How to Write an AP Psychology FRQ: Tips and Strategies for Success

Deborah C. Escalante

How to Write an AP Psychology FRQ: Tips and Strategies for Success
How to Write an AP Psychology FRQ: Tips and Strategies for Success

Are you looking to prepare for the upcoming AP Psychology exam by honing your Free-Response Question (FRQ) writing skills? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and strategies to help you excel on the AP Psychology FRQ portion of the exam.

What are AP Psychology FRQs?

Before we dive into the tips and strategies, let’s first define what exactly an AP Psychology FRQ is. On the AP Psychology exam, students are required to answer two free-response questions in the essay format. Each FRQ question is designed to test your comprehension and application of psychological concepts, theories, and research studies that you have learned throughout the course.

Understanding the FRQ Prompt

The first step in answering an FRQ is understanding the prompt. Each FRQ prompt consists of a set of instructions and a question or problem to solve. It is essential to read the prompt carefully and thoroughly before you begin writing your essay.

The prompt will often indicate how many points you can earn and what information you need to include in your response. To maximize your score, make sure to address each point that the prompt requires thoroughly.

Organize Your Response

Organizing your response is crucial for a successful FRQ answer. Start by outlining your points and organizing them in a logical sequence. Generally, a well-written FRQ answer should have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

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Your introduction should state your thesis and briefly explain the main points you will cover in your body paragraphs. Your body paragraphs should include relevant examples and evidence to support your thesis.

Finally, your conclusion should restate your thesis and tie all your points together.

Use Specific Terminology

Using specific terminology throughout your FRQ answer is critical. It demonstrates that you have a deep understanding of psychology concepts. For example, instead of using vague terms like "some people" or "a lot of individuals," use specific terminology like "people diagnosed with anxiety disorders" or "individuals who exhibit signs of depression."

Incorporate Research Studies

Your answers to the AP Psychology FRQ may require you to apply research studies. Make sure to memorize some of the essential research studies, such as Milgram’s obedience experiment or Loftus and Palmer’s eyewitness testimony study.

Using relevant research studies in your response demonstrates that you have a broad understanding of the course material.

Time Management

Time management is an essential component of the AP Psychology exam. Make sure to pace yourself appropriately when writing your FRQ answers. You should aim to spend roughly 25 minutes on each FRQ response.

Creating a schedule and sticking to it is an excellent way to manage your time effectively. Make sure to allocate enough time for each section of your response.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The best way to master AP Psychology FRQs is by practicing them regularly. Use previous AP exam questions to practice answering FRQ prompts. Time yourself while you’re practicing, and make sure to review your response afterward to identify areas you need to improve.

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Top Tips for AP Psychology FRQ Success

Here’s a quick rundown of the top tips for AP Psychology FRQ success:

  • Understand the FRQ prompt
  • Organize your response
  • Use specific terminology
  • Incorporate research studies
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Practice regularly


Preparing for the AP Psychology FRQ portion of the exam requires time, effort, and dedication. But by following these tips and strategies, you’ll be well on your way to success. Remember to practice regularly, manage your time effectively, and use specific terminology to demonstrate your understanding of psychology concepts, theories, and research studies. Good luck!

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