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Psychology command terms

In paper 1 of IB standard Psychology, you will come across two types of questions.

An 8 mark question, and a 22 mark question.

This depends on the command term.

YOU MUST KNOW THEIR DEFINITIONS BEFORE WRITING YOUR MINI ESSAY! Or else… you’ll lose marks like I did in the mock exam!


So for the 8 mark questions, the command terms are:

Define Give the precise meaning of a word, phrase, concept or physical quantity.
Describe Give a detailed account.
Outline Give a brief account or summary.
State Give a specific name, value or other brief answer without explanation or calculation.
Analyse Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.
Apply Use an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem or issue.
Distinguish Make clear the differences between two or more concepts or items.
Explain Give a detailed account including reasons or causes.

These are the 22 mark question command terms:

Compare Give an account of the similarities between two (or more) items orsituations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Compare and contrast Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Contrast Give an account of the differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Discuss Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.
Evaluate Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations.
Examine Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue.
To what extent Consider the merits or otherwise of an argument or concept. Opinions and conclusions should be presented clearly and supported with appropriate evidence and sound argument.

For example: Analyse factors influencing conformity. - here you have to break down everything and get to the roots of what types of factors influence conformity.

Or Examine 2 errors in attribution. - you must consider the assumptions of errors in attribution and give evidence to support or uncover errors of attribution with links and interrelationships.



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