Changes Announced to AP Psychology and AP Physics Courses

This week, the Advanced Placement® (AP®) Program announced the revised course and exam descriptions (CED) for AP Psychology and all four AP Physics courses for the 2024-25 school year. AP periodically revises course frameworks to ensure alignment with comparable introductory college courses and more clearly communicate the required course content and skills.

Changes to AP Psychology

The AP Psychology course and exam have been revised to align with the recommendations the American Psychological Association (APA) released in 2022 for introductory course content and skills. Research methods have been made a foundational pillar of the course. Content has been divided into five themes: biological, cognitive, developmental, social and personality, and mental and physical health.

The AP Psychology Development Committee also surveyed college course syllabi to determine the most common content covered in introductory classes. Health psychology and positive psychology were added to the framework. Addition of these topics reflects increased scholarly interest in the components of psychological health and will equip students with deeper knowledge of mental wellness. Study of the endocrine system and moral reasoning were removed from the framework. This was because the endocrine system is more closely covered in physiology courses and because moral reasoning is often addressed in higher-level developmental psychology courses rather than introductory-level courses like AP Psychology.

The AP Psychology Exam, to be digitally administered in May 2025, will have fewer multiple-choice questions, and the questions will have four answer choices instead of five. The exam will now include two free-response questions that more authentically assess a diverse set of skills.

APA now recommends offering psychology as a science course. To allow for the greatest flexibility and credit opportunities, the AP Program will now list AP Psychology as a science course in addition to its listing as a social science course. Colleges and high schools have long classified psychology as a social science or social studies course, and they can continue to do so. Teacher licensure should allow for both subject areas.

Changes to AP Physics

AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based and AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based, alongside AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, are being revised not only to align the content, language, and skills across the courses but also to provide more transparent and sequential frameworks for teachers and students. 

Initial course frameworks and exam overviews for the four Physics courses were posted to AP Central® in August 2023. AP Central has now been updated to reflect recent changes to the course frameworks and exam designs.

Free resources to support teacher planning and student learning are on the way for all newly revised AP Psychology and AP Physics courses. These resources will include hundreds of topic questions and progress checks, updated AP Daily videos, and a comprehensive question bank. AP Classroom will update these resources as they become available throughout the 2024-25 school year.