How to Approach Multiple-Choice Questions
Part IV: Test-Taking Strategies for the AP Psychology Exam
Test-Taking Strategies for the AP Psychology Exam
Review your responses to the questions on this page of Part I and then respond to the following questions:
· How many multiple-choice questions did you miss even though you knew the answer?
· On how many multiple-choice questions did you guess blindly?
· How many multiple-choice questions did you miss after eliminating some answers and guessing based on the remaining answers?
· Did you create an outline before you wrote each essay?
· Did you find any of the essays easier/harder than the others—and, if so, why?
HOW TO USE THE CHAPTERS IN THIS PART
Before you read the following chapters, think about what you are doing now. As you read and engage in the directed practice, be sure to consider the ways you can change your approach. At the end of Part III, you will have the opportunity to reflect on how you will change your approach.
How to Approach Multiple-Choice Questions
OVERVIEW OF THE MULTIPLE-CHOICE SECTION
As we discussed in Part III, Section I of the AP Psychology Exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions that cover the 9 units of the AP Psychology course. You have 70 minutes to complete this section, and it counts for two-thirds of your overall score. This time limit gives you less than one minute to answer each question. You might ask: “How can I possibly do well on this test when I have only about 42 seconds to answer each question?”
The answer: You do not need to work through all of the questions to do well on Section I of the AP Psychology Exam. In fact, smart testers often do not try to attempt every question and risk careless errors. Instead, smart testers choose which questions to tackle and which questions to simply guess on. “How do I choose?” you ask. To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at the way the test is set up.
Order of Difficulty
If you have taken tests like the SAT, you may have noticed that each time you begin a multiple-choice section, you find the questions manageable or even easy. But after a while, the test seems to become more difficult. Finally, near the end of the test, you may feel overwhelmed, as though you don’t know any of the answers. Lots of students attribute this phenomenon to time pressure or exhaustion. But there’s something else going on.
Many multiple-choice tests, including the AP Psychology Exam, have test questions arranged in a rough order of difficulty. In other words, the first part of the test contains mostly easy questions, the middle of the test contains questions of medium difficulty, and the last third of the exam contains primarily difficult questions. Now, why would a testing company set up a test in order of difficulty? Think about it: the company is trying to assess the psychology knowledge of thousands of students. If they placed all the hard questions at the beginning of the test or stuck them in intermittently, lots of students with pretty good, but not great, psychology knowledge would get stuck on the early questions and never get to the questions they could answer. They would lose time, have trouble building momentum, and generally get bogged down. The results would show two groups—a high-scoring group (the students who know almost all of the material and can answer almost all of the questions) and a low-scoring group (everyone else)—as opposed to a nice bell curve (where most students score somewhere around the middle).
Easy Ones First, Please
When a test is arranged in order of difficulty, everyone starts out answering easy questions. As students work through the test, they will hit a point at which they begin to have trouble. Companies that write standardized tests assert that this stumbling point shows where a student’s knowledge of a subject pretty much ends. Although this is open to debate, arranging a test in order of difficulty does create a more nearly fair test for everyone.
How does all this information help you? If the easiest questions are at the beginning of the exam, followed by questions of medium difficulty, and then the tough stuff, what is the point of rushing through the first questions to get to the questions you can’t answer? Easy questions are worth just as much as difficult questions. Therefore, to score well on Section I, you need to slow down and get as many of the easy and medium questions right as you can.
How to Score Your Personal Best on Section I
· Get all easy questions right
· Get most medium questions right
· Do the right thing on hard questions*
*See “Do The Right Thing” later in this chapter.
In Chapter 3, we’ll discuss in more depth how to pace yourself to maximize your score. Now, we’ll introduce you to some specific multiple-choice strategies.
No One Will Ever Know
Raw scores are not reported to you, your school, or your colleges. Only the final score, ranging from 1 to 5, is reported. In other words, no one will ever know that you got an AP Psych Grade of 5 (extremely well qualified), but got only 75 percent of Section I questions correct and rocked the essays. It’s the final grade that matters here, so take the test the smart way.
