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Help answering SAQs

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  • Local time: 01:31 am
  • Exams: May 2011
  • Germany
Hi there!

I'm taking Psychology SL and I'm having some trouble figuring out how to answer an SAQ. We have done some practice ones in class, but they have all been unsuccessful (mine and also other students'). Although there is an explanation of how to answer one in the book, the explanation of our teacher often contradicts the one that is printed. I am confused, and nervous about my exams in May. Could someone please give me a basic outline of how to answer an SAQ? What needs to be there, how specific it needs to be? Also, is there a recommended word count? I would be glad if you could help me.



    IB Psych Tutor

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  • Glorious
  • 511 posts
  • Local time: 02:31 am
  • Exams: May 2008
  • Denmark
Hi CoolCat,

Is the book you are using the IB Course Companion? If it is, I would go with what Crane and Hannibal say (they are senior examiners) so they know how questions should be answered. In general, from what I understand in the syllabus and book, SAQs are meant to test your basic understanding of the syllabus. This means you demonstrate your knowledge and explain things clearly, you do not evaluate in SAQs (save that for LAQs). The important thing is to understand the command term used in the question (look in the syllabus for a glossary) and to answer appropriately with around 200-300 words (roughly a handwritten exam side depending on your handwriting size).

'What needs to be there' depends on the individual question and command term used. To be safe though I'd through as many buzz words (psychology jargon) into the answer as long as it all still makes sense.

'How specific does it need to be' will again depend on the question. There is no one way to answer each question, you get to answer the questions with whatever knowledge you have so as long as your knowledge answers the question and it is relevant to the question, you'll be fine.

Pages 383-384 of the Course Companion has some SAQ examples.