The Exam

When: Monday, May 2nd at 12:00 noon.

The date for the Advanced Placement Examination in Psychology is Monday May 2nd (afternoon Session) (Click here for a calendar of all AP Exams).

The Examination:

The AP Psychology Examination includes a 70-minute multiple-choice section (usually 100 questions) that accounts for two-thirds of the students exam grade and a 50-minute free-response section made up of two questions, which accounts for one-third of the students exam grade.

Students often ask whether they should guess on the multiple choice section.  Haphazard or random guessing is unlikely to improve scores, because one-fourth of the number of questions answered incorrectly will be subtracted from the number of questions answered correctly.  However, students who have some knowledge of a question and can eliminate one or more answer choices will usually find it advantageous to guess from among the remaining choices.

Free-response questions are an appropriate tool for evaluating a student’s mastery of scientific research principles and ability to make connections among constructs from different psychological domains (e.g., development, personality, learning).  Students may be asked to analyze a general problem in psychology (e.g., depression, adaptation) using concepts from different theoretical frameworks or subdomains in the field, or to design, analyze or critique a research study.

Summary Outline for the Multiple Choice Section:

Content Area Percentage On the Exam

I. History and Approaches

A. Logic, Philosophy, and History of Science

B. Approaches

  1. Biological

  2. Behavioral

  3. Cognitive

  4. Humanistic

  5. Psychodynamic

  6. Sociocultural

  7. Evolutionary/Sociobiological


II. Research Methods

A. Experimental, Correlational, and Clinical Research

  1. Correlational (e.g., naturalistic observation, survey, clinical)

  2. Experimental

B. Statistics

  1. Descriptive

  2. Inferential

C. Ethics in Research


III. Biological Bases of Behavior

A. Physiological Techniques (e.g., imaging, surgical)

B. Neuroanatomy

C. Functional Organization of Nervous System

D. Neural Transmission

E. Endocrine System

F. Genetics


IV. Sensation and Perception

A. Thresholds

B. Sensory Mechanisms

C. Sensory Adaptations

D. Attention

E. Perceptual Processes


V. States of Consciousness

A. Sleep and Dreaming

B. Hypnosis

C. Psychoactive Drug Effects


VI. Learning

A. Classical Conditioning

B. Operant Conditioning

C. Cognitive Process of Learning

D. Biological Factors

E. Social Learning


VII. Cognition

A. Memory

B. Language

C. Thinking

D. Problem Solving and Creativity


VIII. Motivation and Emotion

A. Biological Bases

B. Theories of Motivation

C. Hunger, Thirst, Sex, and Pain

D. Social Motives

E. Theories of Emotion

F. Stress


IX. Developmental Psychology

A. Life-Span Approach

B. Research Methods (longitudinal and cross-sectional)

C. Heredity-Environmental Issues

D. Developmental Theories

E. Dimensions of Development

  1. Physical

  2. Cognitive

  3. Social

  4. Moral

F. Sex Roles, Sex Differences


X. Personality

A. Personality Theories and Approaches

B. Assessment Techniques

C. Self-Concept. Self-esteem

D. Growth and Adjustment


XI. Testing and Individual Differences

A. Standardization and Norms

B. Reliability and Validity

C. Types of Tests

D. Ethics and Standards in Testing

E. Intelligence

F. Heredity/Environment and Intelligence

G. Human Diversity


XII. Abnormal Psychology

A. Definition of Abnormality

B. Theories of Psychopathology

C. Diagnosis of Psychopathology

D. Anxiety Disorders

E. Somatoform Disorders

F. Mood Disorders

G. Schizophrenic Disorders

H. Organic Disorders

I. Personality Disorders

J. Dissociative Disorders


XIII. Treatment of Psychological Disorders

A. Treatment Approaches

  1. Insight Therapies: Psychodynamic and Humanistic Approaches

  2. Behavioral Approaches

  3. Cognitive Approaches

  4. Biological Approaches

B. Modes of Therapy (group, individual etc..)

C. Community and Preventative Approaches


XIV. Social Psychology

A. Group Dynamics

B. Attribution Processes

C. Interpersonal Perception

D. Conformity, Compliance, Obedience

E. Atttitudes and Attitude Change

F. Organizational Behavior

G. Aggression/Antisocial Behavior