Your own knowledge of psychology will be the key to doing well, but certain strategies will help you stretch your psych knowledge and crack the trickier questions. Once you’ve mastered some of the smart-tester strategies, we’ll talk about how you can develop your personal approach to Section I.
Smart-Tester Strategy #1:
Understand the Question/Key Words
How often have you zipped through a question and picked the obvious answer, only to find that you misread the question? The most important thing you can do to increase your score on Section I is to make sure you understand what you are being asked.
After you read a question, take a second to make sure you understand it. Put the question in your own words, or circle the key words in the question. Taking this first step will eliminate the possibility of your answering the wrong thing. Try the following example:
1.A person’s refusal to accept an accurate diagnosis of a spouse’s mental illness demonstrates the use of which of the following defense mechanisms?
How would you ask this question in your own words?
When someone doesn’t want to accept really bad news, they are in…
Now the answer should be obvious: denial. By stating this question in everyday language, the answer pops out at you. Try another example:
19.The failure of bystanders to respond to a stranger’s cries for help is sometimes explained as an instance of
How would you ask the question?
Why don’t people do anything when someone is yelling “help”?
In the case of question 19, you may not know the answer off the top of your head, but clarifying the question makes you better prepared to deal with the answer choices.
Let’s look at one more:
22.The dependent variable in the experiment above is
In this case, you don’t need to put the question into your own words. However, you want to make sure you look for the right thing when you hit the answer choices. Therefore, circle the key words dependent variable before you head to the answer choices.
Understand the Question/Key Words
For each of the following questions, circle the key words in the question. Then, if appropriate, jot down in your own words exactly what is being asked. Answers are on this page.
3.Angie is a scientist who is interested in the physical basis of psychological phenomena such as motivation, emotion, and stress. She is called a(n)
10.One of the primary tools of the school of structuralism was
18.Binocular cues provide important cues for depth perception because
35.Constance is presented with a list of words. When asked to recall the words, she remembers only the words from the beginning and the end of the list. This phenomenon demonstrates which of the following types of effect?
47.The recognition-by-components theory asserts that we categorize objects by breaking them down into their component parts and then
56.Veronica is competing in a regional gymnastics competition. As she waits for her turn on the mat, she ignores the sounds of the crowd and instead mentally reviews her routine. Veronica is managing an anxiety-producing situation by employing
70.Which of the following was true of Stanley Milgram’s studies of obedience?
88.In their discussions of the process of development, the advocates of the importance of nurture in the nature-nurture controversy emphasize which of the following?
Whenever you start a question, check out the question number. It will tell you approximately how hard the question is (easy: 1—33ish; medium: 34—66ish; difficult: 67ish—100). We’ve numbered all the questions in this book to reflect their approximate difficulty.
Smart-Tester Strategy #2: Predict the Answer
Once you’ve translated the question, you go to the answer choices, right? Stop right there…. Do you really think it’s that easy? Of course not, or everyone would get all the questions right. You need to do a little work before you get mired down in the answer choices.
Although many of the questions on Section I ask you for factual information, about 30 percent of the questions are application questions—questions that ask you to use your knowledge of psychology to address a given situation. Application questions are no problem as long as you understand the question first. Just be sure to Understand the Question/Key Words!
Beware of the Answer Choices
Answer choices are not our friends. In fact, think about what it takes for a test writer to develop five answer choices for each question. First, she needs to write the correct answer, making sure it is accurate but not too obvious. Then, she has to put in at least one or two close second choices. Finally, she needs to fill in the remaining choices and move on to the next question.
When taking a standardized test, most students read the question and then read each answer choice. What they fail to realize is that the answer choices are riddled with tricks, traps, and distractors designed to bump them off course.
Enter: The Smart Tester
Unlike your less savvy compatriots, you are a smart tester. You know that if you have an idea of the answer before you read the answer choices, you won’t be tempted to pick something that is way off base. You also know that, because four of the five choices you read are wrong, it’s best to assume that an answer is wrong until proven right.
