The two-hour AP Psychology exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice and free response. The multiple-choice section accounts for two-thirds of the final grade while the free-response section accounts for one-third. By learning how the exam is structured, reviewing topics likely to be tested and by completing practice questions, you can increase your chances of getting a score that will earn college credits or allow you to skip introductory psychology courses.
What to Expect From the Test
This test requires more than regurgitating facts you have learned in class. You will be assessed on your knowledge of psychological concepts and also research methodology and theoretical perspectives. You will be asked to integrate different content areas as well as evaluate hypothetical situations by using differing theories and practices in modern psychology. The College Board provides details on possible topics as well as many sample questions and tips on how to study and how to approach free-response questions.
The multiple-choice portion of your test consists of 100 questions that must be answered within 1 hour and 10 minutes. Total scores on the multiple-choice section are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers and no points are awarded for unanswered questions. On the College Board site, you can find a complete list of topics that will be covered including abnormal psychology and research methods. You may be asked to define terms and details of different psychological theories and applications.
There are two free-response questions included in the exam. Together, these make up for one-third of your total score, and you will have 50 minutes to complete this portion. Students must answer the questions in complete and clear sentences -- lists or outlines are not acceptable. Including definitions of terms may help organize and apply the concepts but will not earn you any points. You will be expected to formulate your answers in a way that reflects your ability to use analytical and organizational skills.
You can find free sample multiple-choice questions and practice tests online at APCentral.com and PracticeQuiz.com, which also provides a question a day delivered to your email. College Board provides sample free-response and multiple-choice questions as well as the scoring guidelines. You will need to log in to your College Board account. If you do not have an account, it is a simple process to create one.
Besides offering sample questions and scoring guidelines, The College Board also provides detailed strategies on how to best answer free-response questions. Even if you have a firm grasp on the skills and knowledge needed to land a "5" on the test, it is also important to approach any test anxiety. Even though ETS does not provide or score the AP tests, it offers a very helpful document on reducing test anxiety that comes with high-stakes standardized testing. FunnelBrain has free online flashcards designed to help you study for this and other AP exams.
With degrees in biology and education, Jennifer VanBuren now utilizes her research and instructional skills as a writer. She has served as educational columnist for "Austin Family Magazine" for four years and also reports on area businesses for "Faces and Places" magazine.