AP Psychology (AP Psych) Score Calculator – 2024

January 18, 2024

ap psych score calculator psychology

AP Psychology (AP Psych) is considered one of the easiest AP classes, and the AP Psych exam is one of the most popular AP exams, with 321,329 students taking it in 2023. Even so, you’ll still need to prepare adequately. In fact, practicing for AP exams is important no matter how easy or challenging the AP class, one way to prepare is to experiment with our interactive AP Psych Score Calculator, which allows you to explore different scenarios and determine where and how to strive for improvements to your score based on individual goals (Scroll down to use our AP Psychology Score Calculator).

Below, we’ll cover the following:

  • What is Covered on the AP Psych Exam?
  • How Long is the AP Psych Exam?
  • AP Psych Free-Response Questions (FRQ)
  • How is the AP Psych Exam Scored?
  • AP Psych Score Distribution
  • Do AP Scores even Matter?
  • How to Prepare for the AP Psych Exam
  • When Will I Know My AP Psych Score?

AP Psych Score Calculator

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MCQ Score:
FRQ Score:
Total Composite Score:
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Predicted AP® Score:

What is Covered on the AP Psych Exam?

AP Psych is an introductory college-level course in which students cultivate their understanding of the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes through inquiry-based investigations. In the course, students explore concepts like the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology.

The College Board provides detailed guidelines for the AP Psych course, which is designed to cover the following skills:

  • Concept Understanding
  • Data Analysis
  • Scientific Investigation

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

By the time of the exam, you’ll most likely have covered nine units of study:

  • Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology (10-14% of exam)
  • Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior (8-10% of exam)
  • Unit 3: Sensation and Perception (6-8% of exam)
  • Unit 4: Learning (7-9% of exam)
  • Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology (13-17% of exam)
  • Unit 6: Developmental Psychology (7-9% of exam)
  • Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, and Personality (11-15% of exam)
  • Unit 8: Clinical Psychology (12-16% of exam)
  • Unit 9: Social Psychology (8-10% of exam)

The AP Psych Exam assesses your command of psychological concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze behavioral studies.

Prior to the exam, we recommend experimenting with the AP Psych Score Calculator to help identify areas in need of further study or review in order to improve your predicted score.

How Long is the AP Psych Exam?

With a duration of 2 hours, the AP Psych exam is one of the shorter AP exams. It is divided into two sections:

  • Section I: Multiple Choice
    • 100 Questions
    • 1 Hour 10 Minutes (70 Minutes)
    • 67% of Score
  • Section II: Free Response
    • 2 Questions
    • 50 Minutes
    • 33% of Score

AP Psych Free-Response Questions (FRQ)

In the free-response section, you’ll respond to two questions with written answers. Specifically, you’ll be asked to:

  • Explain behavior and apply theories using concepts from different theoretical frameworks or subdomains in the field of psychology
  • Analyze psychological research studies, including analyzing and interpreting quantitative data

Put more plainly, the first FRQ will focus on concept application, whereas the second FRQ will focus on research design.

As you’ll have 50 minutes to answer both questions, time management is essential. Also, be advised that the free-response questions often contain multiple parts. Here’s an example FRQ from the 2023 exam—one divided into two parts (Part A and Part B):

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

Part A

Steve is in the kitchen happily making breakfast for his four children, who are all playing together in the living room. After hearing a loud crash, Steve becomes quite upset and rushes into the living room, where he sees a lamp shattered on the floor. The children are watching television, and no one is trying to clean up the lamp.

Explain how each of the following relates to the scenario.

  • Soundwave amplitude
  • Procedural memory
  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • Dispositional attribution
  • Ghrelin

Part B

Instead of asking the children what happened, Steve immediately turns off the television and sends them all outside to rake the large amount of leaves in the backyard. Steve stays irritable for the rest of the day.

Explain how each of the following relates to the scenario.

  • Authoritarian parenting style
  • Steve’s high level of the Big Five trait of neuroticism

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

The above FRQ focuses on concept application by describing a real-life scenario and asking you how each of the key terms provided can be applied to the situation.

Note that answering free-response questions generally requires a good deal of training and practice. Rather than beginning to write immediately, take some time to approach the question methodically and plan your answer. Analyze what, precisely, is being asked and then identify the elements that must be addressed in the response.

Fortunately, the College Board allows for you to download free-response questions from past AP Psych exams along with scoring guidelines, sample responses from exam takers, and scoring distributions. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this resource, both as a way of familiarizing yourself with the FRQ format and as a practice tool.

