Free Response Questions Sample
The following questions are samples of the free response questions from past AP Psychology exams. The free response sections are worth 33 1/3 percent of the total grade. Students have 50 minutes to answer two questions. The key to successfully answering these questions is to: completely define the terms using appropriate psychological terminology and then critically apply each term. Many students concentrate their efforts on the multiple-choice sections. However, the free response section is extremely important. While grammar and spelling do not count, students should make a serious effort at producing a quality piece of writing to ensure their points are completely understood by the reader. However, an opening paragraph with a thesis statement is not necessary. The purpose of these essay questions was to give teachers/students/parents a small sampling of past essays. Students are strongly encouraged to visit the www.collegeboard.org/ap for more information on exam content, multiple-choice questions, free-response questions, scoring guidelines, and grade distributions from previous years.
Psychologists use a variety of research methods to study behavior. Three of the main research methods used are: •
Correlational study, and
Students should be able to critically discuss one advantage of each of the research methods (It is critical students make sure they cover each method). B.
Student should be able to critically discuss one disadvantage of each of the research methods. Pretend you are a psychologist who will use each of the three research methods – case study, correlational study, and experiment – to determine the effect of taking vitamin J to improve memory. C.
For each of the methods listed above, explain a key characteristic of the basic approach you could use to reach a scientific conclusion about the relationship between taking vitamin J and improving memory. You need not design a complete study.
Readers who grade the AP free response sections are working from a rubric. They are looking for key terms and the correct application of those terms •
Some students find it helpful to take two minutes and make a small chart or brief outline to ensure all the terms are defined and applied and the question is answered completely.
Zoey wants to buy a new car but is having difficulty deciding what kind of car to buy. She is feeling anxious and wants to make a decision soon. Zoey visits several local car dealers and asks for the advice of some of her friends. Explain how each of the following could influence her decision. Be sure to discuss each concept in the context of Zoey’s decision.
Central route to persuasion
The autonomic nervous system
The foot-in-the-door phenomenon
Again, the readers grade from a rubrics and are looking for the student to be able to define each of the items listed above in psychological terms and then apply each term in relationship to the scenario provided. •
Make sure to answer the questions completely. In this case a student should be able to define the eight terms and then apply all eight. •
Should a student forget the meaning of a term, it is OK to make an educated guess. However, the key is to make an educated guess.
Questions #1 and #2 were on the 2006 AP Psychology exam produced by the College Board and Educational Testing Serivce.
This question was from the 2003 exam. Students who have a strong background in statistics and biology tend to do well on the AP psychology exam. If a student cannot completely answer the following questions, reviewing some basic statistics skills is necessary. There are usually a few statistics questions in the multiple-choice sections of the...
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