Part I: Using This Book to Improve Your AP Score

AP Psychology Premium Prep - The Princeton Review 2021

Part I: Using This Book to Improve Your AP Score


Your route to a high score on the AP Psychology Exam depends a lot on how you plan to use this book. To help you determine your approach, respond to the following questions.

1. Rate your level of confidence about your knowledge of the content tested by the AP Psychology Exam:

A. Very confident—I know it all

B. I’m pretty confident, but there are topics for which I could use help

C. Not confident—I need quite a bit of support

D. I’m not sure

2. Choose your goal score for the AP Psychology Exam:

5 4 3 2 1 I’m not sure yet.

3. What do you expect to learn from this book? Choose all that apply to you.

. A general overview of the test and what to expect

A. Strategies for how to approach the test

B. The content tested by this exam

C. I’m not sure yet


This book is organized to provide as much—or as little—support as you need, so you can use this book in whatever way will be most helpful to improving your score on the AP Psychology Exam.

· The remainder of Part I will provide guidance on how to use this book and help you determine your strengths and weaknesses.

· Part II of this book contains Practice Test 1, its answers and explanations, and a scoring guide. (Bubble sheets can be found in the very back of the book for easy tear-out.) We strongly recommend that you take this test before going any further, in order to realistically determine:

o your starting point right now

o which question types you’re ready for and which you might need to practice

o which content topics you are familiar with and which you will want to carefully review

Once you have nailed down your strengths and weaknesses with regard to this exam, you can focus your test preparation, build a study plan, and be efficient with your time.

· Part III of this book will:

o provide information about the structure, scoring, and content of the AP Psychology Exam

o help you to make a study plan

o point you toward additional resources

· Part IV of this book will explore various strategies, including the following:

o how to attack multiple-choice questions

o how to write effective essays

o how to manage your time to maximize the number of points available to you

· Part V of this book covers the content you need for the AP Psychology Exam.

· Parts VI and VII of this book contain Practice Tests 2, 3, and 4, their answers and explanations, and scoring guides. (Bubble sheets can be found in the very back of the book for easy tear-out.) If you skipped Practice Test 1, we recommend that you do all four (with at least a day or two between them) so that you can compare your progress between the two. Additionally, this will help to identify any external issues: if you answer a certain type of question wrong both times, you probably need to review it. If you answered it incorrectly only once, you may have run out of time or been distracted by something. In either case, comparing the two exams will allow you to focus on the factors that caused the discrepancy in scores and to be as prepared as possible on the day of the test.

You may choose to use some parts of this book over others, or you may work through the entire book. Your approach will depend on your needs and how much time you have. Let’s now look at how to make this determination.


Don’t forget!

To take Practice Test 5, be sure to register your book online following the instructions on this page. You’ll also gain access to a bunch of other helpful Student Tools, including study guides and key term lists!


1.Take a Test

Before you can decide how to use this book, you need to take a practice test. Doing so will give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses, and the test will also help you make an effective study plan. If you’re feeling test-phobic, remind yourself that a practice test is a tool for diagnosing yourself—it’s not how well you do that matters but how you use information gleaned from your performance to guide your preparation.

So, before you read further, take Practice Test 1 starting on this page of this book. Be sure to do so in one sitting, following the instructions that appear before the test.

2.Check Your Answers

Using the answer key on this page, count the number of multiple-choice questions you answered correctly and how many you missed. Don’t worry about the explanations for now, and don’t worry about why you missed questions. We’ll get to that soon.

3.Reflect on the Test

After you take your first test, respond to the following questions:

· How much time did you spend on the multiple-choice questions?

· How much time did you spend on each essay?

· How many multiple-choice questions did you miss?

· Do you feel you had the knowledge to address the subject matter of the essays?

· Do you feel you wrote well-organized, thoughtful essays?


Score Conversion Sheets

After each practice test in this book, you’ll find conversion sheets that can help you approximate what you would get if it was an actual AP exam. Don’t be alarmed if it’s lower than you expected; use your score on the first practice test to help you better improve on the second practice test!

On the following pages, choose the content areas that were most challenging for you, and draw a line through the ones in which you felt confident/did well.

Key Concepts

Want an extended list of concepts broken down by course units? Log onto your online Student Tools! You’ll also find digital copies of the Key Terms lists at the end of each content chapter in this book.

