How to Best Prepare Your Students for the VCE UNIT 4 Psychology

How to Best Prepare Your
Students for the
VCE UNIT 4 Psychology Exam !
Brain, Behaviour and Experience
Sequence of the Seminar
• The Structure of Assessment in Unit 4:
– School Assessed Coursework
– End of year examination
• The Major Aspects of the New Material in the course
• A planned and structured revision process to use with students
• How command terms dictate accurate responses to short answer
questions and the new extended answer questions.
• Examples of A+ level responses to help students maximise their scoring
• Exploration of Revision strategies, activities and on-the-day performance
Part 1
There is a greater range of School Assessed
Coursework tasks in the new course.
• Some have been retained from the previous
Study Design, some have been modified and
there are some new assessment task
• The Annotated Folio of Practical Activities –
AFPA is compulsory however Teachers have a
range of choices for the other Assessment
Possible Assessment Tasks for
Units 4 Psychology
Research Investigation
Visual Presentation – concept map, graphic organizer, poster
Oral presentation using 2 or more data of types (still or moving images, written text,
Evaluation of Research
Annotated Folio of Practical Activities
Media Response
Data Analysis
Unit 4 SACs
There are FOUR Assessment Tasks across Unit 4: Equating to 17%
But What does this mean?
PAIR A (for either Outcome 1 or Outcome 2):
Compulsory Element (Unit 3: AFPA – Use for Learning)
AND one other (Eg. Essay, Test, Visual Presentation)
PAIR B (Use with the other Outcome – Mental Health)
Any 2 from:
Evaluation of Research
Data Analysis
Oral Presentation using 2 or
more data types
• Essay
• Media Response
Visual Presentation
The exam is worth 33% of the final assessment
Duration of the papers: 90 Minutes + 15 minutes reading time
There are 2 compulsory sections:
– Section A – Multiple Choice Questions
– Section B – Short Answer Questions
Each Area of Study comprises approximately 50% of questions for each exam
In the new Study Design… Separate Areas of Study will not be flagged in exams
Research Methods questions are integrated throughout each exam
Each Exam will contain one extended response question worth approximately 1015 marks as part of the Short-Answer Section.
Unit 4 – Mental Health option could be assessed by Multiple-Choice and/or ShortAnswer questions, but not an extended response question.
Area of Study 1: Learning
• Mechanisms of learning:
– Areas of the brain and neural pathways involved in learning, synapse
formation, role of neurotransmitters
– Developmental plasticity and adaptive plasticity of the brain: changes
to the brain in response to learning and experience; timing of
– Use of imaging technologies in identifying changes in the brain due to
• Applications of classical conditioning: graduated exposure, aversion
therapy, flooding
Area of Study 1: Learning
• Three-phase model of operant conditioning: positive and
negative reinforcement, response cost, punishment and
schedules of reinforcement
• Applications of operant conditioning: shaping, token
• Bandura’s 1961, 1963a & 1963b experiments with children
• Insight Learning (Kohler)
• Latent Learning (Tolman)
Area of Study 2: Mental Health
Focus is on mental health as opposed to mental illness
Content Includes:
Concepts of Normality & Classification of mental conditions and disorders – DSMIV & ICD-10 (graded and transitional approaches to classification of mental
The biopsychosocial framework when considering physical and mental health
Biological, psychological (thoughts, feelings, emotions) and social factors are all
involved in understanding mental health/mental illness
Consider the role of each of these factors in mental health/illness.
Eustress and distress
Area of Study 2: Mental Health
• Lazarus’ Transactional Model of Stress and Coping
• Social, cultural and environmental factors and Strategies that
exacerbate and alleviate the stress response
• Allostasis- as a model that integrates biological and psychological
and social factors to explain stress.
• IE Stability brought about by the brain’s regulation of the body’s
response to stress.
• Strategies for coping with stress: biofeedback,
meditation/relaxation, exercise, social support.
Biopsychosocial Framework:
Simple Phobia
• Biological factors: role of stress response; role of
neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in
managing phobic anxiety
• Psychological factors: psychodynamic, behavioral,
cognitive models; use of psychotherapies- CBT,
systematic desensitization and flooding
• Socio-cultural factors: specific environmental triggers;
parental modeling, transmission of threat information
Biopsychosocial Framework
The Study design requires that students apply the
biopychosocial framework to one specified mental illness.
Each option is interesting but…
• Gambling: two biological factors (role of dopamine reward
system & as a target for treatment)
• Depression: three biological factors (role of genes,
neurotransmitters & antidepressant medication)
• Schizophrenia: four biological factors (genetic
predisposition, drug-induced onset, changes in brain
activity & use of medication that blocks dopamine)
Research Methods Skills and Knowlege
• Experimental Research: identification and operationalization of
independent and dependent variables; identification of extraneous and
potential confounding variables including artificiality, demand
characteristics, and non-standardised instructions and procedures; ways of
minimising confounding and extraneous variables including type of
sampling procedures, and standardised instructions and procedures
• Sampling Procedures: in selection and allocation of participants:
Convenience Sampling.
