Best AP US Government Books – May 2023 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 helps them to take a better glimpse at its decisions, philosophies, and most central values

After all, high school is normally a time students 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 AP US Government exam 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. That is, unless you start prepping early. There's a lot of info to learn, and since the US Government and Politics is a somewhat unpopular AP, many teachers don't know how to teach it properly.

Finding the best AP US Government review book for you is no easy task. Each student will have different strengths and weaknesses. We've compiled a range of study guides and focused review books, each tackling different areas of the AP Government and Politics exam.

Ask yourself whether your weaknesses lie. For example, if you're struggling with political concepts and content or history prep, find a comprehensive content review that focuses on those areas. Invest in a review book that will help you maximize your study time.

the princeton review ap government and politics prep

US Government and Politics can be an extremely complicated topic, which is why having a comprehensive resource material is so important. The Princeton Review 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 they need to, saving them a ton of time and energy in the process.

Furthermore, the ideas presented in The Princeton Review AP Government and Politics review book are done so in a pretty straightforward manner. Very rarely will students feel the need to turn to Google for answers - 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.

This AP review book also features three practice tests to prepare students for the questions that will come up in this AP exam. 

Keep in mind that this AP Government review book isn't for those looking for a crash course or a quick review.

Anyone looking for a solid AP Gov study aid should seriously consider buying this Princeton Review AP test prep material. 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 prep 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
  • Great book 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
crash course ap us government and politics

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

As such, this in-depth review book is a perfect complement for students scrambling to prepare for the AP test.

This review book uses a balance of targeted content, helpful summaries, and true-to-life practice tests to get the job done. You can study with a mini practice test in the book, and a full-length practice exam online, ensuring you'll remain confident when it comes to taking the AP test.

This AP US Government and Politics Crash Course is sure to make you feel that you've been studying for several months, even if it’s only been a week. 

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

Whichever the case, this is one of the best AP US Government review books to boost your learning.


  • 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 prep book


  • Only includes one practice test
  • Does not delve deeper into the different topics
kaplan ap us government and politics

The brand, Kaplan, is known all-over the academic world as a reliable asset for students preparing for AP tests. Unlike other books, it doesn’t just offer accurate info or realistic quizzes, but a whole framework on how to succeed. That's why it's one of the best AP review books you can use to prepare for the exam. 

This AP US Government and Politics review book comes equipped with a customizable study plan, concentrated content and in-depth key concepts, and even some helpful strategies for the big day. You also get three practice tests to help hone your skills.

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 ace the college admissions process, 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.

In fact, Kaplan are so confident in their review materials that if you don't ger a high score on the AP exam, you'll get your money back. The same can't be said for other books. Students who use this review book will be 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


  • No glossary or index
  • Cannot be used as a crash course reviewer

One of the best things about this AP US Government and Politics 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 exam.

Learning to develop strong study habits, while incorporating useful testing techniques along the way, are two things users will learn from this review book. 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'll find a few full-length practice tests – both digital and printed – included with this package. Although the practice exams aren't the primary focus of this review book, they are, nevertheless, a nice resource to have around. Practice questions should still serve the primary purpose of thoroughly preparing you for the AP US Government and Politics exam.

If you're looking for actionable steps to prepare for the exam, this is the best AP book for you.


  • 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 section. Each of the two parts makes up 50% of the total score, so participants will need to prepare really well for both.

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.

Students will need to manage it well and employ some tricks found in the prep books to maximize their time.

Remember that different review books will help you with different areas. If you find the multiple choice section easy but are struggling with the free response questions, find a review book that has practice exams on that.

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 AP US Government and Politics course 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. Students, 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. Students can either use them by themselves or with a group of friends. These materials work best when paired with other test prep resources, such as the US Government and Politics review books on our list.

AP Barron’s US Government and Politics Flash Cards – Each of these 4.5” by 2.75” flash cards holds a piece of valuable information on the AP US Government and Politics exam. 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 you go. KA also offers free practice tests for added help.

Crash Course by John Green – Many students 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. His 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 overwhelming, thanks to the overload of information. Not only that but going through the 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 easier.

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 AP US Government and Politics exam. As such, students will want to allot a huge chunk of their preparation time on this. Once you've mastered this, everything else will come much easier. From there, you can try a history textbook or a Government review book to further your knowledge.

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

After Each Big Idea, Take a Break – Once each main concept has been cleared, or you've finished a chapter in your prep book, it’s important to pause and let the mind recharge. Let your 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, pointing them on the right path and serving as their guide in times of need. It's the best way to understand what the College Board is looking for. Try to construct your entire study plan around this piece of paper. This has helped thousands of test-takers before, and it won’t fail anyone today.


Once you have begun preparing for the AP US Government and Politics exam, it’s easy to get swept up in all the information. That's why it's all the more essential to stick to the outline, scrutinize data well, and go more in-depth than what the review books say. If you follow this process, you'll find more meaning in each of your study sessions.

Of course, relying on the best AP US Government and Politics review books won’t hurt either. Make sure to find good quality prep books and materials that suit you and your learning style. If you're struggling to memorize key words, try flash cards. If you want a breakdown of concepts, look for a comprehensive review that focuses on key areas. If it's the exam format and timing that you find tricky, find a prep book that features practice questions or full-length practice tests. The more you understand your study style, the better you'll do in the exam.