What do data tests actually test?
Data tests are worth 10% of your overall mark for units 3&4 of each QCE science & are fairly similar to exams. The main difference between exam-style assessments and data tests is that data tests focus only on the application of your scientific knowledge and skills to provided information. For example, a psychology data test is unlikely to ask “What does standard deviation measure?” but is likely to ask “explain what the difference in the standard deviation of each data set indicates”. Overall, each data test should focus roughly 30% on applying understanding, 30% on analysing evidence, and 40% on interpreting evidence. These are only rough percentages and your teacher may implement a data test where, for example, there’s some more marks allocated to applying understanding than to analysing evidence.
Make sure you’re comfortable with your scientific skills. Do you know what the difference is between correlation and causation? What a high p-value indicates? When to use an unpaired t-test? You also want to be comfortable with any diagrams or figures that are likely to feature in your data test. As with all assignments, you also want to be on top of the content. I recommend annotating the syllabus (either online or a print out) and highlighting/underlining/ticking the dot points you’re comfortable with. If you have time, you could extend this by using a rating system. Once you know your stuff, you want to practice your stuff. Since some exam questions would also be applicable to data tests, they’re a great way to get practice in; make sure you focus on ones which test scientific skills, data analysis and interpreting diagrams. An even better form of practice is to use QCAA’s sample assessments – try answering the sample assessment instrument for the psychology data test and mark your answers against the sample marking scheme. If you have time, it may be beneficial to redo this a 2nd time to see if you improve on your past performance.
Sure! (MCQ = multiple choice question; SA = short answer). Each of these questions are relevant to psych but the bolded ones are questions that I think will be particularly useful in terms of practicing for your psychology data test.
From VCAA try:
MCQ: 1,2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 35, 36, 38, 39 44, 45, 48, 50
SA: 1, 2a, 3 a-c, 4, 6a,
MCQ: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15*, 18, 20, 21, 27, 30, 31, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
SA: 3, 4ab, 5c**, 7 a-c f,
* debateable about whether this could be asked
** 2017 was my exam paper and almost everyone was freaking out about c iii afterwards; don’t stress if you find it challenging.
One way to get more comfortable with this is practicing under timed conditions. This could mean following the provided timings or – if you’re cobbling a group of questions together from other places- giving yourself roughly a minute per mark. Aside from practice, I find it helpful to pause when I find myself getting anxious about the pressure and just breathe for a bit to help me refocus; the time spent pausing is made up for by having increased clarity after.
Looking at sample data tests will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of assessment. Whether you’re confused by the assessment style, the content you need to know, or a combination of both, remember that you can ask for help and feedback. The more information you give someone about what’s confusing you, the easier they are likely to find helping you.
Good luck with psych! I believe in you 🙂