7 steps to crack SAQs Paper 1 in IB Psychology

Are you feeling nervous about Paper 1 in IB Psychology? Do you not feel like you have enough time to prepare? Have no fear – with these tips, you can be fully prepared and confident on exam day! Follow these simple steps, and you will sail through the exam. Ready to get started?

What is SAQs?

These are short answer questions each carrying 9 marks.

Remember there are two sections in the IB paper section A (SAQs) and section B (essay). There are three compulsory SAQs, so you must answer all three questions based on three approaches biological, cognitive and sociocultural.

Step1:  List down the topics:

Paper 1 of the IB psychology exam covers various topics from different perspectives within the field. The perspectives covered include cognitive, biological, and sociocultural. The topics covered in Paper 1 are as follows:

  • The IB psychology syllabus
  • The evolutionary perspective
  • The cognitive perspective
  • The sociocultural perspective
  • The brain and behavior
  • Sensation and perception
  • States of consciousness
  • Learning
  • Memory

you have to examine these topics in detail to understand IB psychology thoroughly. Students should remember that Paper 1 is worth 50% of the total IB psychology exam grade. Consequently, it is essential to dedicate ample time to preparing for this exam.

Step 2: Examples of chosen topics:

After choosing the topic, you can write examples of nearly all the issues. For instance, in the biological approach, you have written down the topics related to hormones, genes, agonists, ethical standards, etc. And you need one example of each of these, like testosterone and pramipexole, in case studies.

Similarly, you have the topics of a cognitive approach like reconstructive memory and the effects of emotion and cognition. You must have one specific example of each case. However, misinformation affects reconstructive memory and the impact of fear on memory.

Step 3: Relate one study to each example:

Every study has its strengths & weaknesses, and each is suited to investigating different questions. For example, a case study is an ideal way to explore an individual's mental processes, as it allows for an in-depth analysis of a single subject. However, case studies are not well suited to investigating behavior, as you cannot use them to conclude cause and effect.

In contrast, an experiment is well suited to examining behavior, as it allows for manipulating variables and measuring outcomes. However, investigations are not well appropriate for investigating mental processes, as they cannot provide insight into an individual's thoughts and feelings. When choosing a study to investigate a particular question, it is essential to consider which type of study will be best suited to answer that question.

Step 4: Finding key terms and definitions of each topic:

The course is divided into three main issues: biological psychology, cognitive psychology, and sociology. Each of these topics has critical terms and definitions essential for students to understand.

Biological psychology is the case study of how biology affects behavior. Key terms in this topic include neurotransmitters, hormones, and brain regions. Cognition is the process of getting and using knowledge. Keywords in cognitive psychology include memory, attention, and language processing. Social psychology is the study of how people interact with each other. Key terms in this topic include conformity, aggression, and altruism. Understanding these key terms and definitions, students will better understand IB psychology.

Step 5: Write a key question for each topic:

Paper 1 focuses on IB psychology's core compulsory topics: the biological level of analysis, the cognitive level of analysis, and the sociocultural level of analysis. Here are a few key questions that students should be able to answer after taking the Paper

  • How do the hormones influence behavior (or how does cortisol influence memory?)
  • How do psychologists use the cognitive level of analysis to study human behavior?
  • What are the key features of the sociocultural level of analysis?
  • How do psychologists use these analysis levels to explain human behavior?

Step 6: Answer the selected questions:

After writing down the clear and concise critical questions of each topic in three approaches, the answer should be in 100 words or 3-5 sentences.

For example, if you selected the question, how does cortisol influence memory? So it would be helpful if you answered this question. You might think cortisol affects the hippocampus.

Step 7: Create your notes:

After completing the steps mentioned above, the last and foremost step is to rewrite the whole thing and make your notes. It would help if you similarly structured your notes on how information appears in the SAQs.

  • The topic lists
  • Specific example
  • The central question
  • The answer

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