What should we include in a mock exam? (Year One)

Travis DixonAssessment (IB), Teaching Ideas

Every school has different requirements for mock and end of year exams. In this post I give an outline of how I am approaching my Grade 11s End of Year (First Year IB Psych') exams.

The guidance in this post is going to be most helpful for teachers who are:

  • teaching a two year course
  • using our textbook, IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide 
  • …and are following a similar course structure to the one I’ve proposed here. (i.e. Criminology, Social Influence and Quantitative Methods covered in Year One).

Here’s what I include in my End-Of-Year Exam for Year 1 (Grade 11) students:

Contents of Exam (Adapted from of IB Psychology Paper One)

Time: 2.5 hrs

Part A: Short Answer Questions

  • Two questions. Answer both.
  • Questions will be based on the topics in the core approaches to understanding human behaviour (see attached document below).

Part B: Essay Questions

  • Three questions. Choose one.
  • There will be one question from each of the core approaches.

You can see that I have less content and more time for the exam to reflect the fact this is their first year in the course and they’re 12 months younger than they will be when they take the IB exams the following year.

There’s a lot of cognitive development that happens over the two years my students are in my psychology class, so I try to adjust my rubrics, tests and expectations to reflect this so they are fair assessments. I also think a majority of the emphasis should be on writing SARs in Year One, since these hit most of the skills that we’re looking for across assessments. 

Overview Document

You can download the overview that I have given my students for their mock exams this year. In this document I’ve made it clear what topics may be asked in the exam and I’ve included an example of what the questions might look like.

The textbook has a list of practice questions at the end of each topic that you could use for your exam, or if there’s a topic that you’re not sure how to phrase the question or what it will probably look like in an IB exam, post to our Facebook Group and we can help (don’t post questions on this post, because your students might see it, too 🙂  

Download the overview IB Psychology End of Year Exam!*

*Just a reminder that this is for my Year One/Grade 11 students.

Why aren’t I testing Paper Two?

I don’t think it’s necessary after Year One and there’s so much content for students to revise as it is with Paper One, that I think it’s redundant.

Also, I want students to focus on Paper One material since they will have to review this again next year as they prepare for the “real” IB exams. With Paper 2, we still haven’t covered PTSD (Chapter 4) or Love and Marriage (Chapter 5), which are really good options for Paper Two. The material we have covered this year for Paper Two (Group Dynamics and Social Responsibility), I don’t think are the best topics for students to prepare for in the “real” exam – I think “Interpersonal Relationships” and “Explanations of Disorders” are better, so I’d rather they concentrate their efforts on doing excellently in Paper One, increasing their chances of replicating this success in 12 months’ time and then the following year we’ll focus on Paper Two.

If you need to include Paper Two in your mock/end of year exams, and you’ve taught Social Influence, you could always just tell students that one topic will be included – Social Responsibility or Group Dynamics (if it were me, I’d focus on Group Dynamics as I think the topics in this one provide more opportunity for students to show deeper understanding and write better essays than those in Social Responsibility).