After you translate the question into your own words, answer it in your own words. Now, that may mean actually knowing the exact answer (as in the case of denial), or it may mean putting yourself in the right ballpark before looking at the answer choices. Sometimes, it’s actually helpful to cover the answer choices to make your best prediction of what the answer should be. Then look at the choices and see which comes closest to your original thought. Let’s look at one of the questions from your last drill:
3.Angie is a scientist who is interested in the physical basis of psychological phenomena such as motivation, emotion, and stress. She is called a(n)
First, how would you ask this question in your own words? Okay, now maybe you know the answer to this question, and maybe you don’t. No problem. You can still answer the question before you look at the answer choices. If you can’t spit out Angie’s correct title immediately, answer the question by saying:
Angie is called a person who is into the physical basis of psychology.
With your answer in mind, look at each answer choice.
Now, use your answer to find the credited response:
(A)Is a psychologist a person who’s into the physical basis of psychology? No, this person is into more than just the physical basis.
(B)Is an anthropologist a person who’s into the physical basis of psychology? No, an anthropologist is into cultures.
(C)Is a physical therapist a person who’s into the physical basis of psychology? No, this person is not into the psychology part.
(D)Is a paleontologist a person who’s into the physical basis of psychology? No idea what this person is.
(E)Is a biopsychologist a person who’s into the physical basis of psychology? Yes.
Your answer? Choice (E), biopsychologist. By predicting the answer to the question before reading the answer choices, you were able to avoid getting tripped up in the first three answer choices. Plus, you realized the answer had to be (E), biopsychologist, without necessarily knowing anything about (D), paleontologist (a paleontologist studies fossils, by the way).
Smart-Tester Strategy #3: Process of Elimination (POE)
You have just learned your next big strategy: Process of Elimination (POE for short). Every time you answer a question, you will use POE, which means eliminating wrong answer choices and then choosing from what you have left. Why does it make sense to always answer questions this way? Because four of the five answer choices you read for each question are wrong. In other words, most of the answers you read on the test are wrong. Sometimes, it is much easier to identify two or three wrong answers on each question than it is to concentrate on finding the one right answer each time. By getting rid of two or three wrong answer choices on each question, you have substantially increased your accuracy and your guessing power.
Let’s try another example:
97.Which of the following is an example of metacognition?
Understand the Question/Key Words: Circle metacognition, and then define it:
Understanding cognitive (thought) processes.
Predict the Answer:
Find an example of people understanding how they think and learn.
Now, use POE to get rid of wrong answers:
(A)Recognizing the faces of new in-laws after seeing them only in pictures
(B)Memorizing 100 words from the dictionary
(C)Understanding the role of various parts of the brain in perception
(D)Accurately completing the logic in a deductive reasoning problem
(E)Knowing the effectiveness of different strategies for learning statistical formulas
(A)Is recognizing the faces of people the same as understanding how one thinks and learns? No. Cross off this answer choice. Every time you decide an answer is not the one you want, cross it off.
(B)Is memorizing something the same as understanding how one thinks and learns? No. Cross it off.
(C)Is understanding the role of various parts of the brain in perception the same as understanding how one thinks and learns? Not sure? Keep it and read the rest.
(D)Is accurately completing a logic problem the same as understanding how one thinks and learns? No. Cross it off.
(E)Is knowing the effectiveness of different strategies for learning the same as understanding how one thinks and learns? Sounds pretty close.
By using POE, you were able to easily narrow your choices down to (C) or (E). Once you have it down to two, compare your choices. Which one is closer to the answer you came up with? In this case, the answer is (E). Understanding the role of various parts of the brain in perception is still only knowledge of fact, not of mental processes. Notice the word understanding was used in (C), and not by coincidence. By using POE, you were able to escape the trap and answer the question correctly. Did you notice that this was question number 97? (Remember, questions are arranged from least to most difficult, making highest-numbered questions the hardest.) Only about 20 percent of test-takers would answer this question correctly.
