6 Fundamental AP Psychology Study Tips


Psychology, an empirical discipline, deals with the mental and behavioral processes of the conscious and unconscious mind to further understand individuals throughout their daily activities. Starting your path in becoming a psychologist or aspiring in a medical related career will require a comprehension on the terms and branches of this extensive academic discipline.

In an effort to take the AP Psychology exam, one must first take into consideration the two components of the exam: Essay and Multiple Choice. Although multiple choice questions comprise a major component of the exam, your knowledge will be tested on various theories, applications, and methods of psychology and essays carry just as the amount of weight needed to obtain a score of 4 or 5 in the exams. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of study tips to help in the succession of obtaining a great score:

Tip #1: Practice Makes Perfect

It’s a cliché line that gets by most people without a thought; however, applying this method in studying for the exam will sincerely reap the hardwork you put into studying. You’ll need a focused & dedicated amount of your time set in your day to discipline yourself in reading and understanding the terms. Crafting your own study plan say, a 5 hour or 10-hour study plan in your day increases the mastery of your knowledge and it also gives quick thinking when you’re pressured with time.

Tip #2: Reading materials, Flashcards, Practice Tests

The library houses several books, so all you need to do is find an AP psychology book that will help you learn extensively foreign terms that may be difficult to comprehend in an existing reading material of your own. Learning to read from different authors compounds your knowledge and terminology.

Flashcards are a vital use in reviewing for an AP Psychology exam. Since Psychology contains a substantial amount of terms to familiarize yourself with, there will be certain terms which one may be weak towards. Flashcards significantly resolve your weak points in terminology and definitive statements.

You can find a great number of practice tests online or purchase a booklet that will guide you through your answers. It is best to answer these booklets after reading a section or topic within the day. Emphasize on the questions in the practice tests that make up most of your wrong answers and understand the level of knowledge you’ve limited yourself to.

Tip #3: Break Down The Roots of Concepts

Every concept, theory, and term in psychology stems from a source or original concept as to how these theories came to be deduced. Some of the roots trace back to the founding individuals or studies & approaches that have led to the discovery of the term. Remember, Psychology is an empirical discipline so the field of science applied in psychology focuses more on observation. For example, when Bruce Tuckman deduced the concept: stages of group development, it is important to ask how this came about and how each stage forming, norming, performing, and storming were deduced in his study. As a result you learn about the history and the methods applied in formulating the concept within group development. This will make it easier to trace the origins of concepts and apply the interconnectivity between concepts, theories, and terms.

Tip #4: Simplicity Over Complexity

Constructing essays are normally treated as spontaneous thoughts or improvising on the ideas for that particular moment. Focusing more on simple terms and learning how to connect ideas with one another will help complete the clarity and construction of each sentence in your essay. Relying on complex words only make the essay look articulate and essays are graded mostly for the information and content a writer is able to deliver based on context and comprehensive ability on the topic to be written. This is also why practice tests are important because they allow you solidify the familiarity of different areas of psychology.

Tip#5: Pay Attention To Descriptive Questions

Questions that start or contain verbs such as describe, compare, contrast, analyze, identify, create, etc.. are questions that require both creativity and theory to mix in order to arrive at the best answer possible. This is because it challenges your brain to think outside the realm of theory and dive into more practical and logical concepts. Focus on questions like these and constantly ask a “Why” question to your answers and mistakes.

Tip #6: Relate Concepts To Real-Life Situations

Psychology deals with observation 70%-80% of the time. With a wide array of diverse stimuli in the environment, you’re also subjected to these factors, which allow you to take these in as valuable information and relate them to your concepts. This allows a balanced mix of theory and practical concepts to give a smoother flow in constructing sentences and familiarizing topics. For example, belief bias effect can be related to social situations in your daily life whether at school or among your group of friends about a certain topic.

Compiling all these tips including academic values of discipline, motivation, and tenacity will allow you to reach a score within the range of 4 -5 in your AP Psychology Exam. It may seem difficult at first, but allowing yourself to be subjected to such difficulty limits your capability and ability to perform beyond expectation.