How is the AP Psych Exam Scored?

Like all AP exams, the AP Psych exam is administered by the College Board—the same organization that administers the SAT. All AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), and can be interpreted as follows:

5 = Extremely well qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: A or A+)
4 = Well qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: A-, B+, or B)
3 = Qualified (College Course Grade Equivalent: B-, C+, or C)
2 = Possibly qualified (No grade equivalent provided by the College Board)
1 = No recommendation (No grade equivalent provided by the College Board)

How is this score arrived at, though?

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

In Section I (multiple-choice), you’ll earn one point for each question answered correctly. No points are deducted for incorrect answers, so don’t leave any questions blank! As there are 100 questions, you can earn up to 100 raw points.

With Section II (free-response), each FRQ is worth a total of 25 raw points, meaning that the two questions together are worth 50 points. Each FRQ contains 7 key terms, and you earn points by correctly applying these terms. This means that each term is worth about 3.57 points. In the example FRQ above, the key terms are:

  • Soundwave amplitude
  • Procedural memory
  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • Dispositional attribution
  • Ghrelin
  • Authoritarian parenting style
  • the Big Five trait of neuroticism

In the AP Psych exam, you can earn a composite score of up to 150 raw points. However, points are weighed differently depending on the section. In Section I, your 100 possible points are worth 67% of your score, whereas the 50 possible points in Section II are worth 33% of your score.

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

After your raw scores are calculated, your composite score is converted to a scaled score from 1-5.

Our AP Psych Calculator can help you experiment with different scenarios and prepare you for possible score outcomes. It is useful to go into the exam knowing about how many points you need in each section for your target score.

AP Psych Score Distribution

In 2023, the mean score of the AP Psych exam was a 2.89. It is more important to consider the overall score distributions, though, which show that an encouraging 59.6% of students scored a 3 or higher. Here’s the full breakdown:

  • 9% of students scored a 5
  • 2% of students scored a 4
  • 5% of students scored a 3
  • 4% of students scored a 2
  • 28% of students scored a 1

Don’t be lulled into complacency by the supposed easiness of AP Psych! As you can see, despite the course’s ease, scoring a 5 remains relatively rare, and a 1 was the most common score in 2023. We recommend establishing a target score before sitting for the exam, and reviewing previous score distributions (from 2023 and beyond) can help you with this process.

Do AP Scores even Matter?

It depends. Your AP scores can earn you college credit or advanced placement (the ability to skip certain introductory courses). More selective schools require a 4 or 5, while others will award course credit for a 3 or above. A few schools will not award college credit regardless of your score. Meanwhile, some schools consider AP scores during the admissions process. It’s a good idea to research the schools in which you are interested and familiarize yourself with their AP policies so you can determine your target score before you sit for the exam (or even before you decide how many AP courses to take).

AP Psychology Score Calculator (Continued)

Our AP Psych Score Calculator will show you where you might improve on your score, and can help you focus your efforts in advance of the exam—whether your goal is a 3, 4, or 5.

Finally, note that even earning a 1 or 2 on the exam can still be good news, as the College Board reports that students who scored below a 3 still perform significantly better in introductory college classes.

How to Prepare for the AP Psych Exam

While a 5 is the highest AP score, it is important to establish your individualized target score before the exam. Depending on various factors, including your college and major aspirations, your AP course load, and your anticipated AP exam schedule, you may determine that your target score is actually a 3 or a 4.

To prepare for the AP Psych Exam, we recommend:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the exam format
  • Practice! This includes everything from taking a full-length, timed practice exam to tackling assorted previous Free-Response Questions and comparing your responses to the sample responses given
  • Reviewing the College Board’s AP Psych exam tips, especially those concerning the FRQ
  • Using the interactive AP Psych Score Calculator to explore different scenarios and determine where and how to strive for improvements to your score based on individual goals

When Will I Know My AP Psych Score?

The 2024 AP World exam is scheduled for Thursday, May 9, during the first week of AP testing. According to the College Board timeline, scores will be made available in July. You’ll be able to access them online using your account username and password.

However, you can reduce uncertainty (and lessen the stress of the waiting period) by preparing adequately for the AP Psych exam and using the AP Psych Score Calculator to predict your score.

Additional Resources

In conclusion, we also wanted to suggest checking out some of our other useful calculators such as:


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