AP Psychology - Fall Semester: Psychology PreAP & Spring Semester: AP Psychology

Teacher: Mr. David Duez    Email: david.duez@humble.k12.tx.us   Website: http://APpsych.MrDuez.com  

About AP Psychology:

The Advanced Placement test for AP Psychology is at noon on the first Monday in May. The AP Test score is used to determine college credit for the course.  The score on the AP Test is not a part of the high school grade and is not released until the second week in July.

This AP Psychology course is College Board Certified and audited. The course is demanding and highly paced. Each unit will include a reading check quiz, vocabulary quiz, outside articles in Psychology, classroom investigation into experiments, techniques, & design, and ends with a test that mirrors the AP Test model. Tests include Multiple Choice questions and Free Response Question. The course will also focus on the AP Psychology writing component of the test which features a scientific method of writing, much different from traditional English or History classes.

About the AP Test for Psychology:

2/3 of exam grade:  100 Question Multiple-Choice section in 70 minutes

1/3 of exam grade:  2 Free-Response questions in 50 minutes

Multiple-choice scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers, and no points are awarded for unanswered questions. Because points are not deducted for incorrect answers, students are encouraged to answer all multiple-choice questions. On any questions students do not know the answer to, students should eliminate as many choices as they can, and then select the best answer among the remaining choices.

Free-response questions are a tool for evaluating a student’s mastery of scientific research principles and ability to make connections among constructs from different psychological domains (e.g., development, personality, learning). Students may be asked to analyze a general problem in psychology (e.g., depression, adaptation) using concepts from different theoretical frameworks or subdomains in the field, or to design, analyze, or critique a research study.

AP Psychology Commitment: It is worth it!

Taking AP Psychology is a massive commitment. 70% of the nation’s high school graduates attempt college. Yet fewer than 30% of adult Americans hold a college degree! Why is that? Most colleges and universities agree that it is because students are not prepared for the academic challenge of college coursework. There is only one way to prepare for the rigors of a college education:

Students need to take challenge courses in high school. High school students who have taken at least two Advanced Placement classes double their chances of graduating from college, according to a statistical study! This is one of the toughest classes offered at Atascocita High School.

However, “Those students who do the work, will experience the learning.” It is just that simple. Hard work and dedication will pay off in the end.


Textbook: Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes & Variations. Wadsworth; Ninth Edition edition, 2013.

Summer Reading Text: Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio, Beyerstein; 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior; Wiley-Blackwell, 2009

Supplemental Resources: 

Weiten, Wayne. PsykTrek 3.1: A Multimedia Introduction to Psychology, 3rd Edition, 2008.

Resources are written at college reading level. Highly recommended: Webster’s New World College Dictionary

AP Test Guides:  It is encouraged that students purchase one or more of the excellent AP test guides that can be found in bookstores or online.

Student Responsibilities: 

AP Psychology is equivalent, and in some cases more than, an introductory psychology course at the undergraduate university level. The level of commitment to this class will be similar to the level of commitment expected to as a first year college student.

Student responsibilities for this course include, but are not limited to:

o Completing assigned readings from your text and other resources

o Memorizing vocabulary and relevant terms for each chapter

o Checking the class web site each day http://appsych.mrduez.com

o Preparing and studying for quizzes, tests, timed writings, and class projects

o Participating actively in class discussions

o Taking notes in class and being engaged

Writing Assignments - The Free Response Questions (FRQ):

The AP Psychology Test will include 2 highly rigorous writing prompts. Students will practice writing the FRQs to foster student growth in using these specific writing skills, based on a scientific approach.

Video Screencast Lectures:

Class website links to videos to help understand Psychology concepts. As you watch them, take notes. If you have any questions, email Mr. Duez. It is essential to keep up outside of class so that class time can be spent discussing particularly challenging concepts and material. This includes spending class time to practice writing skills needed to perform well on the free response questions.

Target Sheets:

These are mini unit plans that will be posted on the website and will help to guide students as they read and study the text. Students may use these target sheets to help them take notes and understand material discussed in the textbook. Detailed vocabulary and definitions, essential questions, and chapter objectives are outlined in the sheet.

Reading Check & Vocabulary Quizzes:

Keeping in accordance with the reading schedule is the most taxing component of the AP Psych course. Students are expected to read and be responsible for the text that is assigned. It is of the utmost importance to read the text completely and attentively. It is also highly encouraged that students take notes as they read and bring those to class. If the student is unable to dedicate multiple hours of history study per week, they could potentially encounter difficulty in AP Psychology. Past students report devoting anywhere between 5 to 7 hours of study and preparation per week outside of class. Notes written in the student’s handwriting can be used on quizzes to assist.


Each unit we will read an article or two and annotate it for classroom discussion. These are graded assignments and often are very valuable for taking concepts we are discussing and putting a real world focus on them.


The best possible preparation for the rigors of the 100 multiple choice questions on the AP Test is frequent practice at answering those types of questions. Typically the tests are all multiple choice with some short FRQs at the end. Students WILL NOT use any notes during our tests. They will be done on scantron so that it can be graded quickly to give students feedback. Students may come in to tutoring and review completed tests to better understand the material.