Foundations (10—14%)


· John Locke and empiricism

· Charles Darwin and evolutionary theory

· Wilhelm Wundt and structuralism

· William James and functionalism


· behavioral genetics

· behavioralist

· biological

· biopsychosocial

· cognitive

· evolutionary

· humanistic

· psychodynamic / psychoanalytic

· sociocultural


· biological

· clinical

· cognitive

· counseling

· developmental

· educational

· experimental

· industrial-organizational

· personality

· positive

· psychometric

· social


· causation vs. correlation

· descriptive and inferential statistics

· reliability and validity (internal and external)

· study types, groups, and variables

Biological Bases of Behavior (8—10%)

· brain regions

· consciousness

· endocrine system

· nervous system

· psychoactive drugs

Sensation and Perception (6—8%)


· absolute vs. difference threshold (Weber’s law)

· bottom-up vs. top-down processing

· Gestalt psychology

· transduction


· auditory

· chemical senses (taste, smell)

· body senses (kinesthetic, vestibular)

· visual

Learning (7—9%)

Behavioral problems

· behavioral problems (behavior modification, self-control)

Classical conditioning

· conditioned vs. unconditioned vs. neutral

· stimulus vs. response

· Ivan Pavlov

Operant conditioning

· reinforcement vs. punishment

· positive vs. negative and primary vs. secondary

· B. F. Skinner

Other forms of learning

· latent learning and insight learning (Wolfgang Köhler)

· social and emotional learning

· vicarious learning (Albert Bandura’s bobo doll experiment)

Cognitive Psychology (13—17%)

Cognitive processes

· attention (selective and divided)

· processing (effortful, automatic, deep, shallow)


· fluid vs. crystallized intelligence

· single vs. multiple intelligences

· testing (normal curve)


· brain areas devoted to language

· Noam Chomsky


· encoding, storage, and retrieval

· failures of memory

Problem solving: barriers and strategies

· representativeness heuristic and availability heuristic

· functional fixedness

Developmental Psychology (7—9%)

· gender and sexual orientation

· physical: prenatal to neonatal

· social: attachment and parenting styles

· stage theories: Piaget, Kohlberg, Freud, Erikson

Motivation, Emotion, and Personality (11—15%)


· basic concepts: drives and needs

· theories

Theories of emotion

· Cannon-Bard, James-Lange, and Schachter-Singer

· Paul Ekman and cross-cultural display of emotions

Stress and coping

· Kurt Lewin’s motivational conflict theory (approach-avoidance)

· Hans Selye’s General Adaptation theory

· stress-related illnesses


· approaches

· cultural context and self-concept (individualistic vs. collectivistic societies)

· researching and measuring personality

Clinical Psychology (12—16%)

Categories of Disorders

· neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive

· schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders

· bipolar, depressive, anxiety, and OCD

· trauma- and stressor-related disorders

· dissociative and somatic symptom disorders

· feeding and eating disorders, substance and addictive disorders

· personality disorders

General perspectives and issues

· DSM-5

· etiology of disorders

· negative consequences of diagnostic labels (Rosenhan study)

· psychology and the legal realm (confidentiality, insanity defense)


· biological perspective of treatment

· biopsychosocial perspective of treatment

· psychological perspectives of treatment

Social Psychology (8—10%)

· Attitude

· Attribution Theory

· Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience

· Group Influences on Behavior and Thinking

· Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination

· Attraction, altruism, and aggression

Please refer to the College Board website for the most up-to-date and in-depth breakdown of subjects.

4.Read Part III of This Book and Complete the Self-Evaluation

Part III will provide information on how the test is structured and scored. It will also list areas of content that are tested.

As you read Part III, reevaluate your answers to the questions on this page. At the end of Part III, you will revisit and refine the questions you answered on this page. You will then be able to make a study plan, based on your needs and time available, that will allow you to use this book most effectively.

5.Engage with Parts IV and V as Needed

Notice the word engage. You’ll get more out of this book if you use it intentionally than if you read it passively, hoping for an improved score through osmosis. Strategy chapters in Part IV will help you think about your approach to the question types on this exam. This part opens with a reminder to think about how you approach questions now and then closes with a reflection section asking you to think about how/whether you will change your approach in the future.

Content chapters in Part V are designed to provide a review of the content tested on the AP Psychology Exam, including the level of detail you need to know and how the content is tested. You will have the opportunity to assess your mastery of the content of each chapter through test-appropriate questions and a reflection section.

6.Take Practice Test 2 and Assess Your Performance

Once you feel you have developed the strategies you need and gained the knowledge you lacked, you should take Practice Test 2, which starts on this page of this book. You should do so in one sitting, following the instructions at the beginning of the test.

When you are done, check your answers to the multiple-choice sections. See whether a teacher will read your essays and provide feedback.

Once you have taken the test, reflect on what areas you still need to work on, and revisit the chapters in this book that address those deficiencies. Through this type of reflection and engagement, you will continue to improve. Use the rest of your practice tests to measure your progress along the way.

7.Keep Working

As we’ll discuss in Part III, there are other resources available to you, including a wealth of information on the section of the College Board’s AP website called AP Students. You can continue to explore areas that can stand to improve and engage in those areas right up to the day of the test.