5 reasons why I think “depth” is better than “breadth” in IB Psychology.

Travis Dixon Curriculum, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

When planning to teach (or study) individual topics in the new IB Psychology course, you might find yourself faced with the question: do I go for depth or breadth?  For example, should you teach (or learn) three effects of hormones on behaviour, or just one? The new course has supposedly been designed to allow the choice of either approach. However,  in …

Example Essay: Technological Techniques

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Biological Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation 4 Comments

I’ve been playing around a bit with scaffolding for essay writing, and from what I’ve found, a general guideline for essay structure is as follows: Introduction Core argument  Supporting evidence (min. 2 x studies). Counter argument Conclusion  Of course, this is just a template and sometimes the structure varies. For example, you might have one study supporting the core argument …

Sample SAQs: Memory Reliability

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Cognitive Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

Here are two versions of the same sample answer from this year’s (May, 2017) IB Psychology exam. The question was: Describe one study investigating memory reliability. The annotated short answer response (SAQ) shows you the answer, plus my comments as to why I think this is a mediocre response. Then we have this second excellent annotated example SAQ, which does a better …

Why we rarely use the word “prove” in psychology…

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation 5 Comments

If you’re reading this it’s probably because your teacher has sent you here after you’ve gone and written something like, “this study proves that…” in your psychology writing. While you may be able to use the word “prove” in the natural sciences and other subjects, this post will help you to understand why as a psychologist you may never use this word …

So you want to assess ecological validity?

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), General Interest, Revision and Exam Preparation 11 Comments

If you’re reading this it’s probably because your teacher has sent you here after reading something in your essay along the lines of, “this experiment was a laboratory experiment and so it lacks ecological validity.” This throwaway sentence makes teachers and examiners groan (and not award you any marks, just so you know). So I’m here to help show you how to …

Biological Approach: Sample Exam Questions

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Biological Psychology, Curriculum, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

With the new curriculum and the loss of the LOs, many teachers may be wondering about what the exam questions will be like. The answer is: much like the old ones. If you look at all the topics in the biological approach they are all related to the understanding of how variables can influence behaviour. The exam questions will reflect …

Social Identity Theory: A Brief Summary for Students

Travis Dixon Revision and Exam Preparation, Studies and Theories Leave a Comment

On the surface, Tajfel and Turner’s social identity theory can seem complex as there are multiple parts and some of the ideas are really abstract. In our themantic approach we try to break it down, lesson-by-lesson so each of the major concepts of social identity theory are introduced gradually. Remember that one of the first questions you should ask when trying to understand …

Critical Thinking in the New Course

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

The following is adapted from an extract in the introduction to IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide Critical Thinking The IB Psychology course is aimed at developing an understanding of relationships: relationships between variables, behaviour, ethics and research methods. But students also need to be able to develop the skills to go further than understanding and to be able to reflect critically upon …

SAQ Writing Guide

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Curriculum, General Interest, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

Updated Jan 25th, 2021 I’ve spent over ten years trying to devise good advice for students about how to write exam answers. You’ll see below an original post I wrote a few years ago (in 2017) with an attached “SAQ Writing Guide” as a word.doc that I thought would revolutionize teaching of SAQs. I was wrong. I’ve learned that specific …

Command Terms and Definitions

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation 5 Comments

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Updated Aug, 2020 The command terms are the verbs at the start of IB exam questions. While they be important, they are actually far less important than many people think.  Command terms in SAQs Short-answer questions (SAQs) may use one of three command terms in IB Psychology exams: outline, describe and explain. However, you don’t need to worry about the …