IB Exam Tip #9: TEFAC

Okay you really need to focus on McEG for what to write about (Method, Cross Cultural, Ethical Considerations and Gender), but TEFAC gives you a way to write:

  • T opic Sentence
  • E xplain what your topic is all about (this is where you define your terms)
  • F acts–research and theorists
  • A nalysis or Application–that is strengths, weaknesses, what this means etc.
  • C onclusion-

TEFAC was developed by Martin Walsh for IB History, but I modified with for IB Psychology. Check out the powerpoint for more details. What I have noticed is that many students are good at the first three, but they lack the analysis portion of the essay. This is critical for earning grades in the top band.

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IB Exam Tip #8: focus on signifiance

The perspective questions: Can you do the following for each of the four perspectives?

  • List at least five researchers who are KEY to the school?
  • Explain the key ideas that dominate the perspective?
  • Explain the attitude toward determinism?
  • Explain the application of the school to certain issues, including: Dysfunctional psychology and therapy, Development, Education, or Personality development?
  • Ethical issues and other criticism of the research?
  • The methods employed by the perspective for research?
  • Issues of Cross-culturalism

It is of utmost importance when writing this paper that you use the most important members of the perspective. If you are not sure where they fit, DON’T use them. Incorrect attribution of a psychologist to a perspective will result in the loss of credit. Remember that you are NOT to describe their research in detail, but rather show the results of their research.
[Source: John Crane]

Comment: I bolded the last point in John Crane’s excellent advice as this gets to the heart of the IB exam. It is not so much about listing what happened in a particular experiment, but rather why that experiment is significant in relation to both the perspective and to answer the question. Students who simply narate the experimental procedures and outcomes will only ever earn partial marks (at best half). When they take it to the higher level and tackle strengths and weaknesses, applications and implications in everyday usage, they will enjoy great marks.

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IB Exam Tip #7: know your theorists

For each of the perspectives you need to know 3 to 5 theorists/researchers. To the examiner it does not matter who you choose so long as

1) they clearly embody the perspective
2) you can clearly articulate the key aspects of their theory/research to the perspective, and
3) you answer the question

To take this to another level: Know and be able to identify strengths and weaknesses within their theories. Need some suggestions:

For each of the major perspectives, the following will be required to understand and know:

A.  Historical and cultural context of the perspective

B.  Theorists

C.  Key concepts

D.  Assumptions

E.  Methodologies

F.  Applications

G. Critical evaluations including cross-cultural studies and ethical issues

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IB Exam Tip #6: McEG on Paper II

Paper II is a one hour essay exam in which you answer one question depth (SL) or two (HL).

The topics are from the eight options. You really should stick to the option you studied. Tomorrow I will post a owerpoint on how to tackle the essay using a framework called TEFAC. Today, the focus is on McEG. In your response, as you craft your essay effectively addressing the question you must go beyond just your opinion or simpling narrating various theorists or research findings in order to get in the top of teh grading scale. I would write down on your exam booklet: McEG! No this is not a reminder of the new breakfast treat at MickieDs, but rather what examer need to see in your response:

  • Methods
  • Cross Cultural Considerations
  • Ethics
  • Gender

That is you must show empirical research
, consider cross-cultural issues, and evaluate issues of ethics, method, and gender.

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IB Exam Tip #5: Tell us what you know

IB awards grades based on what you know. How exactly does the grading work? Firstly, a group of senior examiners create the questions and mark schema for this year. The questions must come from the syllabus. To be more exact, the left hand side of the syllabus (Ie you will never be asked about a specific theory or researcher, but rather asked about a perspective and must apply what you have studied to the question.

Next, IB trains examiners around the world. We go through a process of grading old exams and comparing what scores we awarded versus what the senior examiners did. Discussion is encouraged. This helps us understand the IB grading philosophy. Unlike other exams where you loose marks for “missing” something in the answer, IB looks for what you do know. Examiners are told to not have preconceived notions about how a students should answer. Even the mark schema gives various examples of how a student might answer and how many grades one should award. Furthermore, we are encouraged to be consistent in how we award grades.

Finally, the real grading happens. In this process, the senior examiners will take a random sampling of completed exams to see if any questions caused any particular problems. At the same time, examiners will start receiving the exams from different schools (This is random). The senior examiners will make adjustments to the mark schema and then release it to the examiners.
After examiners grade, they enter their grades in the IBO website. The IB picks a random sampling of the examiners papers to be sent for moderation. This means that the exams are marked again, blindly, by a senior examiner. If the senior examiner feels the examiner was to harsh, the grades will be moderated up. If the original grading has been too high, it will be moderated down. This check and balance helps ensure a consistency across the planet.

John Crane has some sample good to great short answer questions posted on his site.

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