Psychology Free Response Questions

4 min readjune 16, 2020

Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi

AP Psychology 🧠

334 resources
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The one thing you need to know about this question:
Define and apply concepts like a boss scientist. 🔬🧪

AP Psychology Exam Overview

🏁 The Exam

The AP Psychology Exam 📓 consists of
  • 100 multiple-choice questions
    • 70 minutes
    • 66.7% of the score
  • 2 free-response questions
    • 50 minutes
    • 33.3% of the final score

✔️ AP Skills

Skill 1: Concept Understanding - Requires you to identify and explain various concepts and theories from the course. You must be able to use these concepts/theories to explain behavior and apply them to unique scenarios.
Skill 2: Data Analysis - Requires you to analyze and interpret quantitative data.
Skill 3: Research Analysis - Requires you to analyze research design in order to assess strengths, weaknesses, threats to validity, ethical issues, etc.

What is the FRQ?

Essentially, the FRQ is applied vocabulary. The two FRQ questions will target the following skills
  • Question 1: Content Application This question will require you to identify various concepts from the course and apply them to a given scenario. Skill category 1 will be the main focus here.
  • Question 2: Research Design This question will require you to analyze research design and quantitative data for a given example. It may also require you to apply concepts to the example as well. All skill categories are assessed here, but Skill category 3 is the main focus.
Each question will have a given scenario or experiment, followed by 7 bulleted items. You will be required to apply each bulleted item to the given scenario. You will get one point for each term you correctly define and apply. 
For an example, click here.

FRQ Task Verbs

Create a table or graph to illustrate data (remember to include labels is necessary!)
Provide the meaning of a term
Explain the characteristics of a topic
Draw a conclusion
Use the given information to formulate an educated and defensible inference
Give relevant information (based on evidence or reasoning) about how or why a specific phenomenon or event occurs
Provide the required information, without elaboration.

Writing the FRQ

📝 Planning Tips

Be sure to read the prompt in its entirety before you begin writing.
For each question, you should spend 10-12 minutes planning and 10-12 minutes writing. Remember to always plan your response before you begin writing! 
Annotate the question by underlining important words, task verbs, names, or phrases. 

✍️ Writing Tips

Make sure that you write in complete sentences. You may choose to write in essay form or you may bullet your responses, but EVERYTHING must be written in complete sentences; otherwise, it will not be graded. Outlines are NOT accepted. 
Also, remember to think and speak like a scientist. Instead of saying an experiment is “bad,” you should say that it “lacks validity.” Be as specific as possible when writing.
Check off terms after you use them so you do not accidentally skip one.

🥤 Chug Sodas!

A helpful acronym for the FRQ is “CHUG SODAS!”
C: Be concise in your response.
H: Make sure your handwriting is legible!
U: Underline the word/phrase you are applying.
G: Get rid of any introduction and/or conclusion-- they are not needed here!
S: Space out the parts of your answer to make reading easy and clear. 
O: Attack the words in the order they are presented in the question.
D: Define the term in your own words and then…
A: Apply it to the given scenario.
S: Use synonyms whenever possible.*
*For example, if the term is validity do not define the term as “how valid a test is”; instead try something like, “the degree to which a test measures what it is intended to measure.”

🗣 Important Reminders

  1. The FRQ is essentially a test in applied vocabulary. You must know the term and be able to apply it to a given context.
  2. Read the prompt fully and carefully before writing.
  3. Mark it up- underline keywords, phrases, and task verbs.
  4. Brainstorm before you begin writing.
  6. Underline the words as you use them in your response. 
  7. Go in order and check each part off as you complete it.
  8. Think and speak like a scientist. 
  9. Be as specific as possible!
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🔎Unit 1 – Scientific Foundations of Psychology
🧠Unit 2 – Biological Basis of Behavior
👀Unit 3 – Sensation & Perception
📚Unit 4 – Learning
🤔Unit 5 – Cognitive Psychology
👶🏽Unit 6 – Developmental Psychology
🤪Unit 7 – Motivation, Emotion, & Personality
🛋Unit 8 – Clinical Psychology
👫Unit 9 – Social Psychology
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