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September 17, 2019, 12:06:49 am

Author Topic: A Guide to VCE Psych  (Read 3333 times)  Share 

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howey

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A Guide to VCE Psych
« on: May 16, 2017, 07:32:12 pm »
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G’day all Psych students! Psych’s a top subject and I hope you’re enjoying it so far. Unfortunately, it is very content-heavy – probably the most of any subject that you’ll do in Year 12.

So how do you smash it?

Here are my top six simple and effective tips for nailing VCE Psychology:

#1 Create your own Resources
In my opinion, it is super super important to create your own resources during Year 12 Psych. The textbook is about 800 pages long (well, okay, 633, but still…) and, to be blunt, half-full of irrelevant information or examples that probably aren’t going to be useful at all. So, to combat this, you need to make your own stuff. I found that chapter summaries were a brilliant fit for Psych, as it helps to condense all of the information into a manageable form, which you can then use to revise for SAC’s and the exam.  You might find that flash cards or mind maps work better for you, which are also great resources. Whatever’s best for you – but make sure you’re making something!

#2 Don’t Stress about Definitions
I know this tip might sound a little bit strange, and quite possibly the complete opposite that you’re being told by your teachers. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – I never bothered learning any definitions during Year 12. Not one. There are a couple of reasons for this:
a)   There are no set VCAA ‘correct’ definitions. Definitions vary from textbook to textbook, so I didn’t see the point in learning a phrase word-for-word, when there was no one ‘correct answer’
b)   Questions on the Psych exam do not ask you to ‘define …’. That’s not the way that Psych works – we’ll leave that to unimaginative subjects like BusMan. Instead, you usually need to apply your knowledge during questions, rather than just briefly explain what a concept (e.g. classical conditioning) actually is. If anyone can find a VCAA Psych question from the last five years that asks you purely to define something, then I will eat my hat!
c)   There are hundreds and hundreds of key terms in Psych. Let’s be honest, unless you’re Sheldon Cooper, you’re never going to learn all of those definitions
To put it bluntly, for the reasons listed above, I found that learning definitions word-for-word was a complete and utter waste of my time and effort. Instead, I used this time to practice answering questions, which leads me on to my next tip….

#3 Do Practice Questions
Because Psych is a subject with so much bloody content, it is easy to accidentally have holes in your knowledge. I found that practice questions were the best way to find these holes, and then hastily patch them up before the next SAC (or exam). It is also very easy to read over a concept in your textbook or summary and think that you’ve got it covered – but when it comes to writing a five-mark answer on that topic, it can be a totally different story. Linking in with this, my number one revision strategy for the exam is to do practice exams – as many as you can! I suggest aiming for double figures if possible.

#4 Know Your Basics
Knowing your basics is the backbone to success in Psych. In my opinion, about 90% of the exam is simply testing basic Psych knowledge. The challenge is making sure that you have that basic knowledge over the entire course. Simply knowing your basics, and knowing them inside-out and back-to-front, makes everything so much easier. If you can instantly answer questions like the capacity of STM and the names of the processes in observational learning, Psych exams suddenly seem a lot less daunting.

#5 Work with your Teacher
Your teacher is your best resource. Like them or loathe them (and I encourage you to work really hard on the former), they can be your biggest weapon to beating Year 12. So many students adopt a ‘you against me’ attitude with their teacher, which is a ridiculous thing to do. Your teacher is an expert on the subject (hopefully!) and, considering they mark all of your SAC’s, it definitely helps to get on their good side. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of sucking up – being polite and respectful is usually all it takes. Instead of puzzling over something that you don’t know for hours, have a ten-minute chat with your teacher, and this usually clears it up. Use your teacher to get feedback on SAC’s, and find out where you went wrong and what you can do better. Having your teacher as an ally, rather than an enemy, can make a world of difference.

#6 Consistent Hard Work
Unfortunately, we’re not Charlie Bucket, and there’s no golden ticket to instant success in Psych. Because there’s so much content in Psych, you can move through it reasonably quickly at times. Therefore, it’s crucial that you keep up during the year – it can be really hard to catch up if you do fall behind. Working smartly and solidly throughout the year will be your best bet to doing well in Psych, rather than studying in fits and spurts.

In general, make sure you get enough sleep and give yourself enough break time to still enjoy life during Year 12.

Good luck for the year and I hope you enjoy Psych!! :)

Howey



"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up" - Babe Ruth

brenden

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Re: A Guide to VCE Psych
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 10:39:15 pm »
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Joseph41

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Re: A Guide to VCE Psych
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 08:25:15 am »
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Great work, howey!

Quote
Questions on the Psych exam do not ask you to ‘define …’. That’s not the way that Psych works – we’ll leave that to unimaginative subjects like BusMan.

Absolutely fkn savage.

Really interesting point, though. I've never really thought about it too much, but I think you're right - learning word-for-word definitions really isn't as necessary as it is in some other subjects. :) So did you just learn the core concepts really well instead?
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howey

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Re: A Guide to VCE Psych
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 09:14:14 am »
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Absolutely fkn savage.

Really interesting point, though. I've never really thought about it too much, but I think you're right - learning word-for-word definitions really isn't as necessary as it is in some other subjects. :) So did you just learn the core concepts really well instead?

It's an interesting one, because I know a lot of teachers say that definitions are really important, but in my opinion, for the exam, they're just not useful. So yeah, I spent that time making sure I knew the core concepts absolutely inside-out, and doing extra practice questions and exams - specifically looking for trickier questions :)

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up" - Babe Ruth

Joseph41

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Re: A Guide to VCE Psych
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 09:20:02 am »
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It's an interesting one, because I know a lot of teachers say that definitions are really important, but in my opinion, for the exam, they're just not useful. So yeah, I spent that time making sure I knew the core concepts absolutely inside-out, and doing extra practice questions and exams - specifically looking for trickier questions :)

So come the end-of-year exam, you probably could have defined whatever concept if you absolutely had to?

I think that's probably a clever way of going about it! ;D
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howey

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Re: A Guide to VCE Psych
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 10:06:02 am »
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So come the end-of-year exam, you probably could have defined whatever concept if you absolutely had to?

I think that's probably a clever way of going about it! ;D

Yeah, so basically instead of learning them word-for-word, I just learnt the content well, so if I had to, I could have defined it in one sentence!

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up" - Babe Ruth