Required Psychology Exit Exam

Students graduating with a B.A. or B.S. in Psychology are required to take the Psychology Exit Exam. 

What is the Psychology Exit Exam? 

The Psychology Exit Exam is a standardized test that allows a comparison of students’ performance in the eight sub-fields of psychology (Learning & Cognition; Social; Personality; Developmental; Abnormal; Physiological; Experimental Design; and Statistics) with a national sample using percentile ranks. The exam is developed by a professional testing company, and includes many multiple-choice format questions that assess students’ understanding of the subject matter in a comprehensive way. 

Why do students need to take the Psychology Exit Exam? 

The Department of Psychology uses the test scores (central tendency and variability indicated by percentile rank in the representative national sample) to assess the degree to which graduating students’ knowledge in psychology meets the learning outcome goals set by the program. The aggregate performance level in the exit exam is recorded and summarized once a year in an Annual Assessment Academic report submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Academic Affairs as a part of the materials used for the accreditation review. 

Why should I take the Psychology Exit Exam seriously?  

The Department of Psychology has both an obligation and interest in maximizing the validity of the Psychology Exit Exam because it is being used to assess the success of the program. Undesirable performance in either overall exam or a specific topic area may be interpreted as a problem in the overall program, curriculum, and/or specific course that warrants modifications. As such, aggregate poor performance or extreme variability in performance may cause some changes in the program design and/or the ways in which specific courses are taught. 

We are always very proud when our students perform above the national standards. Your individual Exit Exam scores can be helpful when applying for graduate school, jobs, and scholarships.

When and how do I take the Psychology Exit Exam? 

We advise students to take the Exit Exam in the last semester before graduation because some of the topics covered by the Exit Exam may not have been covered until the last semester before graduation. Because it takes at least two weeks for the Registrar’s Office to receive a notification of test completion, we advise students to take the exit exam in the first half of their last semester. You can schedule an appointment online and for more information, go to the UAA Testing Center website. Currently there are two ways to take the Exit Exam: 

  1. Take the exam (on a computer) at the UAA Testing Center located in the Consortium Library; or 
  2. Take the exam remotely at home on your computer. 

In either option, you are required to specify the time and date of the exam. 

How much does it cost to take the Psychology Exit Exam? 

As of 2023 Spring, the exam costs $15.00, which is the fee UAA pays to the testing company. Students are asked to pay the amount at the time of registering for the exam with the UAA Testing Center.  

How do I prepare for the Exit Exam? 

The Psychology Exit Exam covers main topics in Abnormal Psychology, Lifespan Development, Research Methods, Learning and Cognition, Personality, Physiological Psychology, Social Psychology, and Statistics. They are all in multiple-choice format and typically ask for: 1) a specific definition and/or example based on the technical term or concept (e.g., “fundamental attribution error”); or 2) the name of the concept based on definition or example (e.g., “bias to explain other people’s action based on the person’s disposition as opposed to situational factors”). As such, the questions should be similar to many questions that students have seen in the exams in PSY A111: Introduction to Psychology. Given this, one good strategy may be to review an Introduction to Psychology textbook by focusing on the core concepts specified in each subtopic such as (classical conditioning, working memory, accommodation and assimilation, ego, social loafing, standard error of the mean, internal validity, etc).