Best AP US Government Books – May 2021 Exam

Politics has and will always be a primary source of interest for students in America. Not only does it help them better understand the government, but also to take a better glimpse at its decisions, philosophies, and most central values

After all, high school is normally a time they begin joining the student council or playing a more active role in the community. This serves as a perfect opportunity to align – or compare – their beliefs with that of the country. Doing this should teach them the importance of discernment, due process, and fairness.

It’s easy to shrug this off as just another course requirement, except that it possesses such a valuable learning opportunity. If students really take these ideas to heart, the AP Program isn’t just helping students become smarter; they’re creating fair-minded judges, amiable politicians, compassionate lawyers, and citizens who constantly put the needs of others before their own.

So for those taking the AP US Government and Politics exam, the following resource materials may come in handy.

The Ultimate AP US Government Prep List

Two types of people take the AP US Gov and Politics exam:

  1. Those truly interested in the workings of the government
  2. And those who just want to boost their AP count and show colleges that they challenged themselves in high school.

No matter which student you are, the AP Gov exam will be tough unless you start prepping early. There's a lot of info to learn, and since it's a somewhat unpopular AP, many teachers don't know how to teach it properly.

GOPO can be an extremely complicated topic, which is why having a comprehensive resource material is so important. Cracking the AP US Government and Politics Exam is a highly effective review book that outlines all the major topics of this exam. 

This allows students to focus only on what’s coming out, saving them a ton of time and energy in the process.

Furthermore, the ideas presented in this are done so in a pretty straightforward manner. Very rarely will students feel the need to turn to Google for answers because everything is already laid out in front of them. A setup like this is truly advantageous because it increases the likelihood of retaining information for a longer period of time.

Anyone looking for a solid AP Gov study aid should seriously consider buying this. It’s a great way to refresh your mind – while evaluating what you think you know – in preparation for the actual exam.


  • US Politics is ever-changing and this book is updated with all the newest developments
  • Information is easy to understand, even for beginners
  • Topics discussed are in-line with the real test
  • Perfect for those who are self-studying
  • Digital form of tests is available


  • Not ideal for crash courses or short-term reviews
  • Amount of topics can be overwhelming at times

Compared to other review books on the market, this one is relatively new. Still, flipping through its pages will show just how targeted it is to the actual AP exam. 

As such, it’s a perfect complement for those scrambling to prepare for the test

This book uses a balance of targeted content, helpful summaries, and true-to-life practice tests to get the job done.

Having this is sure to make you feel that they’ve been studying for several months, even if it’s only been for a week. 

On the other hand, students with the luxury of time can likewise utilize this as a sort of refresher course. The AP USGP’s coverage is pretty broad so going through this a week prior to the exam should ignite one’s brain into full-test-mode. 

Whichever the case, it will be a big boost to learning the subject.


  • Compresses all the important points into a bite-sized portion
  • Techniques and summary of terms are especially helpful
  • Provides a nice overview of the exam
  • Affordable


  • Includes only one practice test
  • Does not delve deeper into the different topics

The brand, Kaplan, is known all-over the academic world as a reliable asset for students preparing to tests. Unlike others, it doesn’t offer just accurate info or realistic quizzes, but a whole framework on how to succeed. 

This book comes equipped with a customizable study plan, concentrated content, and even some helpful strategies for the big day. 

Utilizing this setup can do wonders for long-term studying as Kaplan aims to incorporate the values it holds dear into its users. As a result, over 95% of them get into their dream school and go on to reach greater heights.

Teachers and learners have the option to read through the course material or answer the various practice tests. Either way, they’re fully prepared for what to expect in the AP US GOV. 


  • This structure doesn’t just spoon-feed students; it challenges them to be better
  • Comes with several online tests
  • Content discussed is very much aligned with the actual test
  • Possesses a good reputation of customer satisfaction


  • Not yet available on the market now
  • Cannot be used as a crash course reviewer

One of the best things about this review book is how simple it makes the whole preparation process. Aside from discussing information in an easy-to-understand manner, it also leads students through a highly effective, five-step method that has already helped countless others score a 5 on the AP GOPO exam.

Learning to develop strong study habits, while incorporating very useful testing techniques along the way, are two things users are surely going to learn. This makes for a longer lasting effect than just simply memorizing terms or analyzing data. Essentially, this book goes beyond the testing requirement and re-strengthens the values of discipline, efficiency, and organization for this module.

You will likewise find a few practice tests – both digital and printed – included in this package. Although this isn’t the primary focus of this review book, it is nevertheless a nice resource to have around. It should still serve the primary purpose of thoroughly preparing for the assessment.


  • Ideal for long-term preparation
  • Comes with online content that can easily be answered on a phone, tablet, or laptop
  • Concepts are presented in bite-sizes so its easier to absorb
  • Shares specific tactics for each APE part
  • Good reputation is backed up by results


  • Doesn’t offer a whole lot of practice quizzes
  • Less targeted in terms of topics

Test Structure

Just like the other AP exams, the Government and Politics test has a multiple-choice and a free-response portion. Each of the two makes up 50% of the total score, so participants will need to prepare really well for both parts.

All students taking this test are given a maximum of 180 minutes to answer everything. In total, there are 59 questions that need to be resolved – 55 for the first part and four open-ended problems for the second part, which include Concept Application, Quantitative Analysis, Supreme Court Comparison, and Argument Essay.

The period to accomplish everything is sufficient; students will just need to manage it well and employ some tricks found in the prep books to maximize your time.

Those interested to learn more can visit AP Central official website. The official exam dates are also listed here.

Last Time The AP US Gov Exam Was Changed

As per AP Central, the US GOPO recently underwent a shift in curriculum prior to the 2018-2019 school year. This means that the new exam should reflect these changes and challenge students to think in a more holistic way.

One of the key improvements that the College Board has implemented is it has made the entirety of this program more applicable to daily life. Rather than focusing on important dates or people, the course will now ask learners to interpret new sources of information before arriving at their own conclusions. This way, they are able to strengthen both their critical thinking and discernment skills in the process.

Secondly, the revised syllabus also places a bigger emphasis on different primary sources like the US founding documents. The Constitution, Declaration of Independence, as well as 15 pre-selected Supreme Court decision, just to name a few, will all be additional references.

Finally, the subject matter coverage as a whole has become more streamlined, primarily focusing on these five units:

  • Foundation of American Democracy
  • Interactions Among Branches of Government
  • Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
  • Political Participation

Trimming down all unnecessary topics allows teachers to better customize their methods and increase overall efficiency. Learners, on the other hand, now have a clearer direction when reviewing for the test. Everyone involved must take note of these amendments, as these will greatly affect the studying and testing processes.

Additional Tips & Resources For Studying

Those looking for unconventional ways of absorbing information should check these examples out. They’re fun, highly effectual, and best of all, a great way to learn. Interested persons can either use them by themselves or with a group of friends.

AP Barron’s US Government and Politics Flash Cards – Each of these 4.5” by 2.75” cards holds a piece of valuable information on the GOPO. Students can unleash their inner competitive spirit, while preparing well for the APEs.

Khan Academy – This website has all the primary sources needed for the exam. Download them onto a mobile phone or tablet and take them wherever. KA also offers free practice tests for added help.

Crash Course by John Green – Students, nowadays, are visual learners; which means they absorb material faster if it’s presented through videos and images. The Crash Course YouTube channel narrated by John Green illustrates different topics connected with the AP Program. He videos are highly engaging and extremely informative for anyone that’s interested.

Self Study Tips

Preparing for the AP US Government and Politics exam can sometimes feel like drinking from a waterfall. Not only that but going through most data can have a very personal effect on a student’s emotions. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of people feeling sad or disheartened after reading through difficult court decisions or the dark ages of USA’s history. There are all common and ultimately a key component in the learning process.

So for those studying alone, here are some helpful tips to make this journey a bit more meaningful.

Begin with the Primary Sources – The US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and several other relevant documents are usually the most difficult to digest. These offer the most information and are central to the entire exam. As such, students will want to allot a huge chunk of their preparation time on this. Begin by clearing these hurdles and truly understand what these have to say; everything else will come much easier.

Analyze and Apply – Don’t just memorize fact, but ask for the why behind each one. Every occurrence discussed in these resources has or will have a profound effect on the United States of America. As students on the cusp of being considered adults, it’s always important to know the social repercussions of these actions.

After Each Big Idea, Take a Break – No, this doesn’t mean watch Netflix or take a nap. Once each main concept has been cleared, it’s important to pause and let the mind recharge. It’s likewise advantageous to let one’s brain wander around as a way to let all the information sink in.

Follow the Course Outline – This always serves as a student’s compass, point them on the right path and serving as their guide in times of need. So, it’s proves helpful to construct one’s entire study plan around this piece of paper. This has helped thousands of test-takers before, and it surely won’t fail anyone today.


Now that everyone has begun preparing for the AP US GOPOs, it’s easy to get swept away with all the data. Therefore, it becomes all the more essential to stick to the outline, scrutinize data well, and go deeper than what the books say. If this process is followed, you will find more meaning in each of their study sessions.

Of course, relying on these review books, won’t hurt either.