Published February 16, 2024

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Psychology


Natasha Potter

MSU Alumni, Creative Advertising Major, Marketing Associate at Knowt 😃

This guide will go over a few of our tricks to getting a 5 on AP Psychology and I’ll break them down in this article! With the right strategies, resources, and learning how to prepare for the AP Psychology exam it’s definitely possible for you to ace the exam. 

Free AP Psychology Resources

If you’re cramming last minute for AP Psych, don’t stress we’ve all been there! If you’re wondering how to pass AP Psychology in a time crunch, here are some of our student-made AP Psychology resources for a last minute cram.

What Do I Need to Memorize for the AP Psychology Exam?

Check out our AP Psychology study guide that goes into all the key info for each of these specific subjects!

Percentage of Content 



History and Approaches


Research Methods


Biological Bases of Behavior


Sensation and Perception


States of Consciousness






Motivation and Emotion


Developmental Psychology




Testing and Individual Differences


Abnormal Behavior 


Treatment of Abnormal Behavior


Social Psychology 

What is on the AP Psychology Exam?

There are 9 units covered on the AP Psychology exam with the most emphasis placed on Units 3-8 on the exam. Each of these units represents a period and weighted as follows

Ap Psychology Unit

% of Multiple Choice Questions 

Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology


Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior


Unit 3: Sensation and Perception


Unit 4: Learning


Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology


Unit 6: Developmental Psychology 


Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion and Personality 


Unit 8: Clinical Psychology


Unit 9: Social Psychology 


AP Psychology Exam Format

Section 1: Multiple Choice

Let's jump into the multiple-choice section! You'll find 100 questions waiting for you, and you have a total of 70 minutes to tackle them. This section carries a weight of 2/3 in determining your final AP Psych score, so it's pretty important. Each question will offer five answer choices (A-E). Don't worry, they won't be too tricky! The questions will mainly test your ability to define and explain concepts from various topics covered in the course. Additionally, you'll get a chance to showcase your skills in applying concepts, analyzing data, and investigating scientifically.

Section 2: Free Response

Now let's move on to the free-response section. It consists of two questions and gives you a generous 50 minutes to complete. This section carries a weight of 1/3 in determining your final AP Psych score. The first question is a Concept Application question, which requires you to apply your understanding of psychological concepts to explain behavior and theories. The second question is a Research Design question, where you'll need to analyze psychological research studies, interpret quantitative data, and demonstrate your grasp of different theoretical frameworks or subdomains in the field. It's a chance to show off your analytical skills and knowledge. 

How do I study for MCQs on the AP Psychology Exam?

Alright, let's dive into the AP Psych free-response section! It's the second and final part of the exam, and you'll get to tackle it once you're done with the multiple-choice section. You have a cool 50 minutes to handle this section, and it consists of two questions. So don't worry, it's not too intense!

The first question in the AP Psych FRQ is called a Concept Application question. It's all about applying your knowledge of psychological terms and explaining examples of different concepts. It's like connecting the dots between theory and real-life situations. The second question, known as a Research Design question, usually comes with a chart or graph that you'll need to analyze. Get ready to crunch some data!

According to the official AP Psychology exam website, the free-response section will ask you to do two main things:

1. Explain behavior and apply theories using concepts from different theoretical frameworks or subdomains in the field of psychology. You'll need to show off your understanding of various psychological theories and how they relate to behavior.

2. Analyze psychological research studies, including interpreting quantitative data. This is where you'll flex your analytical muscles and dive into research studies, examining data and drawing meaningful conclusions from it.

Each free-response question is worth a total of 7 points. When your scores are tallied up, they'll be multiplied by 3.57 to determine your final raw AP Psychology exam score. Keep in mind that your raw score will then be compared to the curve calculated by the College Board to determine your ultimate score on the 1-5 AP scale. It's all about making those points count!

Good luck, and rock those free-response questions using our AP Psychology Exam tips!

When do AP scores come out?

Hey, good news! The College Board has given us an update on when we can expect those AP scores. Based on the latest info, we can look forward to getting our scores in July 2023. Normally, the College Board likes to release them early in the month, so keep an eye out!

