Exam Question Bank: Paper 2: Abnormal Psychology

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation 11 Comments

Whether you're a student looking for help with studying or a teacher writing mock exams, these questions should help.

Disclaimer: These questions are not IB “official” questions and are written with our best guess as to what the probable exam questions may look like. Not every possible question is covered but rather a wide sample of questions has been asked so you can get an idea of the types of questions that may appear.

READ MORE  IB Psychology Exam Question Banks

  • Paper 1: Biological approach (Link)
  • Paper 1: Cognitive approach (Link)
  • Paper 1: Sociocultural approach (Link)
  • Paper 1: HL Ext Bio Animal Studies (Link)
  • Paper 1: HL Ext Cog Technology & Cognition (Link)
  • Paper 1: HL Ext Soc/cult Globalization (Link)
  • Paper 2: Human Relationships (Link)

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Abnormal Psychology

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The exam questions will be based on the topic and content headings as shown above. This page is taken from our IB Psych revision book now available from our online store (here).

Exam Questions

TOPIC Content Essay Questions

Factors Influencing Diagnosis

  • Discuss one or more factors that might influence diagnosis.
  • Evaluate one or more studies related to factors influencing diagnosis.
Normality versus abnormality
  • Discuss one or more concepts of normality and/or abnormality.
  • Discuss one or more ways psychologists determine normality from abnormality.
  • Discuss one or more difficulties in determining abnormality from normality.
Classification systems
  • Discuss one or more classification systems.
  • Discuss how the use of classification systems may influence diagnosis.
The role of clinical biases in diagnosis
  • Discuss the role of clinical bias in diagnosis.
  • Discuss how clinical bias may influence diagnosis.
Validity and reliability of diagnosis
  • Discuss the validity and reliability of diagnosis.
  • Discuss how one or more factors may influence the validity and/or reliability of diagnosis.
   

Etiology of Abnormal Psychology

 

 

  • Discuss one etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Contrast two etiologies of abnormal psychology.
  • Evaluate one study related to the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Evaluate one or more studies related to the etiology of one disorder.
Explanations for disorders
  • Evaluate one explanation for one disorder.
  • Contrast two explanations for one disorder.
  • Discuss two explanations for one disorder.
Prevalence rates and disorders
  • Discuss the prevalence rates of one or more disorders.
  • Discuss the prevalence rates of one disorder.
   

Treatment of Disorders

  • Evaluate one or more studies related to the treatment of disorders.
Biological treatments
  • Evaluate one biological treatment for one disorder.
  • Evaluate one study relevant to one biology treatment of disorders.
Psychological treatments
  • Evaluate one psychological treatment for one disorder.
  • Contrast one biological treatment with one psychological treatment for disorders.
The role of culture in treatment
  • Discuss the role of culture in the treatment of disorders.
Assessing the effectiveness of treatment(s)
  • Discuss one or more ways psychologists can assess the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of one treatment for disorders.

Approaches (Bio, Cog & Socio-cult)

If questions about the three core approaches are asked they will be based on the three “topics” for the abnormal option (diagnosis, etiologies and treatments).

Factors Influencing Diagnosis*

  • Discuss how one or more sociocultural factors may influence diagnosis.

*It is unlikely students will be asked about biological factors in relation to factors influencing diagnosis.

The difficulty in predicting exam questions for the diagnosis topic is one reason why the etiology or treatment topics are more appealing for exam preparation.

Etiology of Abnormal Psychology

  • Discuss the biological approach to understanding the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Discuss the cognitive approach to understanding the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Evaluate the sociocultural approach to understanding the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Contrast the biological and cognitive approaches to understanding the etiology of abnormal psychology.

Treatment of Disorders

  • Discuss the biological approach to the treatment of disorders.
  • Evaluate the biological or cognitive approach to the treatment of disorders.
  • Contrast two approaches (biological, cognitive or sociocultural) to the treatment of disorders.

Research Methods & Ethical Considerations

Questions about research methods and ethics will be based on the three “topics” for the for the abnormal option (diagnosis, etiologies and treatments).

Research Methods

Essay Questions

  • Evaluate the use of one research method used to study factors influencing diagnosis.
  • Discuss approaches to research in the study of factors influencing diagnosis.*
  • Evaluate the use of one research method used to study the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Evaluate one or more research methods used to study the treatment of disorders.
  • Evaluate one approach to research (i.e. one research method) used to study the treatment of disorders.
  • Evaluate one research method used to study the treatment of one or more disorders.

*the phrase “approaches to research” is used in the official IB Psychology guide and it means “research methods” (e.g. true experiments, correlational studies, etc.) Students should be prepared for this phrasing, but hopefully the IB exam team will use the phrase “research methods” so as not to get confused with the three approaches (bio, cog & socio-cult). 

Ethical Considerations

Essay Questions

  • Discuss one or more ethical considerations related to research on factors influencing diagnosis.
  • Discuss one or more ethical considerations related to research on the treatment of disorders.
  • Discuss one ethical considerations related to research on the etiology of abnormal psychology.
  • Discuss one or more ethical considerations relevant to one study on the treatment of disorders.

 

Notes

  • Paper Two is essay questions only.
  • SL students write one essay for one option, HL students write two essays on two options.
  • There are three topics in the abnormal psychology option and there will definitely be one question per topic, which means you can safely study only one topic per option. HOWEVER, if you’re doing this then you need to be prepared to answer any possible question on that topic, including the three approaches, research methods and ethical considerations in relation to that topic.

Noticed a mistake? Always feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Comments 11

  1. The other day I told my students that this could be a valid question in the exams: “Discuss ethical considerations relevant to the study of abnormal psychology” and I can see that you have it as a possible question as well. However, one student pointed out that they will get one question on each topic in paper 2, and therefore this would not be a valid question. I believe she is right. What do you think?

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Hi Travis,

    A small question. Which studies can we use for ethics in treatment? Students have doubts in writing the ethical consideration ERQ. for paper 2. Could you please suggest a few studies for this and how it is different from ethics in diagnosis.

    Thank you,
    Ferin.

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      Author

      What studies are they using for biological and psychological treatments? The same studies ca nbe used for ethics.

  3. So nice what you do for your students and also really helpful for others. Thank you so much from Egypt !!

  4. Hello! Thank you for the extremely helpful blog!!!

    I would like to ask a question: for Ethics, is ethics in reporting results also included [implications, etc], or is it merely Ethics in conducting the experiment?

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      Author
  5. Hi,

    I’m completing the Psychology HL paper’s in November this year and I was wondering what kind of “to what extent” questions could be asked for factors influencing diagnosis

  6. Hi,

    I’m completing the Psychology HL paper’s in November this year and I was wondering what kind of “to what extent” questions could be asked for factors influencing diagnosis?

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      Author

      It’s not easy to see how any of the diagnosis topics would have a “to what extent” question. Perhaps “To what extent does clinical bias influence diagnosis?” Or perhaps, “To what extent can social or cultural factors influence diagnosis?” But I doubt these would be questions. Remember as well you only have to revise one topic from the options for the exams – this would be the hardest topic from Abnormal to revise, in my opinion.

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