AP US Government Practice Test

The AP U.S. Government & Politics course covers the United States political system, and is one of the most popular advanced placement classes.  The exam covers the general concepts that are used to interpret the U.S. Political System as well as the analysis of specific examples.  Try our free AP Government practice test to see if you are fully prepared for your exam.

AP U.S. Government Multiple Choice Questions:

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Question 1
What kind of tax takes a higher percentage of income from upper income groups than from lower income groups?
A
Regressive Tax
B
Progressive Tax
C
Fair Tax
D
Flat Tax
E
Payroll Tax
Question 1 Explanation: 
With a progressive tax, the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases. With a regressive tax, the relative tax rate increases as an individual's ability to pay it decreases.
Question 2
All of the following are true of gerrymandering EXCEPT:
A
It can be used to create majority-minority districts.
B
The term was created after Governor Elbridge Gerry redistricted Massachusetts in 1812.
C
It's used to establish a political advantage for a party or group by manipulating boundaries of electoral districts.
D
It is generally favored by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.
E
It can be used to spread out voters of a particular type to deny them a large voting bloc in any particular district.
Question 2 Explanation: 
Gerrymandering is widely used and supported by Republicans and Democrats.
Question 3
In which one of these cases did the Supreme Court rule that the Constitution protects a right to privacy?
A
Griswold v. Connecticut
B
Texas v. Johnson
C
McCulloch v. Maryland
D
Korematsu v. United States
E
Marbury v. Madison
Question 3 Explanation: 
In a 7-2 decision the court found that a Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives was in violation of the "right to marital privacy".
Question 4
Which of the following best defines earmarks?
A
Money set aside for interest payments on the debt.
B
Legislative provisions that direct approved funds to be spent on specific projects.
C
Agricultural subsidies and farm price supports.
D
Spending authorized by permanent law on programs like Social Security and Medicare.
E
Appropriated entitlements, such as food stamps.
Question 4 Explanation: 
Earmarks typically involve a legislator seeking to direct a specified amount of money to a particular project in their home state or district.
Question 5
Which of the following are required in order to become a United States Senator?  I Must be a natural born U.S. citizen.  II Must be at  least 30 years old.  III Must have served at least one term as a Representative.  IV Must be a resident of the state they represent.
A
I & II
B
I & III
C
I & IV
D
II & III
E
II & IV
Question 5 Explanation: 
As stated in the Constitution, a Senator must be at least 30, must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years, and must be an inhabitant of the state they represent.
Question 6
Who wrote the majority of the articles in the Federalist Papers?
A
Thomas Jefferson
B
Alexander Hamilton
C
James Madison
D
John Jay
E
John Hancock
Question 6 Explanation: 
The Federalist Papers consist of 85 articles which promote the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Alexander Hamilton wrote 51 of them, James Madison wrote 26, John Jay wrote 5, and the remaining 3 were written jointly by Hamilton and Madison.
Question 7
All of the following are true of 527 Groups EXCEPT:
A
There is an individual contribution limit of $2,500 per year.
B
The label "527" refers to a section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
C
They may not advocate for a specific candidate.
D
They must register with the IRS and disclose their donors.
E
Most of them focus on issue advocacy and voter mobilization.
Question 7 Explanation: 
There is no contribution limit for 527's and no restriction on who may contribute.
Question 8
Texas v. Johnson was a Supreme Court decision concerning:
A
Political expenditures by corporations.
B
Separation of church and state.
C
States rights.
D
Health insurance mandates.
E
Desecration of the American Flag.
Question 8 Explanation: 
In Texas v. Johnson the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning is protected speech under the 1st Amendment.
Question 9
Which article of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of government?
A
Article One
B
Article Two
C
Article Three
D
Article Four
E
Article Five
Question 9 Explanation: 
Article Two has 4 sections. Section 1: President and Vice President. Section 2: Presidential powers. Section 3: Presidential responsibilities. Section 4: Impeachment.
Question 10
The act of a legislature which declares a person guilty of a crime and punishes them without a judicial trial is a
A
writ of coram nobis
B
writ of mandamus
C
writ of certiorari
D
bill of attainder
E
legislative privilege
Question 10 Explanation: 
Bills of attainder were used by Britain and were one of the motivations for the American Revolution. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution forbids bills of attainder.
Question 11
Which act of Congress was designed to balance the budget by providing automatic spending cuts when the deficit exceeded a set of fixed targets?
A
Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act
B
Sarbanes-Oxley Act
C
Hatch Act
D
McCain-Feingold Act
E
Dodd-Frank Act
Question 11 Explanation: 
The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 was passed in an effort to cut the historically large deficit.
Question 12
Sugar tariffs are used to keep sugar prices high and to benefit a small group of U.S. sugar growers.  This best exemplifies which type of politics?
A
conviction politics
B
client politics
C
majoritarian politics
D
entrepreneurial politics
E
ideological politics
Question 12 Explanation: 
With client politics the benefits are concentrated and the costs are widely distributed. Special interests are pitted against the general public.
Question 13
The iron triangle is a term used to describe the policy-making relationship between which three groups?
A
President, Congressional Committees, Supreme Court
B
President, Congressional Committees, American Public
C
Interest Groups, Political Action Committees, Bureaucracy
D
Congressional Committees, American Public, Interest Groups
E
Congressional Committees, Interest Groups, Government Agencies
Question 13 Explanation: 
The iron triangle describes the close policy-making relationship between congressional committees, interest groups, and government agencies/bureaucracy. The result is often pork barrel politics that benefit narrow groups while leaving the general public worse off.
Question 14
Which Constitutional Amendment addresses presidential succession and the filling of vacancies in the office of the Vice President?
A
twenty-third
B
twenty-fourth
C
twenty-fifth
D
twenty-sixth
E
twenty-seventh
Question 14 Explanation: 
Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution was ambiguous with regard to Presidential succession and disability, didn't state who had the power to declare a President incapacitated, and didn't provide a mechanism for filling a Vice Presidential vacancy. The 25th amendment cleared up these troublesome issues when it was adopted in 1967.
Question 15
Which of the following best describes the politics of Libertarians?
A
Conservative on economic issues and unconcerned about social issues.
B
Conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues.
C
Liberal on economic issues and conservative on social issues.
D
Unconcerned about economic issues and liberal on social issues.
E
Liberal on economic issues and liberal on social issues.
Question 15 Explanation: 
Libertarianism is a political philosophy that emphasizes individual liberty. Libertarians want to minimize the power of the state in both economic and social matters.
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About the AP U.S. Government Test:
The exam is 2 hours and 25 minutes long, and is divided into two sections.  The AP Government Multiple Choice section is 45 minutes long and has 60 questions.  Each question has five possible answers, and no points are deducted for incorrect answers.  So make sure you answer all the questions, even if you are just guessing on some.

The Free-Response section is 100 minutes long and has four essay questions.  Each of the essay questions are weighted equally, so you should spend approximately 25 minutes on each of them.  Students are expected to demonstrate analytical and organizational skills, while incorporating specific examples into their answers.