AP Government Diagnostic Test

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AP Government Quizzes & Trivia

This test is a sample of questions from all the topics we will cover this semester. This grade will not be entered in the gradebook, rather you get a grade for completion. This is intended to show your baseline before we cover any material.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    The Constitution as ratified in 1788 most clearly reflects the framers' commitment to

    • A.

      The idea of direct democracy

    • B.

      The principle of limited government

    • C.

      The abolition of slavery

    • D.

      Protecting the right of the accused

    • E.

      Maintaining the primacy of the states

    Correct Answer
    B. The principle of limited government
    Explanation
    A constitution specifies what the government is allowed to do, and also what it may not do. In setting distinct limits on government power, the framers of the U.S. Constitution hoped to prevent the government from achieving the same level of power as had the British monarchy.

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  • 2. 

    Which of the following most accurately describes The Federalist Papers

    • A.

      The Federalist party platform during the presidency of John Adams, the first Federalist president

    • B.

      A popular anti-British booklet of the pre-Revolutionary era

    • C.

      A collection of essays arguing the merits of the Constitution

    • D.

      A series of congressional acts defining the relationship between the federal and state governments

    • E.

      The laws under which the South was governed during Reconstruction

    Correct Answer
    C. A collection of essays arguing the merits of the Constitution
    Explanation
    The Federalists Papers were written to sway support for the constitution before it was adopted. The Federalist Papers addressed many of the concerns some had about the powers and authority written into the Constitution.

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  • 3. 

    A Supreme Court that demonstrates a willingness to change public policy and alter judicial precedent is said to be engaging in

    • A.

      Judicial activism

    • B.

      Due process

    • C.

      Judicial restraint

    • D.

      Ex post facto lawmaking

    • E.

      Judicial review

    Correct Answer
    A. Judicial activism
    Explanation
    judicial activism refers to the actions of a court that frequently strikes down or alters the acts of the executive and/or legislative branches. Activist judiciaries are also willing to overturn previous rulings. Judicial activism expands the court's impact on public policy.

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  • 4. 

    A writ of Certiorari from the Supreme Court indicates that the Court

    • A.

      Will review a lower court decision

    • B.

      Has rendered a decision on a case

    • C.

      Has decided not to hear an appeal

    • D.

      Will recess until the end of the calendar year

    • E.

      Plans to overturn one of its previous rulings

    Correct Answer
    A. Will review a lower court decision
    Explanation
    A writ of Ceritorari is a document issued by the Supreme Court that requests all the records pertaining to a case. This indicates the Court will consider the case. It will be issued when four of the nine justices agree to hear a case.

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  • 5. 

    American foreign policy is directed primarily by the

    • A.

      House of Representatives

    • B.

      Senate

    • C.

      President

    • D.

      Supreme Court

    • E.

      Federal bureaucracy

    Correct Answer
    C. President
    Explanation
    As the chief of State, the president is the most powerful force in US foreign policy.

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  • 6. 

    "We conclude that in the field of education the docterine of 'separate but equal' has no place.  Separate education facilities are inherently unequal." The Supreme Court issued this opinion in its ruling on which of the following cases?

    • A.

      Gideon v. Wainwright

    • B.

      Marbury v. Madison

    • C.

      Engel v. Vitale

    • D.

      Regents of University of California v. Bakke

    • E.

      Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Correct Answer
    E. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
    Explanation
    In 1954, The Supreme Court heard the anti-segregation case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a lawsuit brought on behalf of Linda Brown ( a black school age child) by the NAACP. Then future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall argued the case for Brown. in a 9-0 decision, The Supreme Court overturned "Separate but equal" established in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

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  • 7. 

    Under which of the following circumstances is congress LEAST likely to pass a bill the president has threatened to veto?

    • A.

      The president's public approval rating is extremely high

    • B.

      A failed attempt has been made to develop a compromise bill with the White House

    • C.

      The party controlling Congress is not the president's party

    • D.

      The president has also expressed the possibility that he might not veto the bill

    • E.