When the time comes, all you need to do is log into your College Board account using your trusty username and password. Voila! Your AP scores will be right there, ready for you to check out. It's a convenient way to access your results online. Can't wait to see how those AP Psychology test tips helped!

Should I Self Study AP Psych?

Let's break it down with some AP Psychology exam tips for prep:

1. Get the lingo down: Knowing the key terms for the AP Psychology exam is a game-changer. Find fun ways to remember those important names and contributions, and make sure you grasp how different theories and concepts connect with each other.

2. Squad up for study sessions: Studying for AP Psychology doesn't have to be a solo mission! Team up with your buddies or classmates and tackle the test together. Group study can be super effective if everyone is open to learning. Share your knowledge, share your AP Psychology exam tips, bounce ideas off each other, and create that awesome group learning vibe. Plus, teaching concepts to others and sharing your tips for the AP Psychology exam is a killer way to study.

3. Target your weak spots: If you've got something down pat, no need to dwell on it. Instead, focus your energy on the areas where you know you need improvement. It's tempting to stick to what you already know, but trust us, it won't prepare you for the full exam. Be honest with yourself and prioritize those areas that need a little more TLC.

4. Don't skip the reading: Memorizing a bunch of psychology terms might seem like a shortcut, but without completing your readings, you'll struggle to apply those terms on the test. Your textbook is your buddy when it comes to making meaningful connections between concepts. So hit those chapters and dive into the content.

5. Rewrite and condense your notes: Take a look at your class notes and pick out the juiciest bits. Summarize them in a more concise and digestible way. This helps you solidify the important ideas in your mind, making it easier to recall them come test time. It's like creating your own personal cheat sheet!

6. Learn from your mistakes: Take a trip down memory lane and review all the tests you've taken in your AP Psychology class. Pay close attention to the questions you got wrong and figure out why you missed them. The key here is continuous improvement. Identifying your weak areas, working on them, and knowing how to study for the AP Psychology exam will set you up for success.

7. Know the test breakdown: Familiarize yourself with the test percentages. The AP Psychology exam has specific weightings for different concepts. Take a peek at the breakdown before you start your review so you can plan your study time accordingly. It's all about strategizing!

Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be on your way to AP Psychology greatness. You've got this!

Is the AP Psychology exam Hard?

So, let's talk about AP Psychology. It's definitely a step up from your regular high school psych class. They designed AP courses to give you a taste of college-level learning. But hey, compared to other AP exams, AP Psychology is known to be on the easier side. Knowing the best way to study for the AP Psychology exam makes a massive impact on your success.  

In 2022, the passing rate for the AP Psychology exam was 58.3%, and the average score was 2.86. Now, if we look back in time, the passing rate for this exam has consistently been higher than most other AP exams. It's like a little ray of sunshine in the AP world.

These stats are based on the total number of students who take the AP Psychology exam each year. And get this, it's one of the most popular exams in the AP catalog, with an average of around 300,000 students taking it annually. In 2022, we had a cool 292,501 test-takers. It's like a big party of psychology enthusiasts!

So, don't stress too much. AP Psychology is totally doable, and you're in good company with all those other test-takers. Time to rock that exam!

Explaining the 2023 AP Psych Scores

Alright, let's break down how your AP Psychology score is calculated. It's pretty straightforward, so no need to stress! The multiple-choice section makes up 67% of your final Psych score. For each correct answer, you score a point. There are no deductions for wrong answers or blanks. So, you can rack up a maximum of 100 points on the multiple-choice section. Nice!

Now, onto the free-response questions. These are graded by AP graders, and you'll receive a score out of 7 for each of the two questions. Here's the cool part: each of those scores is multiplied by 3.57. This magic number ensures that the free-response section contributes 1/3 of your total raw AP Psychology score. It's like giving it the weight it deserves!

After calculating your raw score, it's time for the College Board to work their magic. They compare your raw score to the curve they've calculated to determine your final AP score. This score will fall on the 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest. So, it's all about how your raw score stacks up against that curve.

That's the lowdown on how your AP Psychology score comes together. Keep it cool, do your best, and let the grading magic happen!

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