Monday, May 11, 2009

AP Psychology Exam - Last Minute Items

With the AP Psychology Exam on Tuesday, many of us are reaching the end to a long journey that started last September. Below are some of the "last minute" items I tell my students.

General Information:
  • Tuesday May 13, 2009 in the afternoon
  • Bring pencils with erasers and blue or black pens
  • Bring a watch that does not beep
  • Do not wear any psychology related clothing
  • Do not bring anything else: books, papers, calculators, cell phones, etc.
Multiple Choice Section:
  • 100 multiple choice questions
  • 70 minutes
  • 2/3 of the overall grade
  • A-E Answers
  • Names, charts, graphs, drawings are all possible
  • 1/4 point deduction for guessing
Free Response Section:
  • 2 required Free Response (essay) Questions
  • 50 minutes
  • 1/3 of the overall grade - 1/6 of grade for each question
  • Points are given for correct responses not taken away for incorrect material
  • Points can only be removed if one part of an answer contradicts another part
  • Read through both essays before doing anything else
  • Think through the answer before starting to write
  • Write an outline or notes in the test question booklet
  • Don’t be afraid to cross something out, if needed
  • Write in sentences - DO NOT OUTLINE OR BULLET YOUR ANSWER.
  • Be as complete as possible, but keep to the point.
  • Watch the time. Don’t get caught short on essay #2
  • Structure the answer following the structure of the question
Test Security:
  • Do not discuss the multiple-choice section with anyone
  • Do not discuss the free response questions for 48 hours. The general rule of thumb is wait until the questions have been posted on the College Board website
  • Do NOT post, text, email etc. anything about the exam on the Internet, especially on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks
  • Do not come and visit me between the multiple choice section and free response section
If you have any questions on the above items, please contact me at Please feel free to leave any other ideas in the comments section below. Best of luck to everyone.


Rob Mc said...

One other tip, and this one may or may not feel useful to students at this point as the test looms: I told my students to review the "perspectives on psychology" (e.g. behaviorist, cognitive, etc.) and think about them quickly as they scan a multiple choice item. Often you can eliminate one or two of the possible answers because they don't "match" the perspective presented in the question. For example, if the stem of the question is clearly coming from a psychoanalytic perspective (e.g. "aspect of the unconcsious mind"), you can eliminate any of the possible answers that use behaviorist language ("classically conditioned")

Steve said...

One thing I told my students was NOT to skip around. So many times in other standardized tests this year I've seen them skip to other sections, and I pointed out that the test is typically easier in the beginning and harder at the end. In the released exams the questions also get longer near the end, and since all the questions have the same weight, there's no advantage to working more slowly on the harder section first.