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What To Know For The Ap Psychology Exam

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Tip : Write In Complete Sentences Not Complete Essays

2021 AP Psychology Exam Review

Although this isn’t really a study tip, I think it’s important to know before the exam it probably also applies to in-class tests.

Psychology is about your grasp of sciencenot Englishso don’t bother with introductions, conclusions, or any other fluff in your answers to the free-response questions. All you need to do is give a direct answer in a complete sentence. You’ll save time and make it easier for the graders to give you points.

It’s smart to get used to doing this on practice free-response questions so that you’ll be a pro by exam time.

Overall How To Study For Ap Psychology Tips

1. Master the terminology: Knowing the terms frequently tested on the AP® Psychology exam will go a long way to improving your score. Create ways to remember important names and contributions and ensure that you understand how theories and concepts interact with one another.

2. Group study: Studying for AP® Psychology doesnt have to be lonely! Tag team with your friends or classmates to prepare for the test. Group studying can be highly effective if everyone goes in with an open mind towards learning. It is a good way to bounce knowledge off of one another, and create a group facilitation effect. Teaching concepts to others is also one of the most effective ways to study.

3. Isolate your weaknesses: If you know something like the back of your hand, then there is no need to spend too much time reviewing it. Instead, focus your efforts on areas that you know you need to improve upon. Often students like studying to feel easy so they only review concepts they already know. While that is OK for confidence building, it isnt a great strategy for preparing for the full exam.

4. Complete your reading: Often times students think they can just memorize several hundred psychology terms and be okay on the test. The problem is that if you do not complete your reading, you will struggle to apply the terms on the test. Your textbook is one of the best ways to make the connection between terms.


Ap Psychology Exam Study Tip #: Psychology Is A Science

Psychological researchers use the scientific method to gather data and test hypotheses about the mind and behavior instead of relying on intuition, what the majority of people believe, or common sense. Often what people refer to as common sense offers contradictory ideas. Regarding attraction, common sense tells us both that opposites attract and that birds of a feather flock together. Psychological researchers carefully gather data about topics like attraction to reach conclusions rather than relying on intuition or belief. Understanding research methodology is vital to your performance on the exam and your understanding of the science of psychology.

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Cramming For Your Ap Psychology Test

Yikes! Your test is just around the corner and you havent given yourself enough time to study.

Before you start randomly cramming for your AP Psychology test, you need to understand what content to focus on and how you should cram.

The AP Psychology exam tests your mastery of skills and concepts.

To be successful you must be familiar with the history of the field of psychology, past and present research methods, and the biological and emotional bases for human behavior.

The following table outlines the skills and the weight they carry on the exam.

Two Factor Theory Of Emotion


Introduced by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer, this theory relies on the fact that the feeling of arousal interacts with the identification of that arousal. This is what causes emotions to occur because the individual needs to first feel the arousal but they are incapable of true emotion until they actually achieve an understanding of what the arousal is. They are then capable of experiencing an emotion of any type.

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The Ap Psychology Exam

Remember, simply taking the AP Psychology course is not enough to earn college credit students must also pass the AP Psychology exam. The test itself consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which count for 66.7% of your score, and two free-response questions, which count for 33.3% of your score. You have 70 minutes to complete the multiple-choice section and 50 minutes for the free-response questions. You can find sample tests on the College Board website. You can also find study materials and practice exams available on various sites online.

Ap Psychology Score Distribution Average Score And Passing Rate


In 2019, 64.5% of students who took the AP Psychology exam received a score of 3 or higher. 20.5% of students received the top score of 5, while 22% scored a 1 on the exam.

Keep in mind that credit and advanced standing based on AP scores varies widely from college to college. While a 3 is generally considered passing, you may need a 4 or 5 to receive credit. Some schools dont grant credit at all, and only use AP exams for placement. You can find regulations regarding which AP exams qualify for course credits or advanced placement at specific colleges on the College Boards website.

A full course description that can help to guide your studying can be found in the College Board AP Psych course description. If youre curious about other score distributions, see our post Easiest and Hardest AP Exams.

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Learn To Budget Your Time Appropriately

This is something you can do in conjunction with taking practice tests. On the AP Psychology test, you only have about 40 seconds for each multiple-choice question. This means you have to be smart about skipping questions that are taking up too much of your time .

If you take a practice test and find that you’re often running out of time, you might need to push yourself to work faster or move on from difficult questions more quickly.

You’ll also have just 25 minutes for each free-response question on the test. The good news is that free-response questions on AP Psychology are scored based on the information you provide and not on your mastery of the essay format. Basically, you don’t have to write an introduction and a conclusion, which will save you a lot of time.

