How to Self-Study AP Psychology

Malak Elmitwaly 
Published on
March 17, 2023

I freaked out big time when I first saw the material for the AP Psychology exam. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for self-studying this course, but with time and lots of trial and error, I got the hang of it. I took the exam in May, and received a 4! The AP Psychology exam material may appear heavy and detailed at first glance; however, when broken down into units and subunits, the workload shrugs off, and when distributed and apportioned over six months, you will ace that exam.

The AP Psychology course and exam has its pros: concepts are easy to understand and can be applied to everyday life, and the exam format is simple. There are 100 MCQs and two FRQs. They also have cons: you will need to memorize A LOT of vocabulary. Unless you are really interested in Psychology, most units may seem to drag because of the amount of information and a lack of interest. 

My first tip is to begin studying as soon as possible. Starting in November allows you to enjoy the leisure of learning on your own time without jeopardizing your attention to your other courses. Trying to balance a self-study course and your regular school coursework can be tough if you don’t set specific times for each. Make sure to organize your schedule, and start early to avoid being overburdened with work. Set weekly goals first, followed by monthly goals. Setting and achieving goals will relieve anxiety and give you the feeling that you have everything under control (You do). Our site has tons of AP Psych resources, one of which is a 60 page study guide that got the creator a 5.

Practice tests are your best friend! I know for a fact that if I hadn't taken as many practice tests as I did, my exam would not have gone as smoothly as it did. Practice, practice, practice! It is essential. So, I took a practice exam, now what? Check the answer key, make note of the questions you found difficult or incorrect, and read the explanation for that answer. Review the unit where you made the most mistakes and go over it. This is why you start early, so you have time to study and then study some more. Make certain that if you were to retake the practice exam, which you should, you would receive a much better score.Try a practice test on this website: Free AP Psychology Practice Tests - Varsity Tutors.They also provide flashcards! It’s super helpful for when you’re really in the mood to study. 

Youtube, youtube, youtube! If I could thank anyone, it would be Hank Green from Crash Course. This guy rocks. The Crash Course Psychology playlist was playing in the background almost every day leading up to the exam! AP Psychology - YouTube. College Board review videos also came in handy. I adored Dr. Swope, and everything I didn't understand from my own notes or my textbook (Barrons' AP Psychology), I learned from these videos. I watched a video a few days before my exam and created flashcards to build information on what I already knew. It was fantastic, and the explanation is excellent: AP Psych Review Session - Top 50 FRQ Terms. ‘Get Psyched with Tim Steadman’ was one of my favorite channels. He’s a great teacher who is very humorous and captivating. Watch his videos as starters for the units you want to study. 

Believe in your abilities and work hard. Do not be psyched by AP Psych! 

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