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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide to AP Psychology Exam [Updated for AP 2024 Exam]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023


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  • The AP Psychology course is organized into 9 units: history of psychology, the brain and nervous system, sensation and perception, learning and memory, cognition, motivation and emotion, personality, social psychology, and abnormal Psychology.
  • The AP Psychology exam is divided into 2 main sections: multiple-choice and free-response.
  • The mean score for the AP Psychology exam in 2022 was 2.84 out of 5. This is slightly lower than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP Psychology Exam for 2022 was 55.4%. This is slightly lower than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.
  • With AP Psychology, some majors that you could choose from include psychology, neuroscience, counseling, social work, and business. Some of the career pathways that you could pursue include psychologist, therapist, counselor, social worker, business consultant, and human resources professional.

AP Psychology exam is offered in over 100 countries around the world. 292,501 students took the AP Psychology exam in 2022. We have analyzed the AP Psychology exam structure, topics, study resources, and student performance over the past 10 years of AP Psychology exams to put together this comprehensive AP Psychology exam guide.

In this AP Psychology Guide, we will discuss the format, the topics covered, and effective ways to study for AP Psychology that will help you retain information, improve your test-taking skills, and ultimately succeed in exams. So let’s get started!

What is on the AP psychology exam?

Explore the ideas, theories, and methods of the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. You’ll examine the concepts of psychology through reading and discussion and analyze data from psychological research studies.

The AP Psychology exam covers the ideas, theories, and methods of the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. 

The AP Psychology Exam format includes two sections as below:

SectionNo. of QuestionsTime allocated to  each sectionWeightage
Multiple-choice  questions100 questions1hour 10 mins67%
Free response   questions2 questions 50 mins33% 
AP Psychology exam format

Now let’s understand everything about the AP Psychology exam: duration, structure, score distribution, etc.

How long is the AP Psychology exam?

The AP Psychology exam is 2 hours long and is divided into two sections

  • The first section consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and is 1 hour 10 minutes long.
  • The second section is a free-response section with 2 questions and is 50 minutes long.

The AP Psychology Exam will test your understanding of the psychological concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze behavioral studies.

How many questions does the AP Psychology exam have?

The AP Psychology exam has 102 questions in total divided into two major sections; 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 free-response questions.

Topics for AP Psychology Review

AP Psychology is a rigorous course that covers the core scientific principles, theories, and processes that govern human behavior. Students will do hands-on activities and experiments to investigate psychological phenomena.

UnitWhat’s includedWeight in Exam
Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology
You will learn about the basis of psychological theory as the study of human and animal behavior and mental processes and learn how psychologists design and conduct research.
-Major historical figures in psychology
-Theoretical approaches to describing behavior
– Branches of psychology
– A variety of research methods used by psychologists
-The application of research design and statistical analysis in psychology
-Ethical guidelines
Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
You will study behaviors and mental processes from a biological perspective and explore the effects of the interaction between human biology and our environment.
-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
Unit 3: Sensation and Perception
You will examine how humans perceive and process the world around them via their senses and convert those observations into perceptions that influence how we think and behave.
-Basic principles of how humans experience and process stimuli
-The role of experience and culture in perception
-The mechanisms of the 5 senses and sensory disorders
Unit 4: LearningYou will learn about the field of psychology that studies how humans and other animals learn as well as how learning changes over a lifetime.-Influential researchers and theories of learning
-Results of famous learning experiments
-Types of learning
-Types of conditioning and their effects
-Social and cognitive factors in learning
Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology
You will examine the complex nature of how memory, intelligence, and other mental processes impact human behavior.
-The cognitive and physiological processes that make up memory
-Forgetting and typical memory errors
-The biological basis of short- and long-term memory
-Creative thinking and problem-solving strategies
-Biases and errors in thinking
-Defining and measuring intelligence
-The processes of learning and using language
Unit 6: Developmental PsychologyYou’ll study how physical and social changes over humans’ lifespans can influence behavior and mental processes from a variety of perspectives.-Physical and social development in childhood
-Theories of cognitive development in childhood
-Adolescent development and challenges
-Adulthood and aging
-Theories of moral development
-Gender and sexual orientation
Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, and Personality
You will study personality through the lens of behavior and mental processes and how they interact to produce an individual’s personality.