Okay, so POE is a great strategy, but what if you don’t know what the key term in a question actually means? You have two choices: If this is a very hard question, which it was, you can simply skip it and come back to it if you have time. However, don’t underestimate your knowledge. You may not be able to cough up the dictionary definition of metacognition, but you can pull the word apart. If you have spent more than a week in AP Psych class, you know that cognition has something to do with thinking. Then recall how you have heard the prefix meta used. How about metaphysics? So there’s physics and metaphysics, and there’s thinking (cognition) and meta-thinking (metacognition). It’s probably some higher level of thinking. Although this rough definition may not get you to the exact answer, it will help you cross off some answer choices that will, in turn, help you make an educated guess.
Smart-Tester Strategy Review
Strategy #1: Understand the Question/Key Words: Read the question, and put it into your own words. Circle any key words or phrases that might point you in the right direction.
Strategy #2: Predict the Answer: Come up with your own answer to the question (exact or ballpark).
Strategy #3: Process of Elimination (POE): Cross off each answer that is not close to yours. Pick the best match.
More on POE
Now let’s say you read a question and don’t know the answer. All is not lost. You can use your brain, the information in the question, and POE to get to the answer (or at least to a fifty-fifty chance of guessing the right answer). Look at the following example:
74.Which of the following best supports the assertion that intelligence is at least in part inherited?
(A)Pairs of fraternal twins have a greater correlation of IQ score than do other pairs of siblings.
(B)Pairs of twins reared together have a greater correlation of IQ score than do pairs of twins reared apart.
(C)Pairs of identical twins have a greater correlation of IQ score than do pairs of fraternal twins.
(D)Adopted children and their adoptive parents have a correlation of IQ score that is greater than zero.
(E)Adopted children and their adoptive parents have a greater correlation of IQ score than do the same children and their biological parents.
Did you read the answer choices for question 74 before you answered on your own? Don’t forget, wrong answers are designed to confuse, not to assist. Be sure to follow your smart strategy and not look at the answer choices too soon. First, let’s do smart strategies for question 74.
Understand the Question/Key Words: Circle the words intelligence and inherited. Then restate the question:
Which of the answers says genetics affects smarts?
Predict the Answer: If you answered, I don’t know, no problem. Simply use what you do know and POE.
Use POE for each answer choice:
(A)Does the fact that pairs of fraternal twins have a greater correlation of IQ score than do other pairs of siblings indicate that genetics affects smarts? Careful—are fraternal twins any different genetically from other sibling pairs? If you are unsure, leave this choice and go on.
(B)Does the fact that pairs of twins reared together have a greater correlation of IQ score than do pairs of twins reared apart indicate that genetics affects smarts? No, it indicates the opposite because it implies that the nongenetic factors are more significant. Cross it off.
(C)Does the fact that pairs of identical twins have a greater correlation of IQ score than do pairs of fraternal twins indicate that genetics affects smarts? Yes. Identical twins come from one egg, while fraternal twins come from two, making fraternal twins genetically less similar. Keep this answer choice and read on.
(D)Does the fact that adopted children and their adoptive parents have a correlation of IQ score that is greater than zero indicate that genetics affects smarts? No, it indicates the opposite—nurture over nature. Cross this choice off.
(E)Does the fact that adopted children and their adoptive parents have a greater correlation of IQ score than do the same children and their biological parents indicate that genetics affects smarts? No, it also indicates nurture over nature. Cross it off.
You’ve at least narrowed it down to two choices without even really knowing the answer—that’s pretty cool. Now look at the two choices you have not crossed off. Choice (C) very clearly shows genetics affects smarts, while (A) may or may not. What’s your best guess? You got it: (C).
There’s no penalty for guessing, so don’t leave anything blank! Maybe you don’t spend time on every question, but take an educated guess on those you work on, and choose the same letter for all those you have no idea on or don’t have time for. By using the same letter when guessing randomly (what we call your Letter of the Day, or LOTD), you will most likely guarantee yourself a couple extra points!