• Data Collection Methods: Techniques of qualitative and quantitative data
collection and Reliability
• Ethical Principles and Professional Conduct : including the Advantages
and limitations of generalizing and drawing conclusions from non-human
animals in research in terms of generalization and conclusions.
Part 3
The Goal Posts have been changed
• In years gone by most teachers completed the
Unit 4 course during Term Three. This
facilitated two or three weeks of revision in
Term Four. Realistically that is going to be
tough with the new course. Consequently it is
recommended that you:
Term 3 - Strategies that work…
• Weekly multiple choice quizzes – so they can
check their understanding
– Refer to pps 11 to 50 of your manual for samples.
Electronic copies are provided on the CD
• If time permits… (ha ha). Introduce an extended
response question – at the start of each week.
– Refer to pps 51 to 54 of your manual for samples.
Thanks to Kristy Kendal and the Nelson Text.
Term 3 Strategies continued
• Ask the students to prepare lots of hard copy
posters to develop concept maps on the material
covered in class – This can be linked to the
extended response question as a planning
• Get them out of their chairs, bring the content to
life! Run a token economy, do lots of short
activities, role plays, use Youtube, etc to speed up
audiovisual presentations of concepts. The
Annotated Folio of Practical Activities provides
scope for this.
Term 3 strategies continued
• Set Weekly review questions and make them
accountable to do the set work (Token
Economy works really well)
– This depends on the text you are using but a
sample outline is on the CD
• Teach your students what the command terms
mean to eliminate the mystery of interpreting
exam questions.
– Refer to pps 54 and 55 of the manual
Use of the September Exam Break
• Set a mock exam to be conducted under test conditions in the
second week of the holidays. Eg Monday 3rd October 3.00pm to
• Great for shock value – but also gives the students the opportunity
to practice under ‘real conditions’ and afterwards, there is still
enough time to master the material they did not know at this time.
• The time above would allow your students to sit the paper in the
same location and time as the formal paper on November 7th
November 3.00pm to 4.45pm
It also gives you time to mark the paper.
Term 4
• Students do a weekly practice exam (so two or
three) in Term 4.
• But they self-assess: provide them with the
markscheme - their revision after completing
each exam is to go over their paper and correctly
‘write out’ any answers they got wrong.
• Check them off next class to hold them
accountable – Token Economy continued from
Term 3 (if you used one).
Term 4 Specifics: Week 1.
• Finish and review AOS 2 (The Option)
IE Gambling, Schizophrenia etc
• Possibly run your final SAC
• Run an ‘abstract’ session on AOS2
• Do a mock exam – students self assess
Term 4: Week 2
Review AOS 1 - Learning
Run an ‘Abstract’ Session on AOS 1 – Learning
Do a mock exam – students self assess
Term 4 – Week 3
• if you are lucky enough to still have them –
trouble shoot the specific areas of weakness
that have become evident in the previous two
• If your classes continue beyond this (because
you have lots of Year 11’s) use games and
individual attention to maximise these
students chances of success.
I plan to provide 5 past papers for my
• 2 papers to be done at home in the first week of the September holidays
(with markschemes) to help them prepare for their mock paper.
• The mock paper (which I will formally assess and return to the students
first day back of Term 4).
• 2 papers in their final weeks of the course.
• If students want more papers, they can access the past exams from the
VCAA website.
• Alternatively they can be referred back to their weekly quizzes, practice
extended response questions, the Kendall (2010) Exam preparation
resource and checkpoints.
Part 4
• Examples of A+ responses from Past Exams to
help prepare your students.
AOS 1: Learning
• When revising for the ‘Learning SACs’ and AOS 1
in Term 4, I have and will use the examples in pps
56 to 72 of your manual.
AOS 2: Mental Health
In 2012 and beyond, we will have past VCAA questions to
complete this phase, however this year:
• We are going to use elements from Ross Down’s QAT
resource for SAC design and aspects of his
markschemes for revision
• I intend to use the online resources associated with
Onestop Science and the other teacher materials
provided by the various publishers to:
1. Provide sample answers to selected SAQ’s
2. Ensure that the students have access to the ‘correct’
information – and don’t just rely on one text
Part 5:
Revision Strategies, activities etc to
use with your students.
1. Workshopped Answers
• Students use their Portfolios of Coursework.
Posters, Quizzes, Sample Extended Response
entries etc to “bullet point” sets of short
answer questions from an alternate
textbook/s to the booklisted items used
during Term 3.
• In small groups they then workshop the
2. Timed Writing 1
• Extended Response Questions / Short Answer
Questions. A good way to finish off the week’s review.
