1. About this Course
It reviews all of the substantive material that is usually taught in one-semester introductory course in American Government and politics at college. It covers topics such as the institutions and policy processes of the federal government, the federal courts and civil liberties, political parties and interest groups, political beliefs and behavior, and the content and history of the Constitution.
"I’ll be teaching you everything you need to know about American Government in order to pass the CLEP exam, earn college credits, and move on to
The exam contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
Our “American Government” course is completely self-paced. There are no prerequisites to take this course, and it is entirely free.
The goal of the creator of this course – Modern States Education Alliance, a non-profit organization – is to prepare you to pass the College Board's CLEP examination and obtain college credit for free.
2. Required Knowledge and Skills
The CLEP exam requires you to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities in the proportions indicated.
Knowledge of American government and politics (about 55%–60% of the exam).
Understanding of typical patterns of political processes and behavior (including the components of the behavioral situation of a political actor), the principles used to explain or justify various governmental structures and procedures (about 30%–35% of the exam).
Analysis and interpretation of simple data that are relevant to American government and politics (10%–15% of the exam).
3. Course Modules
Following are the main topics and percentages of the exam’s questions, mostly based on the College Board's description of the course:
Module 1: Institutions and Policy Processes: The Presidency, Bureaucracy, and Congress (30 %–35 %)
1.1.1 Congress’ Enumerated and Implied Powers
1.1.2 Congress’ Power to Tax
1.1.3 Congressional Organization, Rules, and Committees
1.2 The President
1.2.1 The President and his Powers
1.2.2 The Vice President and the First Lady
1.3 The Bureaucracy
1.3.1 Origins of the Bureaucracy
1.3.2 Bodies of the Bureaucracy
1.4 Structure, Policy Processes, and Outputs: How Legislation Works
1.5 Relationships Among These Institutions and the Links Between Them
1.5.1 The Relationships Between Institutions and the Media
1.5.2 The Role and Types of Media
Module 2: Federal Courts, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights (15 %–20 %)
2.1 Structure and Processes of the Judicial System
2.1.1 The Supreme Court
2.1.2 Judicial Implementation and the Lower Federal Courts
2.2 The Development of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties by Judicial Implementation
2.3 The Bill of Rights
2.4 Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
2.5 Equal Protection and Due Process
Module 3: Political Parties and Interest Groups (10 %–20 %)
3.1 Political Parties
3.1.1 Political Parties’ Historical Development, Function, and Effects
3.1.2 Political Parties Organization and Mobilization: Campaign Finance
3.1.3 Dissension within the Parties
3.1.4 The Role and Nature of Third Parties and the Major Third Parties
3.2 Interest Groups
3.2.1 Defining and Differentiating Between Interest Groups
3.2.2 Laws Governing Lobbyists
Module 4: Political Beliefs and Behavior (15 %–20 %)
4.1 Processes By Which Citizens Learn About Politics
4.2 Political Participation
4.3 Public Opinion
4.4 Beliefs That Citizens Hold About Governments and Its Leaders
4.5 Political Culture
4.6 The Influence of Public Opinion on Political Leaders
Module 5: Constitutional Underpinnings of American Democracy (15 %–20 %)
5.1.1 Federalism in the Constitution
5.1.2 Types of Federalism
5.1.3 Tensions Between Federal and State Governments
5.2 Separation of Powers
5.3 Checks and Balances
5.4 Majority Rule
5.5 Minority Rights
5.6 Considerations that Influenced the Formation and Adoption of the Constitution
5.6.1 Breaking From the British Empire
5.6.2 Philosophical Underpinnings of the National Government
5.6.3 The Articles of Confederation
5.6.4 The National Founding
5.6.5 Ratification and Alteration of the Constitution
5.7 Theories of Democracy
4. About Rebecca Lubot
Rebecca is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, with a defense date scheduled for September 2017. Her dissertation is a political and cultural history of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment (presidential succession and inability). This research interest stems from her professional background that began
Rebecca holds a joint MSc in international history and international relations from The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, England. Majoring in political science, she graduated magna cum laude from Boston University.
5. How CLEP Works
Developed by the College Board, CLEP (College-Level Examination Program®) is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program.
CLEP’s credits are accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities, according to the College Board. These tests assess college-level knowledge in 33 subject areas.
Modern States Education Alliance is the non-profit organization behind these edX-style courses. Its project is called “Freshman Year for Free” and its mission is to make college more accessible and affordable through free, high-quality online education.
• CLEP® American Government: at a Glance
• 'Passing the CLEP and Learning with Modern States' orientation course