#5 Best Study Tip for IB Psych: Ignore Command Terms

Travis DixonRevision and Exam Preparation

You don't need to know command terms to understand how to structure great answers in IB Psych.

This tip is sure to cause a stir amongst some IB teachers as the command terms are like IB Gospel.

In my early years of teaching I thought so, too. I had these plastered around the wall and thought they were the most important thing to know about the IB Psychology exams. However, over the years I’ve realised that they’re of minimal consequence. 

What’s far more important than knowing the command terms is focusing on knowing actual Psychology! Spend your time studying the meaning of psychological terminology, like neuroplasticity, enculturation and etiology. Focus on reviewing and analysing the psychological evidence (i.e. studies) and comprehending the theories. Go further and try to find limitations in the explanations and the evidence. If you focus on reviewing the real content of the course, you’ll be able to answer any IB exam question, regardless of the verb used at the start of the question.

To be diplomatic, I’ll summarise by saying that you’re best to ignore the command terms when you’re studying, but you may want to pay some attention to them in the exam question.

That said, I’ve demonstrated on numerous occasions how the command terms are of little importance. Here are some examples: