Exam overview

The following is adapted from the IB Psych handbook.
Since you are all currently Higher Level students, I have only included the descriptions of the higher level papers.



External Assessment

The external assessment consists of three written examination papers for the HL course (paper 1, paper 2 and paper 3) and two papers for the SL course (paper 1 and paper 2). The external assessment components contribute 80% to the final mark at HL and at SL.



Paper 1 (2 hours) 30% - The Perspectives
This paper is divided into two sections (section A and section B), both of which are based on the four perspectives.
• The biological perspective
• The cognitive perspective
• The learning perspective
• The humanistic perspective
It is recommended that students spend approximately one hour on section A and one hour on section B.
The maximum mark for this paper is 52.

Section A
• This section consists of four short-answer questions, one question on each perspective.
Students must answer all four questions.
The purpose of this section is to assess students’ knowledge across the four perspectives.
• Each question is worth 8 marks.
• The maximum mark for this section is 32.

Section B
• This section consists of four extended-response questions, which may be structured or essay questions. Students must answer one question.
The purpose of this section is to assess students’ in-depth knowledge of the perspectives. Students will need to show their understanding of the perspectives and demonstrate the higher-order skills of analysis and evaluation of the perspectives.
• Theoretical and empirical support is required in all answers.
• Each question may relate to more than one perspective. Some questions may ask for a student’s knowledge of one perspective. Other questions may require comparative analysis of selected topics or sub-topics from several or all of the perspectives.
• Each question is worth 20 marks.
• The maximum mark for this section is 20.



Paper 2 (2 hours) 30% - The Options

This paper consists of 21 questions on the seven options, three on each option.
At SAS, we have covered the following options:
Psychodynamic psychology

• The psychology of dysfunctional behaviour

There are three questions on each option, which may be structured or essay questions.
Students must answer two questions, each one from a different option.

The purpose of this paper is to assess students’ knowledge of the options and to give students the opportunity to demonstrate the higher-order skills of critical thinking and evaluation of the options.
Critical evaluation is of particular importance and students must consider cultural, ethical, gender and methodological issues, together with theoretical and empirical evidence when answering the questions.
The maximum mark for each question is 20.
The maximum mark for this paper is 40.



Paper 3 (1 hour) 20% - Qualitative Research

This paper consists of three questions on qualitative research. Students must answer all three questions.
The purpose of this paper is to assess students’ knowledge of qualitative methods of investigation. Although the emphasis is on qualitative methods, this paper also aims to assess students’ understanding of descriptive statistics. Questions may include stimulus material.

The marks allocated to each question may vary according to the type, the demands and the combination of questions set.
The maximum mark for this paper is 30.


Tips

The following information was provided at the DP Psychology workshop in Singapore, September 2008
  • All the exam questions come from the learning outcomes and the topic headings in the outlines for each perspective and option.
  • Making the connections is really important – must use the terms provided in the topic headings. The details or content that we investigated are what you could use to explain the concepts
  • Technically, you will not be penalized if you do not include researcher names. (With well known studies, it is best if you are familiar with the names.)
  • You should be able to justify why you’re including material. Use terms from the question throughout the essay.
  • Weighting – 50% description, 50% evaluation
  • You will never see a single theorist’s name on the paper (except the Neo-Freudians)
  • The content of the study not as important as the significance of the study