Back To CourseAP Psychology: Exam Prep
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Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.
Meryl is a senior in high school, and she's preparing to take the AP psych exam. But she's still a little unsure about the way the test is structured and what she should do to increase her chances of passing.
The Advanced Placement, or AP, exams allow students to earn college credit should they pass. There are many different subjects that students can take. One of them, the one that Meryl is taking, is the AP Psychology Exam, which requires knowledge equivalent to that learned in an introductory psychology class in college. What does that mean? If Meryl passes the AP psych exam, it will be like she's already taken the intro to psych course at her local college. She'll start college with that class already checked off!
There are two sections on the AP psych exam: a Free Response section, which involves writing two essays, and a Multiple Choice section, which has 100 multiple choice questions. Meryl will have an hour and ten minutes to complete the Multiple Choice section, and it will be 2/3 of her score on the test overall, so it's important that she knows how to use her time wisely and how to do well on that section of the test! Let's look at some tips for how Meryl can do well on the Multiple Choice section of the test.
Where should Meryl even start with tips for taking the Multiple Choice section of the AP psych exam? Like most things, it's best to start at the beginning. In the case of a test, that's with the instructions.
Remember that Meryl will have to answer 100 questions in 70 minutes. That's not a lot of time! Meryl needs to use every minute wisely. One way to save some minutes on the AP exam is to memorize the instructions before test day. That way, Meryl won't have to read and try to understand the instructions on test day. Instead, she can skim them and jump right in.
The instructions for the AP psych exam (and other AP exams) can be found on the College Board website. The College Board is the company that puts out the AP exams. The exam instructions don't change much from year to year - generally, the gist tends to be the same.
In 2014, the instructions were as follows: 'Each of the questions or incomplete statements is followed by five suggested answers or completions. Select the one that best answers the question or completes the statement.' Again, these instructions might vary from year to year, but the gist is likely to remain the same, so Meryl should remember that she'll need to select the best option from the answer choices.
What does it mean that she'll have to select the best option as opposed to selecting the right option? It means that some questions may have more than one right answer. Meryl will be expected to choose the most right, or best, answer listed. This means that Meryl will want to consider all possible answers. If she notices that answer choice A is a right answer, she'll still want to read B, C, D, and E. Who knows? There may be a better one further down.
Besides the instructions, another place where Meryl can figure out the best way to approach the Multiple Choice section of the AP Psychology Exam is in the way that the test is scored. What do I mean by the way the test is scored? On the AP psych exam, there is no penalty for wrong guesses. In other words, whether you get an answer wrong or you leave a question blank, you get the same number of points deducted from your score.
For Meryl, and students like her, this means that she will want to answer every single question, even if it means guessing. The best way for her to do this is to eliminate clearly wrong answers and guess from what's left. If she's not sure of the answer for a question, but she knows that the answer can't be C or E, then she should either guess A, B, or D. Of course, if she has a strong feeling about one of those three, she should mark that one. But even if she doesn't, she should at least mark one of them.
Because it's a timed test, Meryl will want to do her best to answer all of the questions but not waste time on any one question. If she's not sure of an answer, she can guess and then circle or mark the question to come back to it later if she has time. After she's marked all the questions, she can then return to the ones that she marked and see if she can figure out the answer.
Finally, Meryl should know that every question is only one point. Whether it's really, really hard or really, really easy, it is still only one point. What does that mean? She shouldn't stress or spend too much time on a question that's too difficult. Instead, she should guess and move on to the others. Again, she can mark that question and come back if she has time.
The AP Psychology Exam is a test that allows high school students to earn college credit in psychology. It has two sections: a Free Response section and a Multiple Choice section. For the Multiple Choice section, which is 2/3 of the total grade on the test, it is important for students to memorize the instructions before test day, consider all answer choices, answer every single question, even if it means guessing, and eliminate clearly wrong answers and guess from what's left. If the student isn't sure of an answer, they should guess but mark the question so they can come back to it later if there's time.
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Back To CourseAP Psychology: Exam Prep
16 chapters | 161 lessons