AP Psychology

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About the Course

Explore the ideas, theories, and methods of the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. You’ll examine the concepts of psychology through reading and discussion and you’ll analyze data from psychological research studies.

Skills You'll Learn

  • Connecting psychological concepts and theories to real-life scenarios

  • Understanding and interpreting data

  • Analyzing research studies in psychology

Equivalency and Prerequisites

College Course Equivalent

A one-semester, introductory college course in psychology

Recommended Prerequisites


Exam Date

Thu, May 9, 2024

12 PM Local

AP Psychology Exam

This is the regularly scheduled date for the AP Psychology Exam.

About the Units

The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. Your teacher may choose to organize the course content differently based on local priorities and preferences.

Course Content

Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology

You’ll learn about the basis of psychological theory as the study of human and animal behavior and mental processes and learn how psychologists design and conduct research.

Topics may include:

  • Major historical figures in psychology
  • Theoretical approaches to describing behavior
  • Branches of psychology
  • A variety of research methods used by psychologists
  • The application of research design and statistical analysis in psychology
  • Ethical guidelines

On The Exam

10%–14% of exam score

Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior

You’ll study behaviors and mental processes from a biological perspective and explore the effects of the interaction between human biology and our environment.

Topics may include:

  • The interaction of inherited traits, environment, and evolution in shaping behavior
  • Structures and functions of biological systems, including the endocrine system and nervous system
  • Brain function, neural firing, and the influence of medication
  • The study of the brain and research techniques for studying its structure and function
  • States of consciousness, including sleeping and dreaming
  • Addiction and drug dependence

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

Unit 3: Sensation and Perception

You’ll examine how humans perceive and process the world around them via their senses and convert those observations into perceptions that influence how we think and behave.

Topics may include:

  • Basic principles of how humans experience and process stimuli
  • The role of experience and culture in perception
  • The mechanisms of the 5 senses and sensory disorders

On The Exam

6%–8% of exam score

Unit 4: Learning

You’ll learn about the field of psychology that studies how humans and other animals learn as well as how learning changes over a lifetime.

Topics may include:

  • Influential researchers and theories of learning
  • Results of famous learning experiments
  • Types of learning
  • Types of conditioning and their effects
  • Social and cognitive factors in learning

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

You’ll examine the complex nature of how memory, intelligence, and other mental processes impact human behavior.

Topics may include:

  • The cognitive and physiological processes that make up memory
  • Forgetting and typical memory errors
  • The biological basis of short- and long-term memory
  • Creative thinking and problem-solving strategies
  • Biases and errors in thinking
  • Defining and measuring intelligence
  • The processes of learning and using language

On The Exam

13%–17% of exam score

Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

You’ll study how physical and social changes over humans’ lifespans can influence behavior and mental processes from a variety of perspectives.

Topics may include:

  • Physical and social development in childhood
  • Theories of cognitive development in childhood
  • Adolescent development and challenges
  • Adulthood and aging
  • Theories of moral development
  • Gender and sexual orientation

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

You’ll study personality through the lens of behavior and mental processes and how they interact to produce an individual’s personality.

Topics may include:

  • Theories of motivation behind human and animal behavior
  • Major theories of emotion
  • The effects of stress
  • Conceptions of personality, including behaviorist, social cognitive, humanistic, and trait theories
  • Research and assessments to measure personality

On The Exam

11%–15% of exam score

Unit 8: Clinical Psychology

You’ll learn how psychologists evaluate, study, and treat a range of psychological disorders.

Topics may include:

  • Standards for diagnosing and approaches to explaining psychological disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental and schizophrenic spectrum disorders
  • Bipolar, depressive, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Dissociative, somatic, and trauma- and stress-related disorders
  • Substance abuse, eating disorders, personality disorders, and related conditions
  • Historical developments in psychological treatment
  • Modern treatment options and methods

On The Exam

12%–16% of exam score

Unit 9: Social Psychology

You’ll examine how humans interact in groups and social situations, as well as how others can affect an individual’s behavior and mental processes.

Topics may include:

  • How social and cultural categories like gender and race can impact self-concept and behavior
  • The factors that lead people to form and change attitudes
  • Group dynamics, including conformity, compliance, and obedience to authority
  • Types of behavior caused by the presence of others
  • Bias, prejudice, and discrimination
  • Altruism and aggression
  • The variables that contribute to attraction

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

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Course Resources

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