      Congressional leaders believe they have the votes necessary to override a veto

    Correct Answer
    A. The president's public approval rating is extremely high
    Explanation
    Its extremely difficult to override a presidential veto, so congress will rarely pass a bill they know the presidnent will veto. The task of getting 2/3 of congress to override the president is nearly impossible when the president's approval rating is high because a veto override often required members of the presidents party. This party cross over usually only occurs when the president is already unpopular.

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  • 8. 

    Which of the following best describes the practice of "Ticket Splitting"?

    • A.

      A presidential nominee selects a running mate who can appeal to voter groups whose support of the nominee is weak

    • B.

      A voter chooses the presidential nominee of one major party, but chooses congressional nominees of the other major party

    • C.

      A mayor orders the local police force to hand out fewer parking tickets in the weeks leading up to the general election

    • D.

      A delegate to a national party convention supports the front-runner but remains uncommitted on the party platform

    • E.

      A member of Congress votes against legislation proposed by his or her party leader.

    Correct Answer
    B. A voter chooses the presidential nominee of one major party, but chooses congressional nominees of the other major party
    Explanation
    Ticket splitting has become a common phenomenon in the past 30 years. in the distant past, the same party typically controlled the presidency and Congress.

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  • 9. 

    The Rules Committee is considered among the most powerful in the House of Representatives because it has great power over the

    • A.

      Ethical conduct of House members

    • B.

      Selection of federal judges

    • C.

      Number of subcommittees that a standing committee may establish at any given time

    • D.

      Scheduling of votes and the conditions under which bills are debated and amended

    • E.

      Regulations governing federal elections

    Correct Answer
    D. Scheduling of votes and the conditions under which bills are debated and amended
    Explanation
    because the membership of the HofR is so large, the process by which bills are debated and amended must be limited (The senate is smaller so it doesnt need as many rules for this process). The task of setting these limits falls to the House Rules Committee controls the terms of debate and the scheduling of floor votes, it is considered among the most powerful House committees. Generally the party in control of the house will get 2/3 of the seats on the rules committee

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  • 10. 

    Compared with political parties in countries such as England and Israel, both of which have multiparty systems, American political parties are

    • A.

      Less interested in influencing the outcome of elections

    • B.

      Less clearly identified with consistent political ideologies

    • C.

      Less effective at raising money from political supporters

    • D.

      Better able to reflect the goals of their entire constituencies

    • E.

      More likely to organize around a single issue or goal

    Correct Answer
    B. Less clearly identified with consistent political ideologies
    Explanation
    parties in multiparty systems tend to be smaller and more closely identified with particular ideologies and political goals. Parties in a two-party system, on the other hand, present more general platforms in order to win a simple majority of the electorate.

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  • 11. 

    Which of the following people would most likely be accused of influence peddling?

    • A.

      A congressperson who retires to take a position teaching political science at a university

    • B.

      A former president who advises a current president on a particular foreign policy issue

    • C.

      A voter who researches the positions of all candidates in a race before choosing whom to support

    • D.

      A judge who consistently hands down the maximum sentence to convict felons

    • E.

      An official who leaves the State Department to work as a paid consultant to foreign governments

    Correct Answer
    E. An official who leaves the State Department to work as a paid consultant to foreign governments
    Explanation
    when government officials resign from office, many remain in Washington to work as consultants. Such individuals can use the contacts they made while in government to influence public policy. Often they work as or with lobbyists. The term influence peddling is used to describe their actions when they exploit their friendships with current government officials to achieve a political goal.

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  • 12. 

    The only president to resign from office was

    • A.

      Calvin Coolidge

    • B.

      Spiro Agnew

    • C.

      Lyndon Johnson

    • D.

      Richard Nixon

    • E.

      Zachary Taylor

    Correct Answer
    D. Richard Nixon
    Explanation
    Richard Nixon is the correct answer because he is the only president in history to have resigned from office. Nixon resigned in 1974 following the Watergate scandal, where he was implicated in the cover-up of illegal activities carried out by his administration. His resignation marked a significant event in American politics and led to the appointment of Gerald Ford as the new president.

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  • 13. 

    Impeachment cases must be tried in the I . Senate only II. House only III. Senate and House IV. Senate and House with the Supreme Court residing

    • A.

      IV

    • B.

      I

    • C.