-Theories of the motivation behind human and animal behavior
-Major theories of emotion
-The effects of stress
-Conceptions of personality, including behaviorist, social cognitive, humanistic, and trait theories
-Research and assessments to measure personality
Unit 8: Clinical Psychology
You will learn how psychologists evaluate, study, and treat a range of psychological disorders.
-Standards for diagnosing and approaches to explaining psychological disorders
-Neurodevelopmental and schizophrenic spectrum disorders
-Bipolar, depressive, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders
-Dissociative, somatic, and trauma- and stress-related disorders
-Substance abuse, eating disorders, personality disorders, and related conditions
-Historical developments in psychological treatment
-Modern treatment options and methods
Unit 9: Social PsychologyYou will examine how humans interact in groups and social situations, as well as how others can affect an individual’s behavior and mental processes.-How social and cultural categories like gender and race can impact self-concept and behavior
-The factors that lead people to form and change attitudes
-Group dynamics, including conformity, compliance, and obedience to authority
-Types of behavior caused by the presence of others
-Bias, prejudice, and discrimination
-Altruism and aggression
-The variables that contrib-ute to attraction
AP Psychology Course Content

For additional course resources such as classroom resources, formulae and equation sheets and lab manuals refer to the College Board AP Psychology course page.

How is the AP Psychology exam scored?

The test is divided into two sections:

  • Section I: Consists of 100 multiple-choice questions.
  • Section II: Consists of 2 free-response questions. 

The AP Psychology exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 5. The multiple-choice section is worth 66.7% of the total score, while the free-response section is worth 33.3%.

Multiple-Choice Scoring

  • For each multiple-choice question answered correctly, you will earn 1 point.
  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers or questions left blank.
  • The maximum score for the multiple-choice section is 100 points.

Free-Response Scoring

  • Each free-response question is scored out of 7 points.
  • The free-response questions are reviewed by AP graders.
  • The scores for the two free-response questions are then multiplied by 3.57 to determine their total weight in the overall score.

When is the AP Psychology exam in 2024?

The AP Psychology exam for 2024 will be held on Thursday, May 9 2024 12:00 pm local time. The 2024 AP Exams will be held over two weeks in May: May 6–10 and May 13–17. 

For the most recent information on exam dates and registration deadlines, students can check with their institution or the College Board website.

How to prepare for the AP Psychology exam? 

Here are some tips on how to prepare for the AP Psychology exam 

  • Memorize the key terms and concepts. There are a lot of terms and concepts in AP Psychology, so it’s important to memorize them. You can use flashcards, mnemonic devices, or other memorization techniques.
  • Understand the different perspectives in psychology. AP Psychology covers a wide range of perspectives in psychology, from biological to cognitive to social. Ensure you understand the different perspectives and how they relate to each other.
  • Practice answering questions in different formats. The AP Psychology exam includes a variety of question formats, including multiple-choice, short answer, and essay. Practice answering questions in different formats to get comfortable with the different types of questions that you’ll see on the exam.
  • Take a practice exam under timed conditions. This will help you get used to the timing of the exam and the types of questions that you’ll see.
  • Understand the different perspectives in psychology. There are many different perspectives in psychology, so it’s important to understand the different ways of thinking about the subject.
  • Be able to apply the material to real-world examples. The AP Psychology exam will test your ability to apply the material to real-world examples. Be prepared to answer questions about how psychological concepts apply to your own life and the world around you.

How can Wiingy help with AP Psychology exam prep?

In 2022, only 17.0% of the 292,501 students who took the AP Psychology exam scored a 5. While 3 is considered the unofficial passing rate, most elite universities, such as Harvard or Princeton, offer AP credit only if you score 5 or higher. 

Getting a 5 is possible if you have the right support in your high school, but that’s rarely the case.

