Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tips and Tricks for Preparing for Your AP Psych Exam

There are SO many things you can do to help you review for your AP Psych Exam, and it can be hard to know where to start. Never fear! Here are some links and general tips, including some important "Do's" and "Don'ts" to help you out.

What NOT to Do:
The following strategies have been shown by researchers to be ineffective (people using them don't do much better than people who hadn't studied at all), so DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THEM.
  • Re-reading your textbookSkimming over previously read passages of your text is a terrible way to study, in part because 1.) it is time-consuming, 2.) you don't actually retain any more info after doing this, and 3.) (even worse) it fosters the "illusion of mastery,"  which leads to WORSE performance. For example, you may think you "know" something just because you think to yourself, "oh, sure, that seems familiar," when actually you aren't able to answer questions about it correctly. Of course, this tip assumes you read the textbook the first time. Also, note that there is nothing wrong with looking up a specific topic that you don't understand in order to get a question clarified or answered. Just avoid passive re-reading of whole chapters (or the whole book).
  • Highlighting stuff in your notesWhile it sure makes stuff look pretty, there is little processing going on when you highlight terms or ideas in your notes. Since memory is the product of thinking about something, you're better off doing something that forces you to think about the material.
What works?
  • Distributed PracticeYou may remember this being called "the spacing effect" in your textbook. Spacing out study of your material, rather than planning one giant cram session, leads to better memory. In fact spacing is most powerful once a little "forgetting" has set in. So, study a topic until you feel you've "got it," then come back to it in a day or two and quiz yourself. This strategy can also be a time-saver, since less overall time is needed to achieve the same result as cramming. However, it takes more planning, which is the hard part.
  • Retrieval Practice or Self-Testing. There is NO BETTER way to prepare yourself for a test than to practice pulling information from memory. There are LOTS of online tools to help you do this, and I've included some of them below.
  • Use what you've learned this year about memory! If you are continuously stumbling over the same term, researcher name, or list of things you need to recall, use encoding strategies to help you! Mnemonics, acronyms, chunking, and DEEP PROCESSING/ELABORATIVE REHEARSAL (thinking about connections between course concepts and what you already know.
So...where do I start?
  1. Take a practice testThis will help you identify areas of strength and weakness and provide you with feedback about how "far" you have to go yet to achieve mastery. If you haven't already taken advantage of a weekend practice exam, here are some options to get you started:
  2. Narrow your focus and make a plan. If you found out that you rock at Abnormal Psychology, but are not exactly comfortable with Developmental Psych, use that to plan your study sessions! 
  3. In the last couple of days before the test, plan time for "polishing." 
    • Review Famous Psychologists to help practice many different areas of the course. Can you identify how these people are similar to each other? Different? 
    • Use the "combine sets" feature on Quizlet to study multiple topic areas at once.
    • Study with a friend: take turns quizzing each other on major course topics (using flashcards or term lists).
Want a helpful list of the NEED-TO-KNOW terms for the AP Psych Exam? This list won't probably get you a 5, but it will make sure you've got the absolute basics down.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Slides from Psych Disorders and Treatment Unit

Although it goes against my better judgment to provide students with copies of slides from class (see this post for the research on this topic), given the high number of students that either have missed substantial numbers of class days already this unit and who plan to yet next week, I'm posting the three slide shows used in conjunction with this unit's material.

HUGE NOTE OF CAUTION: As you will plainly see if you do explore these resources, there are a LOT of slides and information we did not use in class. This is because I alter and shift what I use every year and retain unused slides in case I need them in the future. So, PLEASE do not send me panicked emails trying to alert me that there is stuff that we "missed," especially in the Psych Disorders slides. My canned response will be: "I know. That was on purpose."

Psych Disorders Notes

Biomedical Treatments


Friday, March 3, 2017

Brain Facts Link

Greetings, Psych Club members!

To access the shared Brain Facts document, click here. Be sure to highlight the facts you have "used" so we don't have a bunch of repeats!

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Stress and Health

Today in class we'll use a couple of inventories to help you understand the role that stress plays in your health and well-being.

First, you'll be asked to complete this inventory: The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale. Keep in mind, participation is voluntary, and you won't be asked to share your score.

Later in the hour, time permitting, we may complete this Type A/Type B Inventory.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lie Detection: Can You Spot the Liar?

Today in class we'll be exploring the practice of lie detection, and learning about psychologists' attempts to improve the process.

If we have enough time following the demonstration, you can test out your own ability to discern truthtellers from liars in this interactive from the NY Times.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Emotion Detection

How well can you read others' emotions? This exercise from the NY Times tests your ability to determine emotion based on facial expression (particularly, views of the eyes).

You might choose to incorporate such physical details (e.g., facial expressions) into your Emotion Theory Poster, depending on which emotion you choose.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1st Semester Final Study Tools

[Note: these are also posted in Canvas for you, along with a 16-item practice quiz that you can take multiple times.]

Here some resources to help you dominate your 1st Semester final:
  • First, you want to know what you are up against. You will get a copy of this in class. It describes what the final will look like, and has some basic tips for study.
  • As the above handout suggests, you'll want to systematically review each unit/chapter. Here's a handy list of terms/concepts from first semester (which should help speed creation of concept maps or outlines). I will also make copies of this available in class. 
  • You will also receive a copy of the Who Am I? Exercise for reviewing famous people. HERE are the ANSWERS so you can check your work.
  • If you want to review the Which One Doesn't Belong Exercise that we completed in class on 1/13, HERE are the ANSWERS to that.
  • Want to test out your mastery of Semester 1 content AND impress your friends? I've got a competitive review game up and running in Quizizz. It has 50 questions and will be available until Jan 19.
    See if you can get your name to the top of the leaderboard! To play:
    1. Open (Links to an external site.) in your browser
    2. Enter the 6-digit game code 628156 , and click "Proceed"
    3. Now enter your name and click "Join Game!"
    4. You will get an avatar, and then see a "Start Game" button. Click it to begin!
  • Check out the Study Resources page for lots of general review resources. Including this Learnerator site for AP Psychology with practice multiple choice items (some require paid access, but many you can try for free). 
Since we weren't able to run the scheduled study session on Monday evening, I've posted the slide below (and in Canvas). In addition to some review prompts, there are several interactive practice question sets (in Quizizz) for you to try out.

I've also created a Quizlet flashcard set that combines all of the flashcards from 1st Semester this year. It's a whopper, but if you want to brush up on your vocabulary there is no better tool. Use the settings to shuffle & randomize terms (or better yet, complete the "Learn" mode) for a recall challenge.

Also, many students find reviewing the important "names" in psychology to be a helpful study approach. Below, I've embedded the Famous Psychologists quizlet. Please note that it contains the big names from the WHOLE year, so there are folks in here you may not be familiar with. But many will be familiar, so study away!