Spot the mistake before it’s too late!

tdixon Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

Can you spot the potential disasters in these planned short answer responses?

Here are the answers for an activity in our “10 Example Answers” resource (coming soon). On the reverse side of all 5 short answer responses in this pack is an activity designed to help students prepare for their exams. In this activity students were given some questions and proposed answers. This post can be used to check their answers.

Nicks Answer

Question: Explain how biology can influence one cognitive process.

Answer: One biological factor that can influence cognition is the amygdala, which can influence fear.

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: WAIT! Fear is not a cognitive process, it is a behaviour. This answer could score zero marks!

Rio’s Answer

Question: Outline one example of an interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour.

Answer: Meditation can affect the function and structure of the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex.

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: Go for it! Even though an interaction technically needs an influence in both directions, the IB allows a one-direction influence answer, so this is fine.

Note: These are for the current/old syllabus learning outcomes.


Sam’s Answer

Question: Outline the role of two cultural dimensions on behaviour.*

Answer: Two cultural dimensions that might influence behaviour are individualism and collectivism.

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: WAIT! Individualism and collectivism only count as one dimension. This answer couldn’t score top marks!
Analog stopwatch close-up with blurred second hand.

While you’ll be feeling the pressure of time in the exam, take a deep breath and slow down – it could save you LOTS of lost marks.

Yue’s Answer

Question: Describe one emic concept.

Answer: One emic concept is attraction because cross-cultural studies have found that people find similar traits attractive due to evolution. 

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: WAIT! An emic concept is one that focuses on a single culture: etic is multiple cultures. This answer could score zero marks.

Osama’s Answer

Question: Describe the use of one research method used at the biological level of analysis.

Answer: One research method used at the biological level of analysis is magnetic resonance imaging technology (MRI), which is used to study neuroplasticity. 

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: WAIT! The IB doesn’t consider MRI (or any brain imaging technology) a “research method.” They’re used as part of research methods like experiments and correlational studies.

You can join our student facebook group if you want to post questions about the exam.

Ava’s Answer

Question: Outline one principle of the biological level of analysis.

Answer: One principle of the biological level of analysis is that biology can influence behaviour. This can be shown in studies on the effects meditation can have on the brain.

  • Mr Dixon’s Response: WAIT! The argument here is not consistent with the principle: meditation’s effects on the brain is showing behaviour’s effects on biology, not biology’s effect on behaviour. This answer couldn’t get top marks.

  *It’s unlikely you’d be asked about two dimensions in a SAR – this is more likely an essay question. But it’s asked here to demonstrate the fact that individualism and collectivism are two ends of one dimension.

How can you avoid these mistakes?

Some simple tricks:

  • Work hard to revise

Plan your arguments and evidence for each learning outcome when you’re revising. This will take some time, but you can get your teacher to check your planned argument + evidence to make sure you’re on the right track. If you want a second opinion on whether your planned argument + evidence would work for a particular learning outcome, feel free to post it to our student group.

  • Plan your answer in the exam! 

Spend at least 2 minutes planning your answer and thinking it through. Don’t just start writing the first thing that comes into your head – write out a brief sketch or plan, then double-check that it’s consistent with the question. A mind map is an excellent way to plan your exam answers.

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