4. Indeed, even though the AP Gov exam is considered one of the easiest, scoring a 5 is still relatively rare.
The most effective way to prepare for the AP Gov exam is to apply yourself to the AP Gov course. Beyond that, we recommend the following:
- Firstly, familiarize yourself with the exam format
- Also review the “Foundational Documents” and Required Supreme Court Cases. Using flashcards or Quizlet can help.
- Note: The 9 Foundational Documents include materials like the US Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution
- Practice! This includes everything from taking a full-length, timed practice exam to tackling assorted previous Free-Response Questions
- Lastly, use the interactive AP Gov Score Calculator to explore different scenarios and determine where and how to strive for improvements to your score based on your aspirations
When will I know my AP Gov Score?
Lastly, according to the College Board timeline, scores will be made available in July. You’ll be able to access them online using your account username and password.
However, you can reduce uncertainty (and lessen the stress of the waiting period) by preparing adequately for the AP Gov Exam and using the AP Gov Score Calculator to predict your score.
In conclusion, we also wanted to suggest checking out some of our other useful calculators such as: