Trying to find ways to reduce the amount of studies in IB Psychology? Here’s how the Human Relationships option can be covered in just 8 studies.
The following guidance is for the Human Relationships option, since it’s the most popular.
The IB Guide states that “Each option is divided into three topics. For each option, there will be three essay titles to choose from, one for each topic in the option.” (IB Guide, pg 35). This is incredibly important to remember because it drastically reduces the amount of content you have to prepare.
Personal Relationships – Overview
Human Relationships has three topics:
- Personal relationships
- Group dynamics
- Social responsibility
The fact that questions might link “…research, ethical considerations, or the approaches to understanding behaviour … to the topic heading” (IB Guide, p35) means that you must choose which specific topic you revise carefully. Personally, I think Personal Relationships lends itself to the best exam preparation. This is because it’s most logical how the three approaches are linked to this topic.
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Personal Relationships – Exam Questions
Before we know which studies to choose, we have to know what exam questions might appear. The content for the Personal Relationships topic are:
- Formation of personal relationships
- Role of communication
- Explanations for why relationships change or end
Plus we have to add the potential exam questions on the following:
- Research methods used to study personal relationships
- Ethical considerations in studies on personal relationships
- Biological approach to study personal relationships
- Cognitive approach to study personal relationships
- Sociocultural approach to study personal relationships
Personal Relationships – The Studies
Here you can see how even with just 8 studies, you have at least three relevant studies to use for any possible exam question.
By choosing the studies carefully to match the three approaches, any possible question is covered.
Note: It was only months after the IB Guide was published that the exam question format was clarified. This is why Attributions had to be added later. They are explained along with the studies in this blog post on Cognitive Explanations for Divorce.
Correlational studies are excellent to revise. With just 8 studies needed for the option, that gives you more time to develop deep conceptual understanding of a wider range of topics.
It’s one thing to know the studies, it’s another to understand how and why to use them. If you’re aiming for a 7, that should be the focus of your revision. Good luck!
*This year (May 2021) Standard Level don’t actually have Paper Two since it’s cancelled due to covid. This means it’s actually HL students who can do Paper 2 in just 7 studies.
Travis Dixon is an IB Psychology teacher, author, workshop leader, examiner and IA moderator.