Random SAQ’s and Extended Response Q’s drawn out
of a box.
– Use past paper questions, end of chapter review questions
or subtopic review questions.
• The number of marks available dictates the time (1
Minute per Mark).
• By the end of the session, they will have attempted an
array of questions – their homework is to use their text
etc to assess/review their responses.
Timed Writing 2
• Modify past exam questions or sections of
exams to help the students refine their timing.
• Project a countdown timer from the internet
• Lots of students ran out of time mid-year, this
will improve their abilities to perform on
November 7.
3. Word Association Games
• A word association game where the final letter
of one word must be the same as the first
letter of the next word.
• Used to review key concepts, themes or
terminology in a topic.
• Key: Choose your terms carefully, any word
cannot be recorded twice in the snake.
Word Association Games
Psych Tennis
• The server starts the came by nominating a concept, dot
point, dash point etc
e.g. Classical Conditioning
• Players take turns in ‘rallying’ key terms over an imaginary
• The first person to pause, repeat a term or run out of
options loses the point.
• The game is scored like real tennis.
• If the game is a hit in your class, you can organises a
tournament. Even watching others play still enables
Word Association Games
Penalty Shoot Out
There are a few variations to this but the way we play it is….
Students are put into groups of 6.
One Person is the goal keeper
The other 5 are ‘taking their shot’
The ‘shooters’ state definitions of their choice from an AOS
selected by the ‘referee’ (You)
If the goal keeper correctly says the appropriate key term
they have ‘saved the goal’. If they get it wrong, the shooter
‘scores a goal’.
After each ‘goal keeper’ tries to save their five goals the
players rotate positions. That is, the goal keeper becomes a
‘shooter’ and one of the ‘shooters’ becomes the goal keeper.
Scoring, prizes etc are established and distributed by the
4. Psychology Speed Dating
• Students are initially paired up.
• One person sits on a chair on an inner circle and the other person
sits on a chair in an outer circle.
• There is a set short answer question about one of the dot points in
the syllabus and they have 1 minute to answer the question - their
‘date’ can chip in if they don’t know the answer.
• After the first minute, members of the outer circle move on one
place to attempt a new question.
• When all of the ‘dates’ have been completed, the roles are reversed
with a new batch of questions.
• Four rotations will cover a 50 minute session with most class sizes.
• Past exam questions are readily available on Learning. For this year
maybe use the various learning activity and end of chapter SAQ’s in
the variety of texts for AOS2.
5. Psychionary
• An adaptation of Pictionary:
• Students draw images that relate to key
concepts, key studies or points of theory.
• A time limit of 20 seconds is allocated to
determine what the ‘Psychionary’ item is.
• You may choose to prepare a list of items or
allow the students to come up with their own
items provided they relate to the syllabus.
6. Psych Jeopardy, Millionaire etc
• Using the rules and protocols of one of these
famous tv show games. Use terminology from
the syllabus to play the game.
• It will be a little bit of work setting up, but
once completed, you will have the resource
for the remainder of the course (a few years at
7. Multiple Choice ‘Splat’
• Convert a series of multiple choice questions
into a powerpoint for presenting to the class.
• Students in pairs play off against each other to
who ‘knows’ their material the best.
• Again, there will be a little bit of setting up for
this year, but once prepared, they will an
invaluable resource in years to come.
8. Compare & Contrast Olympics
• Have students complete tables that compare and contrast major
dash points in the syllabus.
– Classical vs Operant Conditioning
– DSM IV TR vs ICD 10
– CBT vs Psychonalytic therapies for Depression / Gambling
• Students are allocated countries (or alternatively psychologists)
• The teams go head to head with the fastest performers winning
(but they have to have the table filled out correctly)
• Award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the best performers and
put their findings on the walls in recognition of their achievements.
9. Connect 4 Psychology
• Students are provided with a 100 item grid
• Each number on the grid relates to a question
you have prepared on a given topic
• Students nominate a question they would like
to attempt.
• If they get it correct they can nominate
another question.
• If they can get four questions in a row correct
they win
10. Mental Health - Psych Pong
• Based on the American ‘College’ game of Beer Pong.
• Two sets of Psych Pong cups are set up at either end of a table. We
blue tac them down too.
• A mental illness factor is placed in each cup.
• The objective is to determine the meaning behind or completely
explain a concept correctly using only ‘pieces of the puzzle’.
• As a ball is thrown into a cup, the receiver reads out the message
enclosed and the thrower ‘makes their diagnosis’.
• As the previous point suggests, we are going to use this game when
introducing diagnosis of mental illnesses, but it could be adapted to
any of a range of Psychological concepts.
• The idea is that to make a proper diagnosis, all of the information is
needed, if you only have bits and pieces, a wrong diagnosis is very

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