Even if you’re left with two very hard answer choices to choose between, just choose one and move on. Don’t sweat it; there’s no penalty for guessing. And you can’t score another point without moving on to another question!
HOW LONG IS 70 MINUTES?
Right about now you are probably thinking, “Nice idea, and I’ll probably finish about 10 questions in 70 minutes following this strategy.” Even though you don’t need to work through every question on the test to do well, you do need to work efficiently and effectively.
Your Personal Pace
It is imperative that you choose a pace that is efficient and effective for you. It doesn’t matter if your best friend can complete the entire section in 30 minutes. You need to work at a pace that will allow you to do as many questions as you can while maintaining accuracy. Set your own personal pace and you will do your personal best.
As you know, rushing through the test and getting easy questions wrong is a bad idea. But how slow is too slow? After all, this is a timed test, and you do need to complete a significant number of the questions to do well.
Work Efficiently and Effectively
The best way for you to determine your own personal pace is to work efficiently (don’t dawdle) and effectively (get right what you do answer). In other words, although you don’t want to rush through and make careless errors, you don’t want to spend all day on one question. Work at a pace that allows you to get questions right without dragging your heels. If you find yourself lingering for too long over a question, make a decision and move on. However, if you are doing some good, effective work on a question and have narrowed it down to two choices, don’t lose the point because you “need to get to the next question.”
Let’s take a closer look at the order of difficulty to help you with this idea of working efficiently and effectively.
Question Difficulty, Redux
· Tend to come early in the test
· Always ask about something you know
Even if you’re on Question 3, if you don’t know anything about the subject of the question, it won’t be easy for you. Conversely, a question on the last third of the test may be tricky, but if you know the topic well, it won’t be that hard for you.
How can you score your personal best? Use your smart strategies efficiently and effectively.
Easy Questions Drill
On easy questions, you will be able to accomplish these steps rapidly. Most short, easy questions will take very little time from start to finish. Try this drill, working quickly but carefully. Before you begin, jot down your start time. Once you have finished, note your end time and check your answers for accuracy. Remember, the goal is to be efficient (work rapidly) and effective (work accurately). Let’s dive in and test drive those smart-tester strategies.
1.Sigmund Freud is thought of as the originator of which of the following perspectives of psychology?
2.A person who is attempting to overcome a heroin addiction is experiencing hallucinations, tremors, and other side effects. These painful experiences associated with the termination of an addiction are known as
3.After several trials during which a dog is given a specific type of food each time a light is lit, there is evidence of conditioning if the dog salivates when
(A)the food is presented and the light is not lit
(B)the light is lit and the food is not present
(C)the food and the light occur simultaneously
(D)a different kind of food is presented
(E)a tone is sounded when the food is presented
4.The basic unit of the nervous system is called the
5.Which of the following methods of research is central to the behaviorist perspective?
Turn to this page to check your answers. How did you do? Remember, if you finished in two minutes but missed even one question, you were working too fast. Don’t throw away points on the easy questions.
By the Way…
The more psychology you have under your belt, the easier this test will be. The strategies you are learning here are designed to make the most of the psychology knowledge you possess—to keep you from missing answers to questions that you should be getting right. The strategies will also help you stretch your knowledge so you can answer questions about topics you only sort-of know. However, although they will help you make smart guesses, the strategies won’t make a question on a completely unfamiliar topic easy.
Medium Questions Drill
You will spend most of your test time on the medium questions. These are the questions that you will know, or sort-of know, but will need to answer very carefully so you don’t lose points to tricks and traps. Try the next five questions as you did on the previous drill, working more slowly but still efficiently and effectively: that is, using the strategies that we’ve been discussing throughout this chapter.
33.The primary drives of hunger and thirst are, for the most part, regulated by which of the following?
(A)The medulla oblongata
(E)The adrenal glands
34.Imposing order on individual details in order to view them as part of a whole is a basic principle of which of the following types of psychologists?
