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AP Psychology

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Title: AP Psychology  
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AP Psychology

This article is part of the
Advanced Placement series.
General exam structure    •    Awards
Current subjects:
In development:
Former subjects:
This article relates to the AP test. For information about the IB test, see IB Psychology SL.

The Advanced Placement Psychology (AP Psychology, or AP Psych) course and corresponding exam are part of College Board's Advanced Placement Program. This course is tailored for students interested in the field of psychology and as an opportunity to earn Advanced Placement credit or exemption from a college-level psychology course. It was the shortest AP exam until AP Physics C exam was split into two separate exams in 2006.


  • Topics covered 1
  • Exam 2
  • Grade Distribution 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
  • External links 5

Topics covered

The College Board provides a course of study to help educators prepare their students for the AP Psychology exam. The exam covers the following areas. The percentage indicates the portion of the multiple-choice section of the exam focused on each content area:[1]

Topic Percent
History and Approaches 2-4%
Research Methods 8-10%
Biological Bases of Behavior 8-10%
Sensation and Perception 6-8%
States of Consciousness 2-4%
Learning 7-9%
Cognition 8-10%
Motivation and Emotion 6-8%
Developmental Psychology 7-9%
Personality 5-7%
Testing and Individual Differences 5-7%
Abnormal Psychology 7-9%
Treatment of Psychological Disorders 5-7%
Social Psychology 8-10%


Free response section booklet

The exam includes two sections: a 70 minute multiple choice section (100 questions) and a 50 minute free response section (2 prompts). The multiple choice provides two-thirds of the grade and the free-response provides the remaining third.[2]

Beginning with the May 2011 AP Exam administration, total scores on the multiple-choice section are based only on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are no longer deducted for incorrect answers. Grading (the number of points needed to get a certain score) is slightly more strict as a result.

Grade Distribution

The grade distributions for the Psychology scores since 2010 were:

Score 2010[3] 2011[4] 2012[5] 2013[6] 2014[7] 2015[8]
5 19.6% 20.1% 20.7% 21.2% 18.7% 20.1%
4 26.6% 26.3% 26.0% 26.6% 26.9% 26.2%
3 20.0% 19.8% 19.4% 19.5% 19.9% 19.9%
2 12.7% 12.9% 13.5% 13.0% 13.5% 13.1%
1 21.1% 20.9% 20.3% 19.7% 20.9% 20.7%
Mean 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.17 3.09
Number of Students 177,708 197,719 220,361 238,962 259,789



  1. ^ "AP: Psychology". 
  2. ^ "AP: Psychology". 
  3. ^ 2010 AP Scores Distribution
  4. ^ 2011 AP Scores Distribution
  5. ^ 2012 AP Scores Distribution
  6. ^ 2013 AP Scores Distribution
  7. ^ 2014 AP Scores Distribution
  8. ^ 2015 AP Exam Score Distributions

External links

  • AP Psychology at
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