Note-taking can be tricky, even for the most conscientious high school students. It's hard to sort through a whole year's worth of material, especially in an AP class that covers a wide range of topics and theories.
This article is intended to serve as a one-stop shop for comprehensive notes on all the major topics covered in AP Psychology. Whether you lost your class notes on cognition or just want an easier way to see everything in one place, the links in this article will help make your study process more focused and less stressful!
How to Use These AP Psychology Notes
You can use these notes as study aids for in-class tests or to review for the final AP exam. Supplement them with resources you've gotten from your teacher in class and other notes you've taken throughout the year. If you know that there's an especially great explanation of a certain concept in your textbook, use that to help you review as well.
You might also consider buying a review book if you're looking for more guidance in planning out your studying.
If you're studying for the AP test as a whole, take a diagnostic practice test before diving into these notes. That way you can see where you're making the most mistakes and focus your studying on the appropriate areas. Taking practice tests at regular intervals throughout the study process will give you a better idea of whether or not you're absorbing the material.
Real-time practice tests will also help you get used to managing your time effectively so that you're prepared for the way the final exam is structured. You'll be answering 100 multiple-choice questions in 70 minutes, so appropriate pacing is critical!
In the next section, I'll go through a list of all the topics that are covered in AP Psychology and provide links to online notes for each.
Don't forget to time your practice tests! And if you use a weird, old-timey stopwatch like this one, make sure you know how to divide by 5.
AP Psychology Notes to Use in Your Prep
These are the easiest-to-follow online notes I could find for the material covered in AP Psychology. For each topic area, I've included three types of links:
- Regular notes (including section-specific overviews and more general topic outlines)
- Notes accompanied by video resources
- PowerPoint presentations that show the information in a slightly different form
The WikiNotes links are the most detailed, so you should go over those first. The PowerPoints and general topic outlines provide more of a brief overview of concepts and can serve as a quick review tool. If you think you'd benefit from videos, take a look at those resources as well.
It's likely that your AP Psychology course will be structured roughly in the same order as the topics presented here, so it should be easy to find the information you need to study for in-class tests throughout the year. (Note that the Psych topics have changed slightly for the 2020 AP test, so while they're still basically the same ideas as the ones below, they're organized differently now.)
History and Approaches
Biological Bases of Behavior
- General Topic Outline
- Notes With Video Resources
Sensation and Perception
States of Consciousness
- General Topic Outline
- Notes With Video Resources (Part 2)
Motivation and Emotion
- General Topic Outline
- Notes With Video Resources
Testing and Individual Differences
Treatment of Psychological Disorders
Overall AP Psychology Review Sheets
- Full Test Review
- List of Terms and People to Remember
- Interactive Glossary
- Additional Unit PowerPoints
Printing out the notes instead of reading them on your computer is also an option. If you think you'll need to highlight important points, it's probably a good idea!
3 Essential AP Psychology Study Strategies
Learning all this information might be tough if you don't have a game plan. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your AP Psychology prep.
#1: Make Friends With Flashcards
To succeed in AP Psychology, you must have excellent recall of a large library of terms. Some of these are constants of human behavior that you didn't know had official names, and others are more obscure terms for the biological components of psychological responses.
It's critical to be fluent in the terminology surrounding every concept if you want to end up with a high score on the AP exam. You should also know the names of prominent psychologists and understand their contributions to the field.
Quizzing yourself with flashcards is the best way to ensure you're prepared. I'd recommend Quizlet as a starting point (after you read through the notes and refresh your memory) because it offers many sets of online flashcards you can use for practice.
Of course, you can always write out your own physical flashcards if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way! This might be more effective since writing down definitions helps to reinforce your memory.
#2: Relate Psych Concepts to Everyday Life
The concepts in the AP Psychology course will show up in your daily life when you make decisions, interact socially, get stressed about schoolwork (very meta!), or really do anything.
As you read the notes, try to think of personal examples that relate to what you're learning. Besides helping you memorize the material, doing this can give you some interesting insight into why you've made certain decisions in your life (or why other people you know might have made certain decisions).
Even outside of your active study time, if you notice a particular behavior, try to relate it to something you've learned in AP Psychology. You probably won't forget a term or concept if you anchor it to a real experience.
#3: Give Yourself Regular Checkups
Don't go over a section of AP Psych notes once, quiz yourself, and then decide you're done with it forever. Every few topic areas, circle back and do a holistic review of everything you've learned so far. Make a point of constantly refreshing your memory so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. You can use the complete AP Psychology review sheets I've linked at the end of the notes section as resources for these review sessions.
With an aggressive treatment plan, you can hope to recover from your ignorance.
Conclusion: Getting the Most Out of AP Psych Notes
These notes and strategies should help you get started on your AP Psychology review. You can even use the notes on a unit-by-unit basis if you're just studying for a short quiz or test. Just remember to take practice tests to keep yourself on track, and continue consulting any resources you've accumulated throughout the year in class.
I recommend also taking advantage of the information in our other AP Psychology guides, such as our ultimate guide and in-depth review, to get more advice on how to structure your studying and to ensure you earn a high score on the final exam!
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Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students adopt a less stressful view of standardized testing and other academic challenges through her articles. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College as a Studio Art major in 2014. In high school, she earned a 2400 on the SAT, 5's on all seven of her AP tests, and was named a National Merit Scholar.