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AP Test Prep

AP Psychology Review

AP Psychology Review

Keep your AP Psychology exam review simple with this helpful guide

AP Psychology is one of the most important courses you’ll take in your high school career, giving you helpful insight about yourself and others. It can be especially useful for those wishing to enter the mental health industry, or for anyone who plans on working with people directly. You can also earn college credit by successfully passing the AP Psychology exam. 

Below, we’ve compiled what you need to know about questions, best practices and study habits surrounding the exam; helping you to have the best exam experience yet. 

Breakdown of the AP Psychology Exam 

The AP Psychology exam has two main parts: The multiple-choice section and the free response section. We’ve summarized each below.

Section 1: Multiple Choice

This area of the exam challenges students with multiple-choice questions about topics they’ve learned in their AP Psychology course. Students will be asked to analyze, apply, and recall information to successfully answer questions.

Possible sample topics include cognitive development theories, cognitive psychology and clinical psychology topics, and the scientific foundations of psychology as a discipline. This section is one hour and ten minutes long, and comprises 66.7% of a student’s exam score. 

Section 2: Free Response 

This section is 50 minutes long, and requires that students read, analyze, and answer questions — presenting their answer in a short-form essay format. 

Free-response questions will prompt students to apply learned theories and concepts to explain hypothetical behavior. Students may also be asked to analyze presented research, interpreting quantitative data and research elements. There are two free-response questions, which make up 33.3% of the AP Psychology exam score. 

Reviewing Key AP Psychology Concepts 

Looking to prepare for your upcoming AP exam? As you review your chapter content, consider the following key areas of focus that will likely show up during your exam: 

Strategies for Studying for the AP Psychology Exam 

We know that you’re preparing to consume a lot of information before your AP Psych exam. The good news? There are many strategies and resources you can consider as you build your custom study plan. For example: The College Board has released several sample questions, as well as relevant commentary to help you get a grasp on what they’re looking for. This can be especially helpful for those who have concerns about the free-response area of the AP exam. 

There are also plenty of free AP Psychology practice tests online, as well as psychology review guide options in all formats (like virtual flashcard decks, essay summaries, or quizzes). You can review these resources in addition to your text, related videos, and study guides from your Apex Learning Virtual School teacher. 

ALVS’ AP teachers provide resources to help students prepare as best as possible. ALVS students gain access to AP Classroom as part of their enrollment — this suite of digital tools and resources come straight from the College Board and are aligned with the exams. Leveraging AP Classroom, students can join individual teachers’ classrooms to access resources like daily videos, topic questions, and progress checks. Plus, students have access to AP Classroom even if they complete their AP course prior to the exam date. 

Now that you know where to start, here are a few more tips to try to make your study sessions as productive as possible. You’ve got this! 

Use Effective Study Techniques 

Everybody learns differently — and by now, you likely are well aware of what options work best for you. Whether you prefer to use flashcards to retain information, or you’re a fan of highlighting and note-taking, get what you need to study well. Then, stay consistent and chip away at your topic list every day prior to the exam. 

Not sure which study technique is best for you? Experiment and try some of these student-approved options below: 

Leverage AP Review Books

If you’re someone who learns visually, you may benefit from the many AP Psychology review books. You can usually find these free to rent at your local library, or your school library (depending on what is available). You can also buy your own online or from your local bookstore if you want to mark your copy up. 

Take AP Practice Tests 

As we mentioned above, the College Board has a ton of AP practice tests available online, sorted by topic. You can confidently study and review with their materials, practicing information that will be relevant to your exam. Anything released by the College Board is ethical and free for your use as well, so you won’t have to worry about academic dishonesty. 

Tips for Taking the AP Psychology Exam 

Getting ready for exam day? You don’t have to feel stressed. Here are some of ALVS instructors’ best practices and tips for acing your AP Psychology exam. 

Manage time on the exam — It’s easy to let time tick by, especially when you’re focused on the exam. Prior to the exam, practice using AP Psych practice tests and time yourself — allotting yourself one hour for the multiple choice portion and 50 minutes for the free-response portion. By practicing this way, you’ll get a sense of how long you take to complete each portion, reducing speed-inhibiting nerves on exam day. 

Answer multiple-choice questions — Practicing with multiple-choice questions directly will give you a more accurate “feel” for the first portion of your AP Psychology exam. You can also practice going with your “gut” and avoiding second-guessing, which can ultimately lead to a wrong answer. 

Write high-scoring free-response answers — Free-response answers take practice. Feel free to use the released samples from the College Board to supercharge your study sessions. You should also consider practicing your short-form essay skills, and brushing up on grammar rules — as these are key areas of your free-response answers that will be scored. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is the AP Psych exam hard? 

Many students find that the AP Psych exam is difficult. However, consistent and comprehensive study habits can help students to feel prepared on exam day. Not sure where to start? Identify your specific learning style and your favorite study methods. Then, get to work — summarizing and “consuming” your available resources and prep materials. 

What is the best way to review for the AP Psych exam? 

There is no universally accepted “best” way to prepare. Many find that a combination of methods helps them (like flashcards, annotation, and peer teaching). Feel free to experiment until you find the strategies that are the most helpful to you. 

What percent of people get a 5 on the AP Psych exam? 

Recent data from the College Board suggests that 16.9% of students who take the AP Psych exam score a 5. Specifically, ALVS students earned an average score of 3.2 on all AP exams taken, nearly .3 higher than the 2022 national average (2.92). In AP Psychology, 70% of ALVS students scored a 3 or higher, nearly 12% higher than the 2022 national average reported by the College Board. 

What subjects does AP Psychology Review cover? 

The AP Psychology exam covers several key areas of focus; including biological bases of behavior, research methods in psychology, sensory and perception topics, learning and memory formation, and abnormal psychology topics. 

Preparing for the AP psychology exam can feel overwhelming. However, these helpful tips will make your time as painless and as effective as possible. Be sure to reference the free sample questions from the College Board and to study in a way that best suits you. If you’re an ALVS student preparing for the exam, be sure to leverage support from our dedicated team of experienced AP teachers, digital tools and resources, and engaging College Board-approved courses. No matter what score you get, know that you’re doing great and that you’re well on your way to a promising academic future. 

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