PO Box 2120 Richmond, VA 23218
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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

04256 AP Psychology

Field of Study

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. AP Psychology provides an overview of current psychological theory and practice.

Material Covered

AP Psychology introduces students to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of humans and other animals. Beginning with the psychologists and perspectives that have helped to shape the field of psychology, students will explore and apply the theories, key concepts, and research findings from various subfields of the discipline. Topics examined will include biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; learning and cognition; motivation; developmental psychology; testing and individual differences; abnormal behavior and its treatment; and social psychology. In accordance with the principles of current psychological practice, this course will emphasize the scientific method and procedure, ethical standards in research, and critical thinking skills.

Student Expectations

Student academic performance is expected to meet or exceed the rigorous requirements of an introductory-level college survey course. Student work will include textbook readings, written assignments, quizzes, tests, and class participation along with homework outside of class. Multiple-choice questions are based on key terminology and psychological theories and concepts. Free response questions will require the students to analyze, evaluate, and apply various psychological concepts and perspectives.

Additional Information

AP Psychology allows students to better understand their behavior and the behavior of those around them. The course also allows students the opportunity to complete projects that will enhance their understanding of the topics presented.

Related Requirements

Students will be prepared to take the AP Psychology Exam but are not required to do so by Virtual Virginia. School policy may dictate whether the student enrolled in AP Psychology will or will not have to take the AP Exam.


  • Enrollment in grades 9–12

Course Texts and Materials


  • Psychology
    Authors: David Myers and C. Nathan DeWall
    12th edition ISBN: 9781319050627
    11th edition ISBN: 9781464140815
    10th edition ISBN: 9781429261784
    Publisher: Macmillan Learning

Optional (for Review)

  • Barron’s AP Psychology
    ISBN: 9781438007434
    Publisher: Barron’s Education
  • 5 Steps to a 5: AP Psychology
    ISBN: 9781259588419
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing
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