In Psychology we have covered the importance of having high self-efficacy. If I challenged you to think back to a personal experience in which you had been successful, most of us would recognise that when we have been thinking positively, we have succeeded. Positive thinking will help to accomplish your goals. The same applies to revision and exams. Once you are mentally prepared – it’s time to get organised!
At AS level create a mind map for each topic e.g. research methods, memory, attachment, stress, social influence and abnormality. For each mind map include; a detailed description of the theory; supporting or contradictory evidence and; an evaluation of the evidence (strengths and weaknesses). Mindmapping is a really useful strategy for revision because it uses lots of different parts of your brain – you are using words, colours, images, spatial connections. It can make complex ideas more understandable and memorable. Secondly, reduce your mindmaps to essential key points onto cue/index cards. ‘Chunk’ the information into manageable pieces. Write the description of a study or theory on one side (AO1) and the evaluative points on the reverse (AO2). Vary the font, CAPITALISE, use colour, add diagrams, arrows and highlights. Try cutting your cue cards into different shapes – a car shape for Loftus and Palmer or a monkey for Harlow. Get someone at home to test you.
When you have spent sufficient time on a topic the next stage is to practice exam questions. You should not go into the exam and be surprised by anything. You should be familiar with the style of question and writing to a given amount of time in the practices we have been running after-school but you can never do too many practice papers. Log onto: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-a-2180/past-papers-and-mark-schemes and once you have attempted some of the past papers, have a look at the examiners comments for questions that you found particularly difficult.
The specification is a great tool as this is your roadmap and details exactly what you need to know. A copy can be found at http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/specifications/alevel/AQA-2180-W-SP-14.PDF Your next task is to plan model essay answers for all the possible 12 mark essay questions that can come up. In PSYA1 you will get asked one 12 mark question with a host of 6, 8 or even 10 markers as well. In PSYA2 you could get asked more than one 12 mark question too along with 6, 8 or even 10 markers, the aim is the same – create model 12 mark essays for all the questions that you can. The 12 marker is worth the most amount of marks with 6 marks for theory and 6 marks for evaluation. Repetition is the key here, revision should be an active process, passively sitting and reading will do you little good.
Learning is about doing, if you want information to stick then you have to use it and change it in some way.
Finally, a method that more and more students are finding useful, that can be used on the bus, train or during any spare 5-10 minutes at home or school, is the Psychology revision app. It contains summaries of all of the content on the specification, quizzes and challenges to test and reinforce knowledge and understanding and practice exam questions. Details can be found at: http://www.illuminatepublishing.com/psychapp/