AP.jpg AP Government and Politics Exam Guide for Unit I


The following SRQ (Short Response Questions) are the actual questions that were originally found in the Advanced Placement United States History Exams that have been held since 1999. Learn from the past and anticipate answering similar questions on the AP Exam this year...

2000 Exam - Question 1: The Constitution was an attempt to address problems of decentralization that were experienced under the Articles of Confederation.
  • List three problems of decentralized power that existed under the Articles of Confederation. For each problem you listed, identify one solution that the Constitution provided to address the problem.
  • Some have argued that the tensions between decentralized and centralized power continue to exist. Support this argument by explaining how one of the following illustrated the continuing tension.
    • Environmental policy
    • Gun control
    • Disability access

2001 Exam - Question 1: The United States Constitution has endured for more than two centuries as the framework of government. However, the meaning of the Constitution has been changed both by formal and informal methods.
  • Identify two formal methods for adding amendments to the Constitution.
  • Describe two informal methods that have been used to change the meaning of the Constitution. Provide one specific example for each informal method you described.
  • Explain why informal methods are used more often than the formal amendment process.

2003 Exam - Question 3: Using the data in the graph located here and your knowledge of United States, perform the following tasks.
  • Identify two trends shown in the graph.
  • Explain how each of the following contributes to the difference between the federal and the state and local lines in the graph.
    • Block grants
    • Federal mandates

2005 Exam - Question 2: The power of the federal government relative to the power of the states has increased since the ratification of the Constitution.
  • Describe two of the following provisions of the Constitution and explain how each has been used over time to expand federal power.
    • The power to tax and spend
    • The "necessary and proper" or "elastic" clause
    • The commerce clause
  • Explain how one of the following has increased the power of the federal government relative to the power of state governments.
    • Americans with Disablities Act
    • Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Clean Air Act

2006 Exam - Question 4: The framers of the United States Constitution created a legislative system that is bicameral. However, it is not just bicameral; the framers also established two houses of distinctly different character and authority.
  • Discuss two reasons why the framers created a bicameral legislature.
  • Identify one power unique to the House of Representatives and explain why the framers gave the House that power.
  • Identify one power unique to the Senate and explain why the framers gave the Senate that power.

2007 Exam - Question 1: A significant feature of the electoral college is that most states have a winner-take-all system.
  • Describe the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college.
  • Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college affects how presidential candidates from the two major political parties run their campaigns.
  • Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college hinders third-party candidates.
  • Explain two reasons why the electoral college has not been abolished.

2007 Exam - Question 4: The framers of the United States Constitution created a federal system.
  • Define federalism.
  • Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the federal government relative to the states.
    • Categorical grants
    • Federal mandates
    • Selective incorporation
  • Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the states relative to the federal government.
    • Welfare Reform Act of 1996
    • Block grants
    • Tenth Amendment

2009 Exam - Question 1: In The Federalist paper number 10, James Madison expressed concern over the possibility that both majority and minority factions would have too much power over government, and he presented ways of minimizing that danger. The United States Constitution established a democratic government but also contained several provisions that limited majority rule. Throughout the next two centuries, the role of majority rule in the United States government and politics continued to change.
  • Identify the part of the national government that was originally most closely tied to citizens and explain how it was tied to citizens.
  • Explain two ways the United States Constitution limited majority rule.
  • Choose two of the following twentieth-century developments and explain how each moved the United States from a less democratic system to a more democratic system.
    • Primary elections
    • The Seventeenth Amendment
    • Expansion of suffrage

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