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Is AP Psychology Hard? Is AP Psychology Worth Taking?

5 min readjuly 20, 2021

Aly Moosa

dalia

Dalia Savy


Hey 👋 so, you're wondering if you should take AP Psychology 🧠. Let's talk about it!

Overview of AP Psychology 🤗

AP Psychology gives you a taste of what you would learn in a semester-long introductory psychology course. There are 9 different units that you cover in AP Psych, all of which require zero prerequisites 🥳
There is a lot of memorization in this course. Most units can also be visualized and put into a graph. If you're a visual learner 👀, this course is very viable for you.
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Image Courtesy of Bolinsky AP Psychology. This is one of the many diagrams that help you visualize specific information!

Regardless, as long as you review the content necessary for the exam and practice, you will do really well. Many students take AP Psych as their first AP, deeming it as one of their "easier" exams.

Format of the Exam

For the first section of the exam, you are given 70 minutes to answer 100 multiple-choice questions 🤔 These 100 questions count for 67% of your total score.
For the second section of the exam, you are given 50 minutes to answer two free-response questions ✍️ These count for the other 33% of your total score and are more focused on applying your psychology knowledge to real-life situations.
Once you nail the concepts and units, all that is left to do is practice. Let's get into it!

Well, how hard is AP Psych? 🧠

Data 📊

According to the College Board:
  • 20.5% got a 5 in 2019 🥳
  • 64.5% passed the exam and got a 3+ in 2019 🎉
There is no way to truly judge how hard the course is, but many deem it to be really fun, interesting, and engaging. It all really depends on the teacher you have, your workload, and how much time you want to commit to this course alone ⬇️

Factors to Consider 💭

  • Workload: The amount of time 🕙 you may spend on AP Psych every day varies based on your teacher 👩‍🏫 👨‍🏫. They may assign you daily assignments for future success! If you...
    • Love to study in advance, pace your learning throughout the year, and learn the most:
      • It's best to read a few pages a day and take some notes. If you want, you could even outline the textbook and take notes on the most important concepts 📔 These outlines may really help closer to the exam date 🎉 The course is generally interesting, so this won't be as tedious as reading your AP Chem textbook 😉
    • Learn quickly and cramming often works for you:
      • You can set a few days before a big exam and begin to study the vocabulary 💭 Quizlet is very useful when it comes to studying in bulk for AP Psych. The day before the test, go through the concepts you have been struggling with and practice some MCQs and FRQs❓
  • Motivation: Motivation plays a huge part in school. In general, 🏫 a little bit of motivation can help you through the day, and complete everything on your to-do list ✅ If you are going to take AP Psych, set a goal for yourself, and celebrate doing the little things!
    • Whether or not you love psychology, or even studying in general, you can definitely find motivation by setting a goal 🏆
  • Time commitment: AP Psychology is one of the more manageable APs and shouldn't take much time out of your day. If you decide to take it, make sure you nail down the vocab terms and complete practice questions❓ You'll be set for success with just the right amount of effort 💯

Is AP Psych worth it?

Most students are so happy they took AP Psychology and consider it very fun and interesting to learn about. Just in case, here are some factors to consider:
  1. Your interests: If you want to learn about the psychological reasons behind the way we interact 🗣️, behave 🏃, and learn 🧠, this course is right for you! If not, you may want to consider taking it just to try something new out.
  2. AP Experience: If you have never taken AP classes before, AP Psychology might be a perfect first choice! It introduces you to the level of AP classes while having a manageable workload
  3. Credit 🎓: Many colleges accept credit for AP Psychology if you score high enough. This does not always mean you'll get course credit, but you may skip an introductory course and take a higher-level psychology course.

Quotes from Students that have taken AP Psychology

"AP Psychology was truly insightful as it opened the door to secrets about me that I hadn’t yet discovered, teaching me how my mind works and thinks. The course allowed me to understand why certain parts of my brain and body functioned in various ways. I was fascinated!" —Meghna P.
"AP Psych, by all means, was worth it! Personally, what I loved most about it was that everything we learned was so directly applicable to real life." —Mishika G.
"AP Psych was more than worth it. It had a unique curriculum that incorporated science, history, and language all in one. I usually forget content after taking the test, but the information I learned in AP Psych has truly stuck with me." —Lillian M.
"AP Psych is not related to my major, but it taught me so much about culture, how people behave/interact, and how to communicate well with others. It taught me people skills, how to have a good school-work-life balance, proper eating/sleeping/studying habits (seriously. there's a whole module dedicated to this, and it's so helpful) and cultural differences!" —Colleen B.

As always, we've got your back...

Resources:

Closing Thoughts

Weigh all of the factors in and make your decision on whether or not you want to take AP Psych. If you go for it, you'll never forget this class 🙃. No matter what you choose, you got this!

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Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology
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Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
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Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, & Personality
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Unit 8: Clinical Psychology
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Unit 9: Social Psychology
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