Here at Wiingy, we work with vetted AP Psychology tutors with demonstrated expertise and experience in helping students score a 5 on AP exams

Unlike tutor marketplaces, every Wiingy tutor is screened individually and undergoes a comprehensive assessment.

Less than 3% of applicants are selected to become tutors on Wiingy’s platform, ensuring tutors are highly qualified and experienced in teaching AP courses.

Our tutors will work with you 1-on-1 to master the content and skills you need to succeed.

Experienced tutors can provide you with curriculum-specific guides and practice questions and familiarize you with the exam format to help you ace the test.

We know that sometimes you don’t want to pay for private tutoring because it is too expensive. It’s common to see tutoring costs between $100 to $150 per hour.

Wiingy’s rates are very affordable, starting from just $28 per hour, much lower than the average AP tutoring offered by other platforms.

One more advantage of studying with us is that we don’t require you to sign up for any packages or yearly subscriptions. You can sign up for as little as a single lesson and add more lessons as per your requirements.

While we try to match you with the perfect tutor as per your needs, we know that sometimes even the best tutors might not be the right fit for you. That’s why we offer you the Perfect Match Guarantee, which means that if you are not satisfied with your tutor for any reason, you can request a free replacement at any time. 

Sign up with Wiingy AP Psychology Tutoring today and achieve your goal of scoring a 5 on your AP Test!

Why take AP Psychology?

There are several reasons why taking the AP Psychology exam can be beneficial for students. Here are five points in detail:

  • College credit: Depending on your score and the policies of the college you plan to attend, a high score on the AP Psychology exam can earn you college credit. This can save you time and money on tuition costs, as you may be able to skip introductory psychology courses in college. You can major in psychology, neuroscience, counseling, social work, or business.
  • Advanced Placement: In addition to college credit, a high score on the AP Psychology exam can also earn you advanced placement in higher-level psychology courses in college. This can give you a head start and allow you to take more advanced courses earlier in your college career.
  • Career prospect: Taking the AP Psychology exam and earning a high score demonstrates to colleges and future employers that you have mastered college-level psychology concepts and skills. This can be an impressive addition to your college application or resume if you are looking to make your career as a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker.
  • Interest in psychology: Finally, taking the AP Psychology exam can be a way to pursue your interest in psychology and deepen your understanding of the human mind and behavior. By exploring advanced psychology concepts and practicing critical thinking skills, you can gain a greater appreciation for the power of psychology to help us understand ourselves and the world around us.


Students who are interested in majoring in psychology, neuroscience, or other related fields will find the skills learned in AP Psychology to be essential. Additionally, the skills learned in this course can be applied to a wide range of careers, such as counseling, social work, and business.

The exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (100 questions, 70 minutes) and free-response (2 essays, 50 minutes). 

The mean score for the AP Psychology exam in 2022 was 2.84 out of 5, which is slightly lower than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022 (2.92). The passing rate for AP Psychology in 2022 was 55.4%, which is slightly lower than the pass rate for AP overall (60.2%).

The AP Psychology exam is challenging, but it is also rewarding. By learning about psychology and applying your critical thinking skills, you can better understand the human mind and behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AP Psychology?

AP Psychology is a college-level introductory psychology course that examines the science of mind and behavior. The course covers a wide range of topics, including sensation and perception, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, emotion, personality, development, and abnormal psychology.

What are the different types of questions on the AP Psychology exam?

The AP Psychology exam consists of multiple-choice, short-answer, and long-answer questions. The multiple-choice questions test students’ knowledge of basic psychological concepts and principles. The short-answer questions test students’ ability to apply psychological concepts to real-world situations. The long-answer questions test students’ ability to analyze and interpret psychological data.

What are some tips for preparing for the AP Psychology exam?

Here are some tips for preparing for the AP Psychology exam:
Take a practice test: Taking a practice test will help you get familiar with the format of the exam and the types of questions that are asked.
Read the textbook: The textbook is a great resource for learning about the material that is covered on the exam.
Study with a friend or group: Studying with others can help you stay motivated and make sure that you understand the material.
Use online resources: There are a number of online resources that can help you prepare for the AP Psychology exam.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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