Each year, following the May and November examination sessions, the IB publishes a subject report.

This report provides the grade boundaries for all components of the course, as well as a review of candidate performance on each examination question. It also provides recommendations for future teaching.

Here are the key recommendations for Paper 1 based on candidate performance in the May 2019 examination:

  • If a question asks for a specific example of human behaviour, you should explicitly identify that particular behaviour.
  • Studies should be described in depth and in detail.
  • Explain any key concepts you use.
  • When a question asks for one study, you will not receive credit for including a second or a third.
  • You will lose focus (and marks!) if you include evaluation in your SAQ writing.
  • In essays, you should integrate appropriate and relevant critical thinking. This means more than just the standard evaluation of studies. Include a discussion of the implications of research findings, offer an alternative explanation, or address practical applications of research. This will further improve your score in Criterion D.


The following recommendations concern Paper 2:

  • Unpack questions carefully before you start writing.
  • You must connect your evaluation of research to the question.
  • Define key terms and list studies that you will discuss in your introduction. This will help you remain focused.


For HL students specifically, these recommendations were made:

  • Answers to Questions 1 and 2 do not have to be long.
  • Question 3, however, requires a structured response with a clear argument and a display of your critical thinking skills.