Julie Jessen


I am currently doing psychology HL as an online course (pamoja) and I absolutely hate it, I regret picking this subject so much. I just find the psychology so difficult, i feel like I don't understand anything. I also have my end of year exams soon (grade 11) and i have no idea where i should start with the revising. What are some good ways to start studying?

Do you guys have any tips for me? I would really appreciate it :) 

Thank youuuu :)

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What we do in psychology is to write essays to each of the learning outcomes (you can find these in the syllabus). Then we, essentially, study these essays by heart.

This is tiresome (and bores me to death sometimes), but effective: you can write each question according to the following formula:

  1. Introduction
  2. Theory 1
  3. Study 1
  4. Theory 2 (long answer only)
  5. Study 2 (long answer only)
  6. Conclusion

If your command term is, for example, "evaluate", you should include strengths and weaknesses of each study and theory after describing them. The IB accepts either breadth of knowledge or depth of knowledge; this structure assumes the latter, so you should be able to describe studies and theories in detail. I'd rather have studied by topics, and learned many different theories and studies, but I only realised that it's a possibility when I'd already completed more than half of the IB, so there was no point in re-learning.

In any case, my teacher's students get 5s, 6s, and 7s exclusively, so this must work rather well.

I study these essays by writing all the 6 parts of the essay on separate flashcards, mind maps or small posters -- which served me nicely for the mocks. If you have others doing Psychology online, get together, make a study group, go through one essay question every time or something like that.

To help with understanding of Psychology, watch videos; take a topic and google for resources. For example, a classic study of flashbulb memories is Loftus et al., and she has given a TED talk on her work. Crash Course videos deviate from IB content a lot, but you could also give them a try. Some very useful websites for me have been ibguides and ibpsychnotes, but neither has excellent (or complete) essay plans, so watch out. 

Finally, since you're in IB1, I assume you've been studying the three levels of analysis. Study short answers for two and long answers for one LOA, that's what you need in the exam. Actually, focus on learning one LOA really well, because if you'd write perfect answers for your long answer, and then only one (out of three) essays for short answer, you'd still get a 7. Don't count on writing perfect answers, though; you never know how much you'll forget. And final-finally, I recommend cognitive LOA for long answers -- there's lots of info on these topics online, and there are fewer questions than in other LOAs.


Hope this helped, and if you didn't quite catch something, ask me and I'll try to explain better. Good luck! 

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I take psychology HL in pamoja too, what I find most helpful is;

  • Going through the wikis that have all the key words (you can find the wikis in modules) if you understand those then you are pretty much set.
  • it is important that you also know your case studies for paper 1 since it is basically what you will be marked on (if you've been keeping up with your e-portfolio then just check the imperial studies checklist, if not message a classmate and ask if they can send it to you.)
  • They do BBB conferences pretty much every second week and they are all recorded so have a go at watching those (might be easier to just click on the topics that you don't understand)
  • Check the past papers in modules and try to answer those and send them to your teacher (they are usually really fast in replying and they don't mind helping)
  • Check the mark schemes (sometimes the easiest way of understanding what they're asking is looking at some examples) 

I know Psychology can be a bit intimidating and scary but the exam is not as bad as it seems, after all we've been answering SAQ's and ERQ's all year.

Hope this helps and good luck with your exam! 

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