How to Excel on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ

Deborah C. Escalante

How to Excel on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ
How to Excel on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ

If you’re like most high school students, the Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology exam can seem daunting. It covers a broad range of topics, from the intricacies of the brain to the complexities of human behavior and mental processes. But don’t worry – with the right preparation and study strategies, you can excel on the exam and earn college credit.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ (Free Response Question) and offer tips and resources to help you prepare and succeed.

Understanding the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ

The AP Psychology exam is divided into two sections: multiple choice and free response. The free response section consists of two questions, each worth 12.5% of your total exam score. One of these questions is the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ.

The AP Psychology 2018 FRQ is based on a scenario or vignette that you’ll read. You’ll then be asked to apply your knowledge of psychological concepts and theories to analyze and interpret the scenario.

The 2018 FRQ prompt was as follows:

"Ellie, a new student at a large public high school, is preparing to take an exam in her history class. Ellie’s friend tells her that when she took the exam, she experienced an overwhelming sense of panic and felt like she couldn’t think clearly. Ellie is worried that the same thing will happen to her and decides to talk to her teacher about it. Using what you know about the sympathetic nervous system, explain how Ellie’s friend’s experience could be related to the fight-or-flight response. Then, describe one piece of advice Ellie’s teacher could give her to help her manage her anxiety during the exam."

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As you can see, the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of the sympathetic nervous system and its relationship to the fight-or-flight response, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge to a real-world scenario.

Tips for Excelling on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ

Now that you understand what the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ is and what it requires, let’s dive into some tips and strategies for acing it.

  1. Understand the prompt: Before you start writing, make sure you fully understand the prompt and what it’s asking you to do. Take a few minutes to read it carefully and underline any key terms or concepts. Then, make a plan for how you’ll structure your response.

  2. Use evidence: To earn full points on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ, you need to demonstrate your knowledge of the relevant psychological concepts and theories. Make sure to support your answers with specific examples and evidence from the scenario or your own knowledge.

  3. Be concise: You only have 25 minutes to write your response, so make every word count. Be concise and to-the-point in your writing, without sacrificing depth or detail.

  4. Use proper terminology: The AP Psychology exam is all about demonstrating your knowledge of psychological terms and concepts. Make sure to use proper terminology throughout your response, and define any technical terms if necessary.

  5. Manage your time: Time management is key on the AP Psychology exam. Make sure to budget your time wisely during the free response section, so you have enough time to complete both questions thoroughly.

  6. Practice, practice, practice: The best way to excel on the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ (and the exam as a whole) is to practice. Take practice exams, review course materials, and work on developing your writing skills. The more familiar you are with the material and the exam format, the better prepared you’ll be on test day.

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Resources for AP Psychology 2018 FRQ Prep

To help you prepare for the AP Psychology 2018 FRQ (and the exam as a whole), we’ve compiled a list of resources to check out:

  • College Board AP Psychology Course and Exam Description: This official guide from the College Board provides an in-depth overview of the exam format, content, and skills assessed.

  • AP Psychology Exam Prep from Khan Academy: This resource offers videos, practice exercises, and other materials to help you master key concepts and skills tested on the exam.

  • Barron’s AP Psychology Prep Book: This comprehensive study guide includes practice exams, in-depth content review, and strategies for test-taking success.

  • AP Psychology Practice Exams: These free practice exams from Varsity Tutors offer a realistic simulation of the AP Psychology exam, including the 2018 FRQ.


The AP Psychology 2018 FRQ is a challenging but manageable part of the exam. By understanding the prompt, using evidence, being concise, using proper terminology, managing your time, and practicing, you can ace the FRQ and earn college credit. With the resources we’ve provided, you’ll be well on your way to success on test day!

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