Introductory Psychology

The Introductory Psychology exam stresses the basic facts, concepts, and generally accepted principles of psychology.

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Overview

The Introductory Psychology exam covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate introductory course in psychology. It stresses basic facts, concepts, and generally accepted principles in history; approaches and methods of psychology; biological bases of behavior, sensation, and perception; states of consciousness; learning; cognition; motivation and emotion; personality; psychological disorders and treatment; social psychology; and statistics, tests, and measurements.

The exam contains approximately 95 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored.

The questions on the CLEP Introductory Psychology exam adhere to the terminology, criteria, and classifications referred to in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Knowledge and Skills Required

Questions on the Introductory Psychology exam require test takers to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities:

  • Knowledge of terminology, principles, and theory
  • Ability to comprehend, evaluate, and analyze problem situations
  • Ability to apply knowledge to new situations

The subject matter of the Introductory Psychology exam is drawn from the following topics. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.

History, Approaches, and Methods (11–12%)

  • History of psychology
  • Approaches: biological, biopsychosocial, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, and psychodynamic
  • Research methods: experimental, clinical, and correlational
  • Ethics in research

Biological Bases of Behavior (8–9%)

  • Endocrine system
  • Etiology
  • Functional organization of the nervous system
  • Genetics
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Physiological techniques

Sensation and Perception (7–8%)

  • Attention
  • Other senses: somesthesis, olfaction, gustation, and vestibular system
  • Perceptual development
  • Perceptual processes
  • Receptor processes: vision and audition
  • Sensory mechanisms: thresholds and adaptation

States of Consciousness (5–6%)

  • Hypnosis and meditation
  • Psychoactive drug effects
  • Sleep and dreaming

Learning (8–9%)

  • Biological bases
  • Classical conditioning
  • Cognitive process in learning
  • Observational learning
  • Operant conditioning

Cognition (8–9%)

  • Intelligence and creativity
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Thinking and problem solving

Motivation and Emotion (5–6%)

  • Biological bases
  • Hunger, thirst, sex, and pain
  • Social motivation
  • Theories of emotion
  • Theories of motivation

Developmental Psychology Across the Lifespan (8–9%)

  • Dimensions of development: physical, cognitive, social, and moral
  • Gender identity and sex roles
  • Heredity-environment issues
  • Research methods: longitudinal, and cross-sectional
  • Theories of development

Personality (7–8%)

  • Assessment techniques
  • Growth and adjustment
  • Personality theories and approaches
  • Self-concept and self-esteem

Psychological disorders and health (8–9%)

  • Affective disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Health, stress, and coping
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychoses
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Theories of psychopathology

Treatment of psychological disorders (6–7%)

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Biological and drug therapies
  • Cognitive therapies
  • Community and preventive approaches
  • Insight therapies: psychodynamic and humanistic approaches

Social Psychology (9–10%)

  • Aggression/antisocial behavior
  • Attitudes and attitude change
  • Attribution processes
  • Conformity, compliance, and obedience
  • Group dynamics
  • Interpersonal attraction
  • Stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, prosocial behavior

Statistics, Tests, and Measurement (3–4%)

  • Descriptive statistics
  • Inferential statistics
  • Measurement of intelligence
  • Reliability and validity
  • Samples, populations, and norms
  • Types of tests

Score Information

ACE Recommendation for Introductory Psychology

Credit-granting Score 50
Semester Hours 3

Note: Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from the American Council on Education (ACE). Contact your college to find out the score required for credit and the number of credit hours granted.

Add Study Guides

CLEP Introductory Psychology Examination Guide

The Introductory Psychology exam stresses the basic facts, concepts, and generally accepted principles of psychology.

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2022 CLEP Official Study Guide

This study guide provides practice questions for all 34 CLEP exams. The ideal resource for taking more than one exam. Offered only by College Board.

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  • $24.99