40 thoughts on “Exams

  1. Hi! My exams are coming up soon and I have so many questions which I hope you can answer. First off, I’m having a bit of trouble on essay questions about how to answer questions on usefulness/application of AS studies, and when it concerns A2, Section B on paper 3 is a bit challenging. For the describe question (eg. Describe what psychologists have discovered about schizophrenia), do we have to write absolutely everything about schizophrenia or do we just pick out bits of information? And for the 12 mark evaluation question I’m not quite sure how to develop my points to gain good marks.
    Thanks a bunch! 🙂

    • Usefulness- how can you apply the findings to help society? Milgram for example showed that given the right circumstances anyone can follow instructions to the point of harm regardless of what your moral code is. Same with Haney, they results and conclusions could be applied to correctional facilities in order to improve the prisons and the lives of inmates and staff guarding them, etc. just gotta be a bit creative here.

      Section B- I tell my students to describe 5 to 6 things from the section of the syllabus, 2 from each bullet point. For example:

      *Types, symptoms and characteristics of schizophrenia
      Types (e.g. catatonic, paranoid); characteristics; case studies/examples.

      • Explanations of schizophrenia
      Genetic (e.g. Gottesman and Shields, 1972); biochemical (dopamine hypothesis); cognitive
      (e.g. Frith, 1992).

      • Ttreatments for schizophrenia
      Biochemical (antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics); electro-convulsive therapy.
      Token economy (Paul and Lentz, 1977); cognitive-behavioural therapy (Sensky, 2000).

      I would suggest you describe two types, two explanations and two treatments….

      Evaluations are tricky but stick to Point, Evidence and Explanation. That is, state a relevant evaluation point, explain why that is a relevant weakness or strength and then use some study to back it up. For example:
      “One weakness in this area is that the explanations are reductionist. Reductionism is the process in which complex behaviours or phenomena is broken down into more simpler terms so they can best studied. This can lead to simplistic explanations of something that is very complex. For example, the biological explanation of Schizo can be considered reductionist as it only takes into account ………………… neglecting congtive causes. Frith showed that Schizophrenia can be the result of faulty cognition…………………..”

  2. Hello!!! I find this blog Extremely useful…thankyou so much!!!
    I’m finding designing alternative studies a bit hard…how would you redesign dematte as observation?do you get real people whom you rate for attractiveness and smell pleasant or unpleasant?
    Ps:I have d same name as it’s😉

  3. Hey,
    So I’m self studying psychology and I needed help regarding questions in P3 ‘specialist choices’, I’ve chosen Models of abnomality and Health as my topics. I basically wanted to know how I should answer questions like (a) ‘Suggest how you could use a questionnaire to investigate the reasons why people delay seeking help from a medical practitioner’. I’m facing an issue with how to plan out my case study.
    If you could please help out I’d be grateful.
    Thank you.

    • I think you should do two things. First, start with reading questionnaires and their strengths and weaknesses. secondly, read a study that has already investigated this problem, on the textbook, here or in psychtutor (another good resource). Combine those two and you should be able to write a creditworthy answer/suggestion. This method will apply to other questions, in which they may ask about other stuff, e.g., read the research method, make sure you know it properly with all its necessary components and then read a study that has studied that problem, combine them and you should be alright!

      Regarding the questionnaire try to be as clear and “replicable” as possible. Will you use open or closed questions? Operationalise, that is what will answers to these will tell you exactly about delaying treatment? Give at least two concrete examples of questions. As in AS, provide details on timeframes, sampling (numbers of participants and method of sampling), will you target a GPs practice or two? Where, which country? Will you do this questionnaire online or by paper?

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hi there

    Please advise me as to how and where can I download all case studies for A2 psychology and abnormality as well as Psychology and health.

  5. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of conducting observational research using the Mann, Vrij and Bull study as an example.

    Please help

  6. I have one more question. What I’m a bit confused about is writing strengths and weaknesses of an approach. The question asks us to write the essay with respect to a named study. So, do we basically have to write the strengths and weaknesses of the study? Thanks!

    • Hi Eilaf!

      Apologies for the late response. It’s 4am now (where I am) but I wanted to respond to your question because it’s actually something that a lot of students slip up on.

      If the question asks you to “Discuss the strengths and weaknesses” of a psychological approach using a particular study “as an example”, you have to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the study BUT in the context of the approach. So you will not start your answer like “A strength/weakness of Piliavin’s study is…”

      Instead, you will state the strength/weakness related to the APPROACH specifically. For example, “One strength of the social approach is that is usually uses field experiments, which involve natural environments, thus making the research studies highly ecologically valid… For example, Piliavin conducted a field experiment in…” You then describe the link to Piliavin in enough detail to support the point.

      Basically, you are kind of discussing the study’s strengths/weaknesses but you have to change the format so that you are using the study to make links rather than to base your whole answer on. Remember, they are asking you about the APPROACH. So if you start discussing Piliavin’s lack of controls rather than the features of the social approach, you would lose marks.

      I know this is a little confusing but I hope it makes sense!

      Good luck,

      • Thank you so much! I actually read your response after writing my paper, but this question did not come in the paper. 😀

        • Oh phew! Oh well, maybe it’ll help somebody else, haha.

          Also, feel free to post what kind of questions came up/how the paper went on the BlogPsychology Facebook page! I’d love to hear about it from you all. 🙂

          Maryam X

  7. I don’t know how to ans questions like compare cognitive approach with one another approach using an example ? I m sitting fr p2 tom and freaking out. Plz help

        • Well it depends on which approach you decide to discuss. For example, if you choose to compare the cognitive approach with the social approach. You can compare their research methods, beliefs and assumptions, commonly used samples, etc. You can even discuss the reductionism in the approaches.