35.To determine the number of students in the school who own personal computers, a school bookstore decides to survey the members of the introductory computer science class. A problem with this study is that
(A)the survey may not elicit the information the store is looking for
(B)the store is not surveying a representative sample of students
(C)the survey is being constructed without a hypothesis
(D)it is unclear as to whether the bookstore will be able to establish causation
(E)the survey is being given during school hours
36.When an individual looks through the window in the morning, the two regions of the cortex that are stimulated are
(A)the temporal lobes and the occipital lobes
(B)the parietal lobes and the frontal lobes
(C)the frontal lobes and the temporal lobes
(D)the temporal lobes and the parietal lobes
(E)the occipital lobes and the parietal lobes
37.Which of the following statements is true of behaviorism?
(A)It holds that most behaviors are the result of unconscious motives that come into conflict.
(B)It focuses on the development of the cognitive self in regard to behavior.
(C)It holds that development is largely a product of learning.
(D)It emphasizes the role of nature over the impact of nurture.
(E)It was developed to replace the cognitive and humanistic perspectives.
Turn to this page to check how you did this time. If you missed a question, no big deal. (All the questions in the above two drills are about topics covered in the first five psych-review chapters of this book, so you’ll have a chance to review them if you had trouble.) If you missed more than one question and were finished in less than five minutes, you were working too fast. Slow your pace, and pick up your accuracy.
You may have noticed on the medium drill that some questions have much longer answer choices than others. In the earlier sections of the test, you will have a long-answer question about every seven or so questions. Near the later part of the test, a long-answer question will occur more frequently. Throwing in questions with long answer choices is one of the ways a test writer can make a question more difficult and more time-consuming.
To Skip or Not to Skip
Imagine yourself taking Section I. You’re cruising along through the easy section, feelin’ fine. Suddenly, you hit a speed bump. Question 10, a question that should be easy, seems much harder than you would expect. Keep in mind that no order of difficulty is perfect for each individual, especially on an exam that is testing each individual’s knowledge of a particular subject. Chances are this particular question is either a misplaced difficult question, or it’s about a topic you don’t happen to know very well. In any case, does it make sense for you to spend several minutes on question 10 when there are 90 questions to go, many of which will be easier for you than this one? Of course not. Remember, this is your test—you should take it in the order that is best for you. If you have time, circle it and come back. If you have no idea, bubble in your Letter of the Day and move on!
Should You Ever Leave a Question Blank?
Maybe you skip it for later, but make sure to bubble in a response through POE and common sense, or your Letter of the Day if you are completely lost.
Are We There Yet?—The Toughest Third
How about those tough questions? Should you just skip all of them? Of course not. You should work efficiently and effectively through the easy and medium portions of the test, making sure that you’ve gotten as many points as you can from those sections. With your remaining time, you should work your way smartly through the most challenging questions.
Once you pass question 70, you can be pretty sure that you have entered the most difficult third of the test. Even without looking at the question number, you can often tell when you’ve hit the difficult third because, suddenly, every question requires a lot more brainpower than before. How can you get the most points out of this portion of the test?
Do the Right Thing. As we’ve mentioned, a question is difficult not only if it appears in the tough section of the test, but also if it is about a topic with which you are unfamiliar. Conversely, if you know a particular topic well, a question about it that happens to appear in the difficult portion of the test need not be difficult. Therefore, once you pass question 70, Do the Right Thing! This means, you should read each question first to see if you are familiar with the topic. If you are, go for it. If it sounds like Greek, skip it (draw a box around it so you can come back to it). If you are familiar with the topic of a question, proceed as usual but with caution. Remember, this question was placed late in the test because it is somehow more difficult than the rest. Be sure to use your smart-tester strategies: Understand the Question/Key Words, Predict the Answer, and POE. If you get it down to two choices and don’t know which one is correct, make a smart guess and move on. You have a fifty-fifty chance of guessing correctly, so you are a lot better off than when you started.
Smart Guessing = Common Sense. Sometimes you will be familiar with the topic of a question, but not enough to answer the question. In addition to using your usual strategy, you can also use your common sense, and the information you do have, to use POE and then take a smart guess. Look at the following example:
87.Which of the following most accurately lists the stages of Hans Selye’s general adaptation syndrome?
