Study Guides for Every AP Psychology Unit

Published on Apr 30, 2020

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.

๐Ÿ”ŽUnit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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


๐Ÿง Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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


๐Ÿ‘€Unit 3: Sensation and Perception

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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


๐Ÿ“šUnit 4: Learning

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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


๐Ÿค”Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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

๐Ÿ‘ถUnit 6: Developmental Psychology

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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 Childhoodย 
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


๐ŸคชUnit 7: Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

๐Ÿ”ฅ 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


๐Ÿง  2020 ap psych study guide

Prepare for the new 2020 AP Psychology exam format with weekly lesson plans, study materials, and FRQ practice!

Hi everyone! I'm Dalia, an intern here at Fiveable. I am a junior that attends The Wheatley School in New York and I am involved in language extracurriculars as well as photography! In my free time, I volunteer at the Long Island Children's Museum and teach little kids piano.
New Online AP Psychology Study Guide – 2020 Changes

New Online AP Psychology Study Guide – 2020 Changes

๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ Hi, I'm Dr. John Mohl! I'm an AP Psych teacher and streamer at Fiveable. This year's exam is different than we expected, but I'm here to help. I've put together this study guide to help keep you on track while you are studying from home. You can follow this guide...

Unit 1 Review – Scientific Foundations of Psychology

Unit 1 Review – Scientific Foundations of Psychology

This structured outline below has been adapted from the 2019 Course Description and framework published by College Board. Through this outline, which highlights must-know concepts and terminology, you can construct a more comprehensive guide to ensure you excel at...


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