CLEP Introductory Psychology Exam

The CLEP: Introductory Psychology examination was developed by the College Board as a way for individuals to demonstrate undergraduate-level knowledge and skills in this area. Almost three thousand American colleges give credit to students who pass a CLEP exam; for this reason, many college-bound students take a CLEP exam in order to skip over introductory courses.

To succeed on the Introductory Psychology exam, students will need to master the following topics and skills: basic terminology, principles, and theory; comprehending, evaluating, and analyzing problem situations; and applying knowledge to new situations. The content of the exam is broken down as follows: history, approaches, and methods (8-9%); biological bases of behavior (8-9%); sensation and perception (7-8%); states of consciousness (5-6%); learning (10-11%); cognition (8-9%); motivation and emotion (7-8%); developmental psychology (8-9%); personality (7-8%); psychological disorders and health (8-9%); treatment of psychological disorders (7-8%); social psychology (7-8%); and statistics, tests, and measurement (3-4%). The Introductory Psychology exam consists of 95 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.


After the exam is complete, an unofficial score report will be made available. This score report will include the total score on a scale of 20 to 80; the American Council on Education recommends that students get credit if they score 50 or above. The total score is the raw score (number of correct answers) adjusted according to the difficulty of the exam version. The College Board does not distinguish between unanswered questions and questions answered incorrectly, so test-takers are encouraged to respond to every question. Some of the questions on the exam are pre-test questions, which are used to develop future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the raw score. It is impossible for test-takers to determine which questions are pre-test questions. The CLEP exams are administered in both computer and paper formats at over a thousand locations throughout the world. To register for an exam, visit the College Board website.

CLEP Introductory Psychology Practice Questions

1. Which part of the brain is responsible for primal functions, as for instance breathing?
A: hindbrain
B: midbrain
C: cerebrum
D: forebrain
E: cerebellum

2. Which branch of psychology asserts that human behavior is the result of the interplay between subjective emotions and objective sensations?
A: functionalism
B: structuralism
C: psychoanalysis
D: behaviorism
E: social Darwinism

3. What is the most important determinant of the representation of information in a semantic code?
A: sequence
B: content
C: hierarchy
D: meaning
E: significance

4. What is the psychological term for the use of self-deception to justify behaviors or ideas that are socially or personally unacceptable?
A: rationalization
B: loss aversion
C: flagellation
D: abstract thinking
E: reactivity

5. According to Abraham Maslow, human behavior is motivated by a _____.
A: formal thought disorder
B: hierarchy of needs
C: coefficient of determination
D: internalized oppression
E: character orientation

6. What is the psychological term for a mental shortcut that is used to quickly arrive at the answer to a problem?
A: monad
B: anchor
C: heuristic
D: intuition
E: learning curve

7. Who was the proponent of the notion of inherited character traits?
A: William James
B: Sigmund Freud
C: Gordon Allport
D: Abraham Maslow
E: B.F. Skinner

8. What kind of drug is typically prescribed to treat schizophrenia?
A: anti-convulsive
B: antiarrhythmic
C: monoamine oxidase inhibitor
D: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
E: antipsychotic

9. What is the psychological term for the ability to recall better the last pieces of information in a series?
A: memory foreclosure
B: primacy effect
C: hierarchy of order
D: sequential recall
E: recency effect

10. In Freud’s model of the psyche, which component is responsible for the basic animal drives?
A: ego
B: id
C: limbic system
D: superego
E: neurosis

CLEP Introductory Psychology Answer Key

1. A. The hindbrain consists of the pons and the medulla oblongata.
2. B. Structuralists attempt to define psychological phenomena in terms of the laws that govern their operations.
3. D. A semantic memory is one in which meaning is considered to be the most important quality.
4. A. All humans engage in rationalization as a means of self-protection.
5. B. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ranges from basic physiological needs like food and water to the more elevated need for self-actualization.
6. C. By definition, a heuristic must be replicable.
7. C. Gordon Allport was unique in his emphasis on adult rather than child personality development.
8. E. Antipsychotic medications are tranquilizers that aim to mitigate the violent swings of the schizophrenic.
9. E. The recency effect, also known as the serial position effect, is believed to exist because the last items in the sequence are still residual in working memory.
10. B. According to Freud, the id is an entirely unconscious motivator of human behavior.

CLEP Introductory Psychology Exam

CLEP Introductory Psychology Test Breakdown