      I and II

    • D.

      II

    • E.

      III

    Correct Answer
    B. I
    Explanation
    According to the Constitution, the House of Representatives brings charges of impeachment, where as the Senate tries, or sits in judgement of, impeachment cases

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  • 14. 

    The Supreme Court of the United States has both original and appellate jurisdiction.  The Court usually hears cases on appeal and decides only a few cases each year.  Who decides which cases the court will here.

    • A.

      The chief justice of the Supreme Court

    • B.

      The members of the Supreme Court as a group

    • C.

      The attorney general of the United States

    • D.

      The solicitor general of the United States

    • E.

      The chief associate judge of the Supreme Court

    Correct Answer
    B. The members of the Supreme Court as a group
    Explanation
    The members of the Supreme Court as a group decide which cases the court will hear. This decision-making process is done through a process called the "Rule of Four," where at least four justices must agree to grant a case a writ of certiorari, which means they agree to hear the case. Once the case is granted, the court will hear oral arguments from both sides and then make a final decision on the case. The Chief Justice does not have sole authority in deciding which cases to hear, but they do play a significant role in shaping the court's agenda.

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  • 15. 

    Bicameralism is

    • A.

      Impeachment cases must be tried in the I . Senate only II. House only III. Senate and House IV. Senate and House with the Supreme Court residing a legislative body dominated by two major political parties

    • B.

      A legislative body composed of one house

    • C.

      A legislative body composed of two houses

    • D.

      A legislative body that shares powers with a judiciary

    • E.

      A legislative body that shares power with an executive

    Correct Answer
    C. A legislative body composed of two houses
    Explanation
    Bicameralism in the United States is our legislative branch made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It doesnt matter what party controls the power of those houses.

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  • 16. 

    A primary election open only to known voters of a political party would best be described as a(n)

    • A.

      Open primary

    • B.

      Indirect primary

    • C.

      Blanket primary

    • D.

      Wide-open primary

    • E.

      Closed primary

    Correct Answer
    E. Closed primary
    Explanation
    The primary is closed only to the voters of a particular party affiliation

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  • 17. 

    What is the minimum age requirement for a U.S. Senator

    • A.

      25

    • B.

      30

    • C.

      35

    • D.

      There is no age requirement

    • E.

      18

    Correct Answer
    B. 30
    Explanation
    The U.S. Constitution says a Senator must be 30 years old.

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  • 18. 

    Which of the following best describes a public interest group?

    • A.

      A public interest group seeks benefits of its self-interest

    • B.

      A public interest groups seeks to benefit the nation as a whole rather than its self interest

    • C.

      A public interest groups seeks to destroy government bureaucracy

    • D.

      A public interest groups seek to provide information to certain groups within Congress

    • E.

      A public interest groups seek to win support of the president

    Correct Answer
    B. A public interest groups seeks to benefit the nation as a whole rather than its self interest
    Explanation
    Public interest groups such as MADD (mothers against Drunk Driving) seek to benefit the public as a whole. Special interest groups work in their own interests.

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  • 19. 

    How many court of appeals are there in the federal court system?

    • A.

      1

    • B.

      90

    • C.

      6

    • D.

      12

    • E.

      50

    Correct Answer
    D. 12
    Explanation
    There are 12 courts of appeals in the federal court system. These courts are responsible for hearing appeals from the district courts and specialized courts in their respective regions. Each court of appeals has jurisdiction over a specific geographic area, and they play a crucial role in the federal judicial system by ensuring that decisions made by lower courts are fair and consistent with the law.

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  • 20. 

    What is the total membership of the Electoral College?

    • A.

      435

    • B.

      535

    • C.

      438

    • D.

      538

    • E.

      270

    Correct Answer
    D. 538
    Explanation
    There are 538 members of the electoral college. Each state gets 2 for the number of senators they have plus the numbers of representatives they have. Total there are 435 representatives and 100 senators which makes 535. Then Washington D.C. gets 3 electoral votes.

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Our quizzes are rigorously reviewed, monitored and continuously updated by our expert board to maintain accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

  • Current Version
  • Mar 20, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Jan 02, 2014
    Quiz Created by
    Spbadgley
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