The exam is 2 hours and 25 minutes long and has two sections — multiple choice and free-response.

Section I: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 45 minutes | 50% of Total Exam Score

Questions will focus on the core countries of the course: China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. The portion of multiple-choice questions covering each topic area is:

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics (5%)
  • Sovereignty, Authority, and Power (20%)
  • Political Institutions (35%)
  • Citizens, Society, and the State (15%)
  • Political and Economic Change (15%)
  • Public Policy (10%)

This outline is a guide — it is not a complete list of topics or a preferred order of topics.

Section II: Free-Response | 8 Questions | 1 hour and 40 minutes | 50% of Total Exam Score

The free-response section contains three types of questions:

  • Type I: Short Answer | 5 questions
    • You’ll be asked to define concepts from the course topic outline and provide supporting information from the six core countries of the course.
    • Recommended timing:  25 minutes total
  • Type II: Conceptual | 1 question
    • Requires analysis and will be about a major concept from the course topic outline.
    • Recommended timing:  25 minutes total
  • Type III: Country Specific | 2 questions
    • Asks for specific information and analysis of the core countries from the course.
    • Recommended timing: 50 minutes total

You are expected to follow the question directions and to provide the same number of examples, explanations, or selections (i.e. tasks) that the question requests. If you provide more than the required number of responses for the prompt and any one of the examples provided is incorrect, then you will earn partial credit at most.

In addition, pay close attention to the task verbs in the question, for each directs you to complete a specific type of response.

Task Verbs:

  • Identify: provide a specific answer that does not require causal explanation
  • Define: provide a specific meaning for a word or concept in order to distinguish it from similar words or concepts
  • Describe: provide the essential details or characteristics of a particular concept or political phenomenon
  • Explain: provide a logical connection or causal pattern that exists between or among various political phenomena
  • Compare: provide an explicit statement that connects two or more concepts, occurrences, or countries
  • Evaluate/Assess: provide an explicit connection that applies a certain standard to a given scenario or outcome using supporting evidence


Links to More AP Pages