The AP Psychology Test

FAQ About the AP Psychology Test

AP psychology test
Are you ready for the AP psychology test? Here's what you should know. Ryan Balderas / Getty Images

Get the information you need to know about the AP Psychology test. Discover what the AP Psychology test is, what the test covers and what you need to do to prepare for the exam.

What Is the AP Psychology Test?

Advanced Placement Psychology, more commonly referred to as AP Psychology, is a college-level introductory psychology course offered at many high school. The course is one offered as part of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program, allowing students to earn college credit. The course prepares students to take the AP Psychology test, a comprehensive exam that covers material found in a typical college introductory psychology class.

The Basics of the AP Psychology Test

Before you take the test, you should first become familiar with the basic structure of the exam as well as the content covered by the test.

  • The AP Psychology exam lasts for two hours.
  • The test consists of multiple-choice section and a free response section. There are 100 multiple-choice questions, and two free response questions. Students have 70 minutes to complete the multiple-choice section and 50 minutes to complete the free response section.
  • The multiple-choice portion of the exam accounts for two-thirds of the score, while the free response section makes up the remaining one-third of the score.
  • According to the College Board, a total of 151,006 students took the AP Psychology test in 2009. Of these students, 68.7% earned a passing grade on the test. The mean score for the exam was 3.22, with 103,685 students scoring a 3 or higher.

What Content Is Covered by the AP Psychology Test?

The exam covers content and subject-matter that are typically taught in a college-level introductory psychology course.

  • Biological bases of behavior: 8-10 percent
  • Cognition: 8 to 10 percent
  • Learning: 7 to 9 percent
  • Motivation and emotion: 7 to 9 percent
  • Developmental psychology: 7 to 9 percent
  • Abnormal psychology: 7 to 9 percent
  • Sensation and perception: 7 to 9 percent
  • Social psychology: 7 to 9 percent
  • Methods and approaches: 6 to 8 percent
  • Personality: 6 to 8 percent
  • Testing and individual differences: 5 to 7 percent
  • Treatment of psychological disorders: 5 to 7 percent
  • History of psychology: 2 to 4 percent
  • States of consciousness: 2 to 4 percent

How Do I Register for the AP Psychology Test?

If AP psychology classes are offered at your school, talk to your counselor about enrolling in AP Psychology. If you are home-schooled or your school does not offer AP courses, you can still enroll in independent study or possibly take an online AP course if it is offered in your state.

If your school has an AP Coordinator, inform him or her that you would like to take the test. The coordinator will then register you for the test, collect the exam fees and let you know when and where the test will take place.

Home-schooled student will need to contact AP Services before March 1 to be put in touch with a coordinator. The coordinator will then help you locate a school willing to administer the exam.

You can learn more about the registration process by visiting the registration page on the College Board website to learn more.

How Can I Prepare for the AP Psychology Test?

Perhaps the best way to prepare for the AP Psychology test is to enroll in an AP Psychology course. However, there are other preparation materials available to students not enrolled in the course or for those who feel they need extra help.

You can also find a variety of AP Psychology books and study guides that can help you prepare for the exam.


The College Board (2009). AP psychology student grade distributions - Global AP examinations - May 2009. Found online at

The College Board. (2011). Topics outline. Found online at

The College Board. (2011). The exam. Found online at