ashtolga23
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I seem to see a fair number of people struggling with psychology revision, so I thought I'd just do a thread that I can answer questions on and share when I see these kinds of questions. I can't speak for other boards, but I feel I’m pretty qualified to speak about AQA specifically. I get full marks, or one off full marks, in pretty much every test I do, and it’s been that way since the start of Year 12. I think there’s a trick to getting exam technique right, and after that the rest falls into place pretty easily.

Revision Technique
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First off, revision techniques. Everybody is different, so I won't say this is the only way to do things, however I've found it to be the best for me as it's effective and fairly quick.

I usually cross-reference my booklet that I’ve been given in lesson with my revision guide to make very brief notes. If you haven’t got a revision guide then it’s a must; I got mine for free because my teacher gave them out to us at the start of the year, but they’re worth the money! I'm sure they'll be available second hand too if it is a problem. I must also say I'm probably slightly biased as my teacher had a hand in writing them, but they're very useful for gathering compact information.

My notes probably only make sense to me because I miss out a lot of words like “the” and “a”, and I shorten a lot of words, eg. “relationship between” becomes “rltshp btwn”. This makes it a lot easier because it shortens the writing process; I don't find it worthwhile to spend hours writing intricate and beautiful notes, so I just want them to be practical. The purpose of them is to condense all the information I need into one place, and also the process of making these notes forces me to go back over the content and really think about it, so I can write is as economically as possible.

Content wise, you probably just want some bullet points that get you to 6 marks for description, then 3-4 evaluation points. You don’t need to write it in full. As I mentioned above, condensing it as much as possible is best. I can give examples of how I do this if anybody wants me to. It worried me at first because I thought I wouldn’t have enough detail, but quick notes will jog your memory. The guy who told me this used the example of writing your girlfriend’s name on your hand when it’s her birthday, as a reminder to buy her a card and a gift, and book a table at a restaurant; you don’t need anything more than her name, as that triggers a whole host of other memories.

Revision is obviously very personal for everyone, so you might prefer to watch Psych Boost on YouTube or something, but I would recommend at least trying this method.


Exam Technique
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Most of the questions are pretty straightforward, so I’ll focus on the bigger questions.

If you’re struggling with structuring evaluation points, you probably want to be using PEEL: state your point, provide evidence in the way of studies, explain, then link back to the question to make it clear how your point relates. This should make your argument far more clear and coherent.

Also, try to do the AOs one at a time. AO1 is knowledge and understanding (description), AO2 is application of knowledge, and AO3 is analyse and evaluate. In a 16-marker, you want to separate these out so that it’s clear to an examiner that you have enough for each; some will require application and some won’t, but either way it’s 6 marks for AO1. AO2 will be worth 4 marks if it’s included, so consequently AO3 goes from 10 to 6 if application is included.


If you want me to delve in to any specifics then feel free to ask!
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Hellohsjakodsmka
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Thanks so much for making this thread! :hugs:
And I definitely agree with the bit where you said only you can understand your notes, for example if I wrote "relationship between" I'd put it as "rel <-->" and no one else knows what it says lol.

I had a question about paper 3 - the time pressure is crazy, how are you supposed to do it all in 2 hours? Or do you have any tips on timing?
Also how do you structure the comparison of approaches questions? Thanks so much again!
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Hellohsjakodsmka)
Thanks so much for making this thread! :hugs:
And I definitely agree with the bit where you said only you can understand your notes, for example if I wrote "relationship between" I'd put it as "rel <-->" and no one else knows what it says lol.

I had a question about paper 3 - the time pressure is crazy, how are you supposed to do it all in 2 hours? Or do you have any tips on timing?
Also how do you structure the comparison of approaches questions? Thanks so much again!
As long as it works for you, that's what counts! I also use lots of arrows, like an upwards arrow followed by "int val" would mean "increases the internal validity".

That's quite difficult to say really. I think it's all about practice, and also knowing your stuff well. If you revise it over and over and feel like you're confident on the whole topic, then getting through it is quite simple as it's just a matter of turning your shorthand notes back into full form.

I think PEEL structure also works for comparison of approaches. Make your point by stating a similarity or difference, then provide evidence by developing on it. You could then explain nuances if possible, for instance a difference within the similarity, or a similarity within the difference; one example of this may be that the behaviourist and biological approaches both use animals, but the former focuses on the external environment while the latter is interested in the internal response. You can then link back to your original point by ending on the consequence/implication, eg. "this can be a weakness as both approaches can be accessed of anthropomorphism and may not generalise to humans".

It's my pleasure!
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Shafxx
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
As long as it works for you, that's what counts! I also use lots of arrows, like an upwards arrow followed by "int val" would mean "increases the internal validity".

That's quite difficult to say really. I think it's all about practice, and also knowing your stuff well. If you revise it over and over and feel like you're confident on the whole topic, then getting through it is quite simple as it's just a matter of turning your shorthand notes back into full form.

I think PEEL structure also works for comparison of approaches. Make your point by stating a similarity or difference, then provide evidence by developing on it. You could then explain nuances if possible, for instance a difference within the similarity, or a similarity within the difference; one example of this may be that the behaviourist and biological approaches both use animals, but the former focuses on the external environment while the latter is interested in the internal response. You can then link back to your original point by ending on the consequence/implication, eg. "this can be a weakness as both approaches can be accessed of anthropomorphism and may not generalise to humans".

It's my pleasure!
Thanks for directing me to this for 12 markers what kind of things should I include I'm really confused on how to actually structure them and what I should be putting in in terms of GRAVE and GRENADE?
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Shafxx)
Thanks for directing me to this for 12 markers what kind of things should I include I'm really confused on how to actually structure them and what I should be putting in in terms of GRAVE and GRENADE?
It’s not a problem!

First off, mind if I ask you about those acronyms? I’ve not come across them before and it may help me to advise you.
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Shafxx
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GRAVE (generalisability, reliability, application, validity (internal and ecological) ethics.
Grenide
Gender bias
Reductionism Vs Holism
Ethical issues vs Socially
sensitivity.
Nature Vs Nurture
Idiographic Vs Nomothetic
Determinism Vs Freewill
Ethnocentrism.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Shafxx)
GRAVE (generalisability, reliability, application, validity (internal and ecological) ethics.
Grenide
Gender bias
Reductionism Vs Holism
Ethical issues vs Socially
sensitivity.
Nature Vs Nurture
Idiographic Vs Nomothetic
Determinism Vs Freewill
Ethnocentrism.
Sorry for the later response; I was ironically making notes for psychology as I have a test tomorrow.

Ah interesting! Thank you for sharing those, it seems similar to one I use which is DREAMS:
Determinism VS free-will
Reductionism VS holism
Evidence
Applications
Methods (research)
Scientific?

Now back to your original query...
(Original post by Shafxx)
Thanks for directing me to this for 12 markers what kind of things should I include I'm really confused on how to actually structure them and what I should be putting in in terms of GRAVE and GRENADE?
I don't believe I've actually done 12-markers before as I've only done A-Level style questions, rather than AS. However, my revision guide has some suggestions. It says a good rule of thumb is 25-30 words per mark, as long as the answer is well-focused, and so suggests in a 12-mark essay you write 150-200 words on AO1 and 150-200 words on AO3; this may help you or it may not, but I thought I'd throw it in as a small note. Getting down to the more important things, it says there are two different routes you could use for structure. I'll put them both but I think the second is far stronger.
Route 1: Six points for AO1 and 5 points at intermediate level for AO3.
Route 2: Six points for AO1 and 3 points at expert level for AO3.
Route 2 requires you to elaborate more, and so you can use the PEEL structure I've talked about in my original post. I can give you some examples of 16-mark essays I've done if you'd like (I'd just have to go through my Google Drive to find them), just to demonstrate what a PEEL structure looks like.

As for the acronyms, I wouldn't get too weighed down in them. At a first glance they look very useful for considering what you may want to cover in your AO3, but you certainly won't need to be covering all of it for full marks. It's more a helpful reminder in what kind of things often come up in evaluation points. You just want to be asking yourself if certain studies/theories fit them, and if it's a limitation or strength. I'll shape GRAVE into questions so this may be clearer, then you can ask me any questions if you still have them:
G - Can you generalise the findings to the wider population? If yes, then this is a strength. If no, then this is a weakness, as the findings may not apply outside of the study/culture/gender/whatever factor is limiting.
R - Is the theory too reductionist, or is it more holistic? Holism is generally seen as a strength. Reductionism is generally seen as a weakness
A - Does it have real-world/practical application? If yes, then this is a strength as it is useful.
V - Is there anything that makes the validity particularly strong or weak? In a lab study for instance, validity could be made stronger by high control of the variables, or weaker through demand characteristics.
E - Are there any ethical issues? Obviously, if so, then this is a limitation.
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tinygirl96
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This is great!
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by tinygirl96)
This is great!
Aw thank you so much! That's really nice to hear.
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psychind
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What I did was at the top of each flash card, I’d write a 16-mark question and then in bullet points I’d think of a few points that would adequately answer the question, each bullet point being a paragraph in the real answer. I did this by going through each page of my revision guide and making sure I wasn’t leaving out any topic that a 16 marker could come up on. Google pretty much had all the 16 markers on there, I just typed in the topic name with ‘16 mark questions’ after. This is probably more Year 13 revision when you already know a fair bit, but it really really helps. You wouldn’t need to do the same for 12 or 8 mark questions as you could just pick out a couple of the bullet points and use those instead, so it’s actually more time efficient than it sounds. Oh yeah and if it helps you can highlight each bullet point a different colour depending on whether it’s AO1 or AO3, and that would give you a sense of how much you’re including in each answer. Good luck!
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Shafxx
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(Original post by psychind)
What I did was at the top of each flash card, I’d write a 16-mark question and then in bullet points I’d think of a few points that would adequately answer the question, each bullet point being a paragraph in the real answer. I did this by going through each page of my revision guide and making sure I wasn’t leaving out any topic that a 16 marker could come up on. Google pretty much had all the 16 markers on there, I just typed in the topic name with ‘16 mark questions’ after. This is probably more Year 13 revision when you already know a fair bit, but it really really helps. You wouldn’t need to do the same for 12 or 8 mark questions as you could just pick out a couple of the bullet points and use those instead, so it’s actually more time efficient than it sounds. Oh yeah and if it helps you can highlight each bullet point a different colour depending on whether it’s AO1 or AO3, and that would give you a sense of how much you’re including in each answer. Good luck!
Would you be able to take a picture of one of the flashcards as an example please I usually waste a lot of time just deciding how I'm even going to lay my revision out
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psychind
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(Original post by Shafxx)
Would you be able to take a picture of one of the flashcards as an example please I usually waste a lot of time just deciding how I'm even going to lay my revision out
Of course I’ll put a picture on tomorrow
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Shafxx
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Thank you
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psychind
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Ok so I couldn’t find the bullet point flash cards but I found these from Year 12 which follow a similar system, just in mindmap format. My mind maps were overly complicated and wordy but the general message of getting your AO1 (green) points in on one side (Harlow was one paragraph and Lorenz the next) and then your AO3 (pink) points on the other side (evaluation of Harlow one paragraph and Lorenz the other) is the same. I recommend putting it in wayyy less detail as it’s difficult to read this way, but whether you format it as a mindmap or bullet points is completely down to preference.
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