Unit : Biological Bases Of Behavior

Psychology major takes the AP Psych Exam…
  • The interaction of inherited traits, environment, and evolution in shaping behavior
  • Structures and functions of biological systems, including the endocrine system and nervous system
  • Brain function, neural firing, and the influence of medication
  • The study of the brain and research techniques for studying its structure and function
  • States of consciousness, including sleeping and dreaming
  • Addiction and drug dependence

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

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Take Another Practice Test

As you did at the very beginning of your studying, take a practice test to evaluate your progress. You should see a steady progression of knowledge youve accumulated, and its likely that you will see patterns identifying which areas have improved the most and which areas still need improvement. If you have time, repeat each of the steps above to incrementally increase your score.

Arousal Theory Of Motivation

This theory states that human beings will do whatever it takes to achieve their optimum level of arousal. This means that they will engage in a variety of different activities or tasks designed to help the body feel most excited and aroused such as sky diving or other activities. This theory states that those who have a high amount of arousal will continue to increase the risk of their activities until they achieve that optimum level.

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When Do Ap Psychology Scores Typically Come Out

Typically, the scores for the AP® Psychology exam will come out at the beginning of July. This scoring timeline has shifted a bit given the changes to the 2021 AP® exam season.

According to the latest update from the College Board exam season timeline, students who took either of the first two AP® Psychology exam dates will receive their scores by the end of July. Students who took their test on the third exam date will receive their scores by mid-August.

The College Board typically sends scores out based on the geographic location of the student . They have not signalled any intention to change this process for 2021.

Mississippi Student One Of Six On Earth To Earn Perfect Ap Psych Scoreyour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link

What you need to know about the AP Psych exam

Because AP tests, there’s a lot of questions and a lot of points that are possible, and because of that, it’s really easy to miss points as well.” The two-hour college prep test gauges your understanding of psychological concepts and ability to analyze behavioral studies.


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Tips Submitted By Ap Psychology Teachers

1. Make a chart for the free response questions so you dont forget anything and lose valuable points. Thanks for the tip from Cory S. from Laramie Senior High!

2. RELAX. If you are stuck on an question, go back to it. Its important to answer as many correctly as you can. Thanks for the tip from Jennifer A. from Windsor High.

3. Stress makes people stupid, so relax. If you know your stuff you will be fine and if you dont, well stressing out about it wont help. Thanks for the tip from Ron E. from Goshen High.

4. Use the knowledge you are acquiring about your brain and behavior to your academic advantage. Be willing to adjust your studying and learning strategies to incorporate what youve learned to use your brain more efficiently. Thanks for the tip from Kristi B. from Traverse City Central High.

5. Be sure to read the essay questions carefully and relate the response to the prompt specifically. Thanks for the tip from Keith M. from Ball High.

6. Create themes for each of the Major Units so as to be well prepared for the two Free Response Questions. Thanks for the tip from Kelly G. from Timberline High.

7. Use flashcards. Know the vocabulary! Thanks for the tip from Michael S. at Roosevelt High and Matt D. from Waupun Junior/Senior High.

8. Know each perspective and the terms associated with each. This has helped students tremendously. Thanks for the tip from Sharon C. from Crestview High.

Are you a teacher or student? Do you have an awesome tip?

The Albert Team

Tip : Make The Abstract Concrete

With all the confusing terminology involved in this course, it’s easy to get mixed up and think that a term means one thing when it really means another. Since psychology deals with how people act and process information on a day-to-day basis, it’s a great idea to connect terms to specific scenarios in your life.

For example, you might connect a term such as “reciprocity norm,” which says that people tend to treat others the same way they have been treated, to a situation in which a store employee was rude to you. Maybe they received poor treatment from other customers and were reflecting that back onto you .

When you make this type of connection, the term becomes stickier in your memory because it’s tied to the heavy weight of a real-life experience. You can practice applying psychology terms to your everyday life at any time as the concepts are constantly demonstrated all around us.

I don’t mean that you should literally make things concrete. However, even this picture could be relevant because it looks like a scene from some sort of serial killer horror movie. You can use it to remember Antisocial Personality Disorder.

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What Is The Ap Psychology Exam Format For 2020

The 2020 AP Psychology exam will be an open book/open note exam based entirely on free-response questions. There will be no multiple choice questions as there were in the past.

For free examples of free-response questions, check here for the actual questions posed in the 2019 AP Psychology exam and here for those posed in the 2018 AP Psychology exam.

