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Psychology HL

Part of the IB subject group 3, Individuals and Societies, Psychology is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology has a variety of research designs and applications, and provides a unique approach to understanding modern society.

Course structure

The course covers the following topics:

Year 1

  • Introduction to IB Psychology
  • Approaches to Research
  • Biological Approaches to Behaviour
  • Cognitive Approaches to Behaviour
  • Sociocultural Approaches
  • Abnormal Psychology I
  • Abnormal Psychology Part II
  • Introduction to the IA

Year 2

  • IA
  • Abnormal Psychology Part III
  • Human Relationships Part 1 and IA
  • Review and Trial Exam
  • Human Relationships Part 2
  • Human Relationships Part 3
  • Exam Preparation

This course has materials covering the following applied psychology options only:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Psychology of human relationships

Activities and assessment

Teachers can choose their own timetable but a typical week in IB Psychology might involve a reading assignment and an activity that requires students to engage with the content of the course, for example a discussion forum or a worksheet. Where appropriate, students can take part in collaborative activities. These may involve working together on an assignment or peer reviewing assignments. There are also opportunities for students to complete a group project. Lastly students will be assigned IB style assessment tasks once they have mastered the course content of each of the units of study. The Internal Assessment is supported through a unit that involves conducting a psychological experiment and writing a report.

There are two types of assessment in IB Psychology. Formative assessment focuses on student engagement and involvement in the course activities such as the discussion forums, wikis and worksheets. These activities are designed to consolidate student understanding of course content. Summative assignments include automatically graded quizzes and teacher graded essays or questions.

Advice from our teachers

In order to succeed in Psychology HL, we recommend students set aside seven to 10 hours a week.

Benefits to students

Taking Psychology HL will enable students to:

  • access a rich source of information about factors that influence human behaviour
  • develop their understanding of people in general and themselves in particular
  • become experienced in a wide range of technical and social tools

Course availability

This course will be available for use by schools with enrolments from:

  • August 2019 for May exam sessions
  • January 2020 for November exam sessions

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