Fiveable

Studying for the AP Psychology exam? We’ve pulled together a list of study guides for every unit so you can focus your time on studying and not looking for resources! If you need more explanations, drop your questions in the community chat or join us for this week’s cram session.

All of these study guides were created by AP Psychology teachers and students who have passed the exam. They include everything you need to know to get a 5 on the exam. We’re publishing more every day, so check back or send us a message with any immediate requests! Please note! Due to the COVID outbreak, the 2020 exam only covers units 1-7. Find the 2020 exam schedule, learn tips & tricks, and get your frequently asked questions answered on Fiveable's Guide to the 2020 AP Exam Updates.


🔎unit 1: scientific foundations of psychology

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit involves a lot of statistics, famous psychologists, and different subfields in psychology. Don’t get too worried about memorizing every specific subfield, as long as you know the main ones covered in future units, you’ll be all good! However, the history of psychology is a little more relevant and the ethical guidelines are essential! Debriefing and other ethical guidelines were often in FRQs and it’s good to remember those.

1.0 – Unit 1 Overview

1.1 - Introducing Psychology: The Historical Progression of Psychology 1.2 – Research Methods in Psychology 1.3 – The Experimental Method 1.4 – Selecting a Research Method 1.5 – Statistical Analysis in Psychology 1.6 – Ethical Guidelines in Psychology


🧠unit 2: biological bases of behavior

🔥 Quick Tip: Many often freak out when they see the amount of information they need to memorize for this unit. It may seem difficult but after reviewing a few times with flashcards or even Quizlet, you’ll have most of it down! Make sure you memorize how each sleep stage differs as well as the effects of drugs on neural firing! Memorizing the function of neurotransmitters would also be really helpful for this exam. Have fun with this! I personally find it really interesting to learn about the biology behind our behaviors.

2.0 – Unit 2 Overview 2.1 – Interaction of Heredity and Environment 2.2 – The Endocrine System 2.3 – Overview of the Nervous System and the Neuron 2.4 – Neural Firing 2.5 – Influence of Drugs on Neural Firing 2.6 – The Brain 2.7 – Tools for Examining Brain Structure and Function 2.8 – The Adaptable Brain: Neural Fluidity 2.9 – Sleep and Dreaming


👀unit 3: sensation and perception

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit covers a lot of step by step memorization. It is important to know how light travels, how sound travels, and the difference between chemical senses and body senses. Focus more on the ear and the eye, as well as pain, for this unit! It may be really helpful to draw out diagrams or create a list of the main parts of the ear/eye with their functions.

3.0 – Unit 3 Overview 3.1 – Principles of Sensation 3.2 – Principles of Perception 3.3 – Visual Anatomy 3.4 – Visual Perception 3.5 – Auditory Sensation and Perception 3.6 – Chemical Senses 3.7 – Body Senses


📚unit 4: learning

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit consists more of understanding conditioning, rather than memorizing it! Practice makes perfect with this unit, especially when identifying the unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, neutral stimulus, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response. These may seem confusing at first but remembering Pavlov’s dog and comparing it to the question you’re tackling often helps. With operant conditioning, memorize the difference between reinforcement and punishment and you’re good to go!

4.0 – Unit 4 Overview 4.1 – Introduction to Learning 4.2 – Classical Conditioning 4.3 – Operant Conditioning 4.4 – Social and Cognitive Factors in Learning


🤔unit 5: cognitive psychology

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit connects to Unit 2 a lot in which it incorporates different parts of your brain and goes into greater detail with them. It’d be good to remember the different types of memory, amnesia, ways of thinking, and biases. Again, use Quizlet if you can! It’s a very good way to test your knowledge of vocabulary.

5.0 – Unit 5 Overview 5.1 – Introduction to Memory 5.2 – Encoding 5.3 – Storing 5.4 – Retrieving 5.5 – Forgetting and Memory Distortion 5.6 – Biological Bases of Memory 5.7 – Introduction to Thinking and Problem Solving 5.8 – Biases and Errors in Thinking 5.9 – Introduction to Intelligence 5.10 – Psychometric Principles and Intelligence Testing 5.11 – Components of Language and Language Acquisition


👶unit 6: developmental psychology

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit consists of many different psychologists and their theories of development. Making a mini study guide a bunch of tables that are each dedicated to a theory would be really helpful! For example, list each stage of Piaget’s cognitive development theory and read it over a few times a day. Writing these over and over again also helps solidify each key term and theory.

6.0 – Unit 6 Overview 6.1 – The Lifespan and Physical Development in Childhood 6.2 – Social Development in Childhood  6.3 – Cognitive Development in Childhood 6.4 – Adolescent Development 6.5 – Adulthood and Aging 6.6 – Moral Development 6.7 – Gender and Sexual Orientation


🤪unit 7: motivation, emotion, and personality

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit consists of a lot of different subfields of psychology and what their theories of personality are. It is important to stay focused on one subfield at a time so you don’t mix the theories up. To have some fun with it, maybe you can take one of the personality tests!

7.0 – Unit 7 Overview 7.1 – Theories of Motivation 7.2 – Specific Topics in Motivation 7.3 – Theories of Emotion 7.4 – Stress and Coping 7.5 – Introduction to Personality 7.6 – Psychoanalytic Theories of Personality 7.7 – Behaviorism and Social Cognitive Theories of Personality 7.8 – Humanistic Theories of Personality 7.9 – Trait Theories of Personality 7.10 – Measuring Personality


🛋unit 8: clinical psychology

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit connects back to the chemistry of your brain and goes in depth with psychological disorders. It’s a lot to memorize since this unit combines all psychological approaches and focuses on the disorders and their symptoms as a whole.

8.0 – Unit 8 Overview 8.1 – Introduction to Psychological Disorders 8.2 – Psychological Perspectives and Etiology of Disorders 8.3 – Neurodevelopmental and Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders 8.4 – Bipolar, Depressive, Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders 8.5 – Trauma- and Stressor Related, Dissociative, and Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders 8.6 – Feeding and Eating, Substance and Addictive, and Personality Disorders 8.7 – Introduction to Treatment of Psychological Disorders 8.8 – Psychological Perspectives and Treatment of Disorders 8.9 – Treatment of Disorders from the Biological Perspective 8.10 – Evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, and Empirical Support for Treatment of Disorders


👫unit 9: social psychology

🔥 Quick Tip: This unit connects us, individuals, to the community and greater world around us. In this unit, you may learn the psychological phenomenons behind historical decisions, such as the Bay of Pigs Fiasco (an example of groupthink). You may even be able to apply these concepts to situations you’ve seen first hand!

9.0 – Unit 9 Overview 9.1 – Attribution Theory and Person Perception 9.2 – Attitude Formation and Attitude Change 9.3 – Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience 9.4 – Group Influences on Behavior and Mental Processes 9.5 – Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination 9.6 – Altruism and Aggression 9.7 – Interpersonal Attraction

Fiveable Logo

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211

*ap® and advanced placement® are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

© fiveable 2020 | all rights reserved.