Top 5 Essentials for Studying Psychology

One size fits all isn’t the best approach for reviewing different IB subjects – so this week, let’s tackle the challenge of studying IB psychology!


1. Summarise information


There’s plenty of concepts and models to learn in IB psychology, which means that one of the most essential skills you need to hone is the art of summarising the main points of a larger text, so you won’t have to waste time rereading the original source! Condensing an entire psychology study into a few sentences can be daunting, so start small – summarise paragraphs as you go, then try to tie together an entire section. That way you can be sure you’ve picked out only the relevant information, and focus on reviewing the major points!


2. Share out the work


No matter how good you get at summarising large texts, there will always be more things to read in psychology – so why not call a friend? Split up the revision topics within your study group so no one person has to handle the Herculean task of going over everything on their own! And even if you’re doing it alone, there are resources that condense complicated studies and concepts for you – why not check out our free resources as a place to start? This makes covering the entire syllabus much more doable, even alongside your other 5 IB subjects.


3. Read widely


Now you’re able to squeeze out the most important points of a psychology text, and you’re no longer doing it all alone, it’s time to cast your net wide – knowledge-wise, I mean! Psychology is the study of human behaviour – our understanding of why we act the way we do constantly evolves as we study it. Some concepts in psychology are decades old, and well-supported – others have been overturned as new evidence points psychologists in a different direction! Understanding how our knowledge of human behaviour has changed and developing your own balanced views on it comes down to the breadth of your knowledge. 


4. Consider different perspectives and angles


After your head has been filled to the brim with psychology facts, you need to spend some time formulating your own opinions about the validity, reliability, and overall usefulness of these studies in describing human behaviour. Human bias is unavoidable in psychology, and part of understanding this is learning how to pick apart the strengths and weaknesses of a psychological theory. Use your wide range of studies to consider a psychology topic from different angles. This is another reason where studying in a group is a big help – it’s easier to debate the pros and cons of something when there are other people to debate with! 


5. Practice making essay plans before writing essays


The more practice you have developing an essay plan, the easier it will be for you to answer an essay question fully, and the easier it will be for the examiner to find the answers they’re looking for. If you have a clear idea of which studies you intend to use to answer the question, and what your conclusion will be, your introduction will be much more accurate and to the point. There’s nothing more stressful in a psychology exam than to reach the conclusion having made the opposite statement to the one you started with – with some planning, you can spend less time backtracking, and more time showing off your extensive psychology knowledge. 


There’s a lot of work that goes into excelling in the IB, but if you stick with these five essentials, you’ll have your psychology revision sorted! If you want a more in-depth look into studying IB Psychology, you can speak to someone about getting some extra help here!


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