(A)Shock, anger, self-control
(B)Appraisal, stress response, coping
(C)Alarm, resistance, exhaustion
(D)Anxiety, fighting, adapting
(E)Attack, flight, defense
Now, let’s assume you have no idea what Hans Selye’s general adaptation syndrome is. You can still follow the smart strategy, and use your common sense to get close to the answer.
Understand the Question/Key Words: Circle general adaptation syndrome. Think about what that term might mean:
It has something to do with adapting, and it’s a syndrome, which often means something negative.
Predict the Answer: Stages of adaptation that seem to characterize a kind of syndrome.
(A)Are shock, anger, and self-control stages of adaptation that characterize a kind of syndrome? No, a syndrome would not end up in self-control. Cross it off.
(B)Are appraisal, stress response, and coping stages of adaptation that characterize a kind of syndrome? No, they seem much more normal and positive. Cross it off.
(C)Are alarm, resistance, and exhaustion stages of adaptation that characterize a kind of syndrome? This is the most feasible choice so far. Keep it and read on.
(D)Are anxiety, fighting, and adapting stages of adaptation that characterize a kind of syndrome? Again, a syndrome would not have a last stage of adapting. Cross it off. Don’t let the word adapting in this choice throw you off.
(E)Are attack, flight, and defense stages of adaptation that characterize a kind of syndrome? This one also has negative attributes that could constitute a syndrome.
You are left with (C) and (E). Take a guess, and remember that you have narrowed your choices down to a fifty-fifty shot on a question about which you had no clue. The correct answer, by the way, is (C). Given that the name of the syndrome is the “general adaptation syndrome” and not the “best way to cause a fight” syndrome, (C) is your smarter guess.
Keeping It Clean
Of course, the more psychology you know, the easier all the questions will be. Using common sense and POE will help you out not only when you are unsure of the material, but also when you know the material and want to avoid careless errors and trap answers.
Here’s another example of how your common sense can help you eliminate wrong answers:
(A)Personal conscience is innate, and all human beings develop it at the same rate.
(B)By adulthood, all people judge moral issues in terms of self-chosen principles.
Hey, wait a minute. Where’s the question? We’ve given you these two answer choices to demonstrate how common sense can play an important role in getting rid of wrong answer choices. Let’s evaluate these two answer choices. Choice (A) says that personal conscience is innate, and all human beings develop it at the same rate. Does that sound accurate? Even without knowing the question, it is hard to imagine that any psychologist would suggest that all human beings develop personal conscience at the same rate. You know this answer cannot be the answer to the question simply by using common sense. Cross it off.
How about (B): By adulthood, all people judge moral issues in terms of self-chosen principles. Again, is this statement true? Even if a lot of people judge moral issues in terms of self-chosen principles, it is rare that all people ever do anything the same way. The extreme language of this answer choice can help you determine that it is wrong. Without even knowing the question, you are able to eliminate two answer choices by using your common sense.
Be Selective. In dealing with hard questions, remember that you don’t need to work through them all. You choose the difficult questions you want to do and in what order you want to do them. For example, after question 70, you may wish to concentrate on all the short-answer questions because the long-answer questions are more time-consuming and difficult. Place a box around each question you skip so that you can go back to them, and make sure to be careful when bubbling in your answer sheet. If there are particular questions you want to attempt, mark them with a star.
CREATE YOUR PERSONAL PACING STRATEGY
Finally, you will score your best on Section I of the AP Psychology Exam by developing your own optimal strategy. Use the tools we have given you; practice them to make them second nature (the strategy drills in Chapter 4 will help you fine-tune your skills). Once you are comfortable with your question strategy, do some timed work to help determine your personal pacing strategy. As you strengthen your test-taking skills, try to finish more and more of Section I. Determine what working efficiently and effectively means for you. And remember, you have an essay portion that will contribute to your final grade, as well. Emphasize your strengths to get the best grade you can. Oh yeah, and you’d better review some psychology, too!