Go Over Testing Strategies

AP Psychology Test Tips – Multiple Choice

Before you take a practice test, you should be aware of the testing pitfalls that might impact your score. Don’t sacrifice points on practice tests due to factors unrelated to your knowledge of the material. Here are some strategies for different types of test questions.

Multiple-Choice Questions

As I mentioned earlier, the AP Psych exam doesn’t give you a ton of time for each multiple-choice question. If you have the tendency to get stuck on difficult questions, you’ll need to keep this in mind during the test.

Try to avoid spending more than 30 seconds on each question , and don’t worry too much about temporarily skipping a few. You should still eventually go back to them and put something down, though, as there’s no penalty for incorrect answers. It’s perfectly OK to randomly guess on a question you don’t know the answer to if you’re running out of time.

Also note that it’s possible to get a 5 on the AP Psychology test, even if you get wrong around 20 to 30 multiple-choice questions.

Finally, don’t let yourself overthink multiple-choice questions. The questions can sound and look complex, but most of the time they’re not overly difficult if you know the material. Underline the parts of the question that are most important so that you don’t get distracted or start to second-guess yourself. If one of the answers seems as if it doesn’t make sense, eliminate it.

Free-Response Questions

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Ap Psychology Multiple Choice Review Tips

1. Understand what the question is asking: It seems simple, but sometimes students struggle to figure out what the College Board is actually asking of them. When you read the question, dont be afraid to circle or underline the keywords in the question so that you can mentally think about what that keyword relates to conceptually.

2. Use POE: Often times you can eliminate an answer choice. POE stands for process of elimination. As you work through the AP® Psychology multiple choice section, make X marks or dashes by answer choices that do not make sense with the question. This helps you in two ways: it makes you logically think about what are feasible answer solutions and it makes reviewing your test at the very end more efficient.

3. Practice progressively: Cramming for the AP® Psychology exam the night before is not an effective method to prepare for the test. Make sure to begin your review several weeks before the exam. Practice a few questions every night and review whether or not you get the questions right or wrong. A good starting block is practicing ten questions a night two months before the exam. Then, ramp up your studying sessions with fifteen a night before long, you can answer twenty a night. Remember, every 100 questions you practice is the equivalent of having taken one full AP® Psychology multiple choice section.

When Is The 2021 Ap Psychology Exam And How Do I Take It

  • Administration 1 of the AP Psychology exam is on May 11, 2021, 12 pm your local timethis will be a paper test at your school.
  • Administration 2 of the AP Psychology exam is on May 20, 2021, at 4 pm EDTthis will be digital, in school, or at home.
  • Administration 3 of the AP Psychology exam is on June 3, at 4 pm EDTthis will be digital, in school, and at home.

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How Is Ap Psychology Scored Whats The Weighting Of Different Questions

Below is the scoring breakdown for the AP® Psychology exam:

50 minutes 33.3%

The first section is the multiple choice section. In this section you will need to answer 100 questions in one hour and 10 minutes. This requires you to answer questions at a rate of less than one minute per question.

In the multiple choice section, you will be required to define and explain concepts as well as apply skills such as concept application, data analysis and scientific investigation.

The free response portion consists of two questions. In these questions, you will need to apply a variety of theories and concepts from different subsets of psychology. You will also be required to analyze research studies and analyze and interpret quantitative data.

Pro tip: Memorization of terms and concepts is not enough to do well on the AP® Psychology exam. You will need to have the ability to apply these concepts to real world scenarios in order to gain the best grade on this exam. The chart below shows how the different course units are reflected in the exam questions. To see how these weightings translate into an exam score, try Alberts free AP® Psychology score calculator.


Unit : Motivation Emotion And Personality

AP Psychology Exam Guide
  • Theories of the motivation behind human and animal behavior
  • Major theories of emotion
  • Conceptions of personality, including behaviorist, social cognitive, humanistic, and trait theories
  • Research and assessments to measure personality

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Review Weak Content Areas

If you made a lot of mistakes related to content or question misunderstandings, you should try to figure out which areas caused you the most trouble. Then, you can consult your notes or a review book to brush up on terms or concepts you’ve forgotten. AP Psychology involves quite a bit of memorization, so there’s bound to be at least a few areas for which you weren’t sure of the meaning or couldn’t remember a specific detail.

Stay focused on your weak areas, and pay special attention to weak areas that are also big parts of the exam. For example, if questions about cognitive psychology give you trouble but you also struggle with developmental psychology, put more effort into studying the former, as it makes up a bigger part of the test. A knowledge deficit in this area will cost you more points in the end.

Make sure you fix any weak links in your psychology knowledge chain before the exam.

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