Movie/Video Extra Credit:

Students may choose to do 1 Extra Credit assignment each 9 weeks period. The extra credit is detailed on the class website with many videos/movies to choose from. Please follow the directions specifically on the site. It is worth an additional 20% points added to the lowest test score. No extra credit assignment will be accepted after the final day of the nine week period. NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy. Extra Credit may be turned in at any time during the 9 week period.

Experiments & Labs:

Psychology is an empirical and scientific pursuit. In AP Psychology there will be mini-labs, experiments, and research projects. Examples of these would include creating a hypothesis, designing approaches at collecting data, testing human & animal subjects, and finding results to make judgements about how the mind and body work and are motivated.

Simple classroom rules:

1. Be Prompt. The expectation is that student will be in class and ready to learn when the bell rings.

2. Be Prepared. Being prepared means that students have their materials, have read their text, and are coming to class with questions about what they do not understand.

3. Be Polite. All students will treat everyone in the classroom as they wish to be treated themselves - with respect.

Grading & Assessment:

For each 9 week period, approximately two assignments will be graded  per week.

TESTS, TIMED WRITING, & PROJECTS = 70% of the 9 week grade

QUIZZES, ARTICLES, & CLASS WORK = 30% of the 9 week grade

Final Exam:

The final exam for AP Psychology is worth 20% of the final semester grade.


Mr. Duez is in his room most days until 3:15

Long Tutoring Day: Thursdays starting at 3:00, by appointment.

Students can always email Mr. Duez for help while at home. He typically responds within one day.

Make Up Work:

Make up work due to absence from class will be done on the following day in class. If you were absent multiple days and missed multiple class periods, Mr. Duez will work with you to determine a fair time to take the assessment. This is typically the same number of days missed. Tutoring time is not for make-up work. It is for discussing content with students and helping them understand the information needed to succeed in the course.

Cell Phone Use:

Not permitted in class without express permission from Mr. Duez. Students in violation of this rule at any time inside the classroom will be subject to disciplinary procedures.

The course proceeds through these units of study, the number corresponds with the chapter in Weiten:

1 - History and Approaches (2–4%) Psychology has evolved markedly since its inception as a discipline in 1879. There have been significant changes in the theories that psychologists use to explain behavior and mental processes. In addition, the methodology of psychological.

2 - Research Methods (8–10%) Psychology is an empirical discipline. Psychologists develop knowledge by doing research. Research provides guidance for psychologists who develop theories to explain behavior and who apply theories to solve problems in behavior.

3 - Biological Bases of Behavior (8–10%) An effective introduction to the relationship between physiological processes and behavior—including the influence of neural function, the nervous system and the brain, and genetic contributions to behavior—is an important element in the AP course.

4 - Sensation and Perception (6–8%) Everything that organisms know about the world is first encountered when stimuli in the environment activate sensory organs, initiating awareness of the external world. Perception involves the interpretation of the sensory inputs as a cognitive process.

5 - States of Consciousness (2–4%) Understanding consciousness and what it encompasses is critical to an appreciation of what is meant by a given state of consciousness. The study of variations in consciousness includes an examination of the sleep cycle, dreams, hypnosis, and the effects of psychoactive drugs.

6 - Learning (7–9%) This section of the course introduces students to differences between learned and unlearned behavior. The primary focus is exploration of different kinds of learning, including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. The biological bases of behavior illustrate predispositions for learning.

7 & 8 - Cognition: Memory, Language, & Thought (8–10%) In this unit students learn how humans convert sensory input into kinds of information. They examine how humans learn, remember, and retrieve information.This part of the course also addresses problem solving, language, and creativity.

9 - Testing and Individual Differences (5–7%) An understanding of intelligence and assessment of individual differences is highlighted in this portion of the course. Students must understand issues related to test construction and fair use.

10 & 14 - Motivation and Emotion & Stress (6–8%) In this part of the course, students explore biological and social factors that motivate behavior and biological and cultural factors that influence emotion. Stress is a part of life for all humans, but evolutionary psychology shows us that modern day stressors can create new problems and phenomena that, if left untreated, can lead to serious issues.

11: Developmental Psychology (7–9%) Developmental psychology deals with the behavior of organisms from conception to death and examines the processes that contribute to behavioral change throughout the lifespan. The major areas of emphasis in the course are prenatal development, motor development, socialization, cognitive development, adolescence, and adulthood.

12 - Personality (5–7%) In this section of the course, students explore major theories of how humans develop enduring patterns of behavior and personal characteristics that influence how others relate to them. The unit also addresses research methods used to assess personality.

13: Social Psychology (8–10%) This part of the course focuses on how individuals relate to one another in social situations. Social psychologists study social attitudes, social influence, and other social phenomena.

15: Psychological Disorders (7–9%) In this portion of the course, students examine the nature of common challenges to  adaptive functioning. This section emphasizes formal conventions that guide psychologists’ judgments about diagnosis and problem severity.

16: Treatment of Psychological Disorders (5–7%) This section of the course provides students with an understanding of empirically based treatments of psychological disorders. The topic emphasizes descriptions of treatment modalities based on various orientations in psychology.

 AP Psychology Syllabus - Atascocita High School - Humble ISD - An AP College Board Certified Class