          As for using examples, that means supporting your points from studies. So you could use Held & Hein’s study to support a cognitive point and use Zimbardo’s study to support a social point. Does that make sense?

  8. Can you please explain exactly the difference between practical and methodological terms when it comes to evaluating a study? I’m sitting for paper 2 tomorrow and I’m really confused about this. Thanks!

    • Hi Eilaf,

      Good question. Usually, in Paper 2, you are asked to evaluate in “practical, ethical and/or methodological terms.” These terms slightly overlap with each other – the only one that is specific is “ethical”, because this refers only to ethical issues.

      Methodological refers to the research method and design. Does the type/design have a link to issues such as ecological validity, mundane realism, reliability, validity, generalisability, and so on? These are all issues that you can discuss (it’s basically all the ‘Core Content’). You can even bring up some ethical issues related to certain research methods, such as deception in covert observation BUT do not go into depth here because ethical issues are a separate point and will not be credited if you’re only asked about practical/methodological issues.

      Practical is a little less specific. For example, if it is a case study, is it difficult to find a person willing to be the study-focus? If it is difficult, then it’s a practical issue. Other practical issues could be related to space for sample or researcher involvement.

      You don’t have to differentiate between which points are practical and which are methodological in your answer – just discuss them clearly and even link them together where possible. I hope this helps!

      Good luck with the exam,

      • Surprised at and appreciating such a quick response, I request you to clarify one more point. You said that I do not need to differentiate between practical and methodological points, but for example, if a question explicitly states to evaluate the study in ETHICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL terms only, will writing points which are practical cause me to lose marks?

        • The thing is that many methodological and practical points are linked. For example, if the study is conducted in a laboratory, the artificial environment lowers the ecological validity. This makes the results less generalisable to real life.

          This is methodological because you’ve mentioned the research method but it’s practical because you’ve pointed out problems with application to real life. The best thing to do is change your wording so that your answer goes with the question.

          If they ask for methodological issues, specifically point out the research method and explain why it is responsible before discussing it in detail.
          If they ask for practical issues, begin by stating that there is a problem with generalising the findings to real life and applying the study to real situations. THEN discuss why and how this is an issue, but don’t focus too much on the research method itself.

          You have to play around with your words a little. If you’re lucky, the question will state “practical and methodological” and life will be so much easier 🙂

          You’re very, very unlikely to lose marks as long as the issues can somehow be linked to the question – and this is the case for most issues.

          Hope this helps!

  9. Hey Maryam!
    Maryam in p3 of psychology in section C when the question asks us to suggest for eg Suggest how you would investigate the style of behaviour shown by a leader. Is it necessary to conduct our own study otherwise how do we have to answer the question.

    • cognitive load is too much information going on in the working memory that the individual has no control to physical body hence causing stammers, fidgeting, longer pause, less blinking

  10. I dont know how to answer when an evaluation question is asked for 12 marks. i want to know what you need to include in your evaluation. Thanks

    • Hey, you need to include 4 evaluation points, including the one named on the question (e.g., include a discussion on …..). Don’t evaluate by study as you’ll make it more difficult for yourself. Try to use a “Point-Evidence-Explanation” in your paragraphs and you should be ok. Besides the one they require on the question you can pick any, usefulness is a good one and so is ethics.

  11. Redesign the Mann, Vrij and Bull study using an experiment as the research method.

    Kindly assist me with an example of an appropriate answer for this question.

    Thank you for this site!

  12. Hi Maryam,

    My friend introduced me to your website and I just wanna express HOW THANKFUL AND APPRECIATIVE I AM OF IT!!!! Honestly it has helped me so so so much, especially in terms of breaking things down to understand it better. I just wanna say that I really admire how kind, thoughtful and helpful you are! Some people would respond rudely to the comments you get asking you to upload more or something, but you’re just a huge sweetheart who’s really patient and I just thought you should know that.

    Thanks again for all your help, you’re saving so many CIE A-Level Psychology students’ lives!! I wish you all the best in your career, marriage and life in general, you totally deserve it.

    Raynna (:

    ps: What makes you 200 times cooler is that you love cats, I love cats too! hehehe

    • Hi Raynna!

      First of all, I’m sorry for not replying to you sooner. I actually read your comment a few minutes after you posted it back in October and I remember smiling SO big; I actually ended up reading it aloud to my husband because he was wondering why I was grinning somewhat psychotically at my phone. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say back then – your appreciation was overwhelming, haha.

      I always tell myself that I’m going to continue with the blog regardless of how much attention it gets; I genuinely want to help you guys out and make psychology interesting. I remember starting this blog just for my friends and never expecting to receive so much positive feedback. Still, every satisfied student – even if it’s just one random person that stumbled here by accident – makes me really happy on a personal level. So thank you very, very much for your kind words. Never let your positivity and kindness die out! It’s wonderful.

      I also want to thank you for inspiring me to begin working on a psychology-related project that I had in mind but just couldn’t get around to pursuing. Your enthusiasm just kick-started my own.

      I wish you all the best in return.

      Maryam XXX

      P.S. I know, man! THANKIN’ THE LORD 4 THE CATS XOXO

    • Hi there!

      Designing an alternative study usually depends on four factors:
      1. Who (sample)
      2. What (details of the study)
      3. Where (location and type)
      4. How (procedure)

      The second and fourth points are the most important – if you miss them out, you will lose more marks.

      In the exam, the question usually gives you an alternative option (e.g. Design Bandura’s experiment as a field study) and you just have to apply your knowledge here.

      If you give me an example of a question that you need help with, I can flesh out an answer for you.

      Thank you for commenting,
      Maryam XXX

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