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1. About this Course

It covers the fundamentals of the subject taught during one semester of a college-level psychology class. The goal of the creator of this course – Modern States Education Alliance, a non-profit organization – is to prepare you to pass the College Board's CLEP examination and obtain college credit for free.

Through the guidance of Dr. David Sitt from Baruch College, this course will cover 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.

"By the time you complete the videos, readings, supplemental readings and practice tests, you will be well prepared for the Introductory Psychology CLEP exam," explains our lead professor, Dr. David Sitt.

The CLEP exam contains approximately 95 questions to be answered in 90 minutes.

Note that the questions on the CLEP Introductory Psychology exam will continue to adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-IV-TR) until further notice.

Our “Introductory Psychology” course is completely self-paced. There are no prerequisites to take this course, and it is entirely free. Any student who wants to save time and money while completing freshman year in college can take it.

2. About David Sitt, Ph.D.

Dr. David Sitt is a tenured professor of Psychology at Baruch College in New York City. He has been teaching Psychology at the undergraduate and graduate level for the past fifteen years.

Dr. David Sitt is also the founder and director of a mindfulness based clinic and consulting firm in New York City. He specializes in the assessment and treatment of adults with ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders through validated treatment modalities such as CBT and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Dr. Sitt also advises corporate clients and educational institutions on the varied impacts of technology on productivity, brain functioning, and interpersonal communication.

3. Required Knowledge and Skills

The CLEP exam requires you 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.

4. Course Modules

Following are the main topics and percentages of the exam’s questions, mostly based on the College Board's description of the course:


Module 1: History, Approaches, Methods (8–9%)

  1.0  Chemical composition of organisms

  1.1  History of psychology

  1.2  Approaches: biological, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic

  1.3  Research methods: experimental, clinical, correlational

  1.4  Ethics in research


Module 2: Biological Bases of Behavior (8–9%)

  2.1  Endocrine system

  2.2  Etiology

  2.3  Functional organization of the nervous system

  2.4  Genetics


Module 3: Sensation and Perception (7–8%)

  3.0  Sensation and Perception

  3.1  Attention

  3.2  Other senses: somesthesis, olfaction, gustation, vestibular system

  3.3  Perceptual development

  3.4  Perceptual processes

  3.5  Receptor processes: vision, audition


Module 4: States of Consciousness (5–6%)

  4.1  Sleeping and dreaming

  4.2  Hypnosis and meditation

  4.3  Psychoactive drug effects


Module 5: Learning (10–11%)

  5.1  Biological bases

  5.2  Classical conditioning

  5.3  Cognitive process in learning

  5.4  Observational learning

  5.5  Operant conditioning


Module 6: Cognition (8–9%)

  6.1  Intelligence and creativity

  6.2  Language

  6.3  Memory

  6.4  Thinking and problem solving


Module 7: Motivation and Emotion (7–8%)

  7.1  Theories of emotion

  7.2  Theories of motivation

  7.3  Biological bases of Hunger, Thirst, Sex, Pain

  7.4  Social motivation


Module 8: Developmental Psychology (8–9%)

  8.1  Research methods: longitudinal, cross-sectional

  8.2  Theories of development

  8.3  Dimensions of development: physical, cognitive, social, moral

  8.4  Gender identity and sex roles

  8.5  Heredity-environment issues


Module 9: Personality (7–8%)

  9.1  Assessment techniques

  9.2  Growth and adjustment

  9.3  Personality theories and approaches

  9.4  Self-concept, self-esteem

  9.5  Research methods: idiographic, nomothetic


Module 10: Psychological disorders and health (8–9%)

  10.1  Background and DSM-V

  10.2  Affective disorders

  10.3  Anxiety disorders

  10.4  Somatoform disorders

  10.5  Dissociative disorder

  10.6  Psychoses

  10.7  Personality disorders

  10.8  Theories of psychopathology

  10.9  Health, stress and coping


Module 11: Treatment of psychological disorders (7–8%)

  11.1  Insight therapies: psychodynamic and humanistic approaches

  11.2  Biological and drug therapies

  11.3  Behavioral therapies

  11.4  Cognitive therapies

  11.5  Community and preventative approaches


Module 12: Social Psychology (7–8%)

  12.1  Attribution processes

  12.2  Attitudes and attitude change

  12.3  Interpersonal perception

  12.4  Aggression/antisocial behavior and Altruism/Prosocial behavior

  12.5  Conformity, compliance, obedience


Module 13: Statistics, Tests, and Measurement (3–4%)

  13.1  Descriptive and Inferential Statistics; Samples, populations, norms

  13.2  Reliability and validity

  13.3  Measurement of intelligence

  13.4  Types of tests

5. How CLEP Works

Developed by the College Board, CLEP (College-Level Examination Program®) is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program.

CLEP’s credits are accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities, according to the College Board. These tests assess college-level knowledge in 33 subject areas.

Modern States Education Alliance is the non-profit organization behind these edX-style courses. Its project is called “Freshman Year for Free” and its mission is to make college more accessible and affordable through free, high-quality online education.

• CLEP® Introductory Psychology: at a Glance

• 'Passing the CLEP and Learning with Modern States' orientation course