How to study for my psychology exams? Part 2 - Preparation

Studying for exams always require a lot of preparation. As mentioned earlier, you need to have studied the materials in some ways or methods before you start preparing for the exams. You will need to read through all the material thoroughly, if you have not studied anything during the semester. 

So what would be the results of good preparation for the exams? This would probably result in you being so well-prepared to answer most of the questions and pass the exam. However
I always believe it is a must to go through the material at least three or four times, in order to have some familiarity for the material. For most people, they might only go through the material twice - once when the lecturer is going through the notes and the second time when they are reading (for the first time) to prepare for exam.

So how are you going to get the recommended three to four, or even five, times of going through the material? Here are some steps to achieve those numbers of times:
1. Reading your lecture materials before the lectures and classes; even browsing through the lecture notes is good.
2. Listening attentive in class and asking questions when in doubt - being critical and asking questions would mean that you are understanding and "digesting" the material.
3.  If you are still unclear after the lectures/tutorials, make sure you read through the textbooks and ask the lecturers until you are clear of the doubts.
4. Do brief write-ups answering the individual chapter objectives. These are usually available in the first pages of the chapters or in your lecture notes. These write-ups are like summaries of the chapters, including all the main words, definitions, and theories. Make sure you do up a system to differentiate between these things, such as main words (in bold), definitions (in italics), and theories (in bold and italics). Doing this counts for 2 times of revision, as you have (1) read the material and (2) typed or written that out. I would recommend doing this because it becomes more efficient later when you start revising; reading 4 to 6 pages of your own write-up would definitely take less time than reading 30 to 50 pages of the textbook chapter.
Caution: It is recommended to do this soon after the lectures, as your memories would be fresh of what the important things to take note of. It may take several hours to days to do the write-up depending on how much content the chapter has. From my experience, it take about 10 to 14 days for each module/subject.
5. Go through the write-ups at least twice and do as much practice as possible before the exams.

My recommendations: Put down the dates for assignments and exams as early as possible in your diaries. Always start doing your assignments two weeks before the due dates; if assignments due dates clash, then start three or four weeks for them. Always start preparing for each of your exams four weeks before the actual day, to carry out the above Steps 4 and 5, two weeks for each step.  Lastly, make sure to include these start dates of the assignments and exams in the diaries too.

These above recommended methods have proved successful for the author. Hope they are as effective for your own preparation!!

Make sure you read Part 1 and 3 as well!!!

SGPsychStud: Selling your psychology textbooks???

This is a common act among university students, as observed on their university psychology Facebook group pages recently.  Question for this post is:  Should you be selling your psychology textbooks or keeping them for your own future references??

I have to admit this post is of my own opinions and you might have differing opinions, for the simple fact that humans are different.  So please read with a large pinch of salt.

For myself, I always like to get my textbooks new - just me to like to have new books.  Knowledge is power, isn't it?  I do have most of my undergraduate books at home, stacking up and building into a mini psychological library of different topics.  There are definitely books that I have picked up again and again, such as the APA Publication Manual and my statistics textbooks.  But what about those which were shelved there and never picked up since?  They always reminded me of the days when I have studied them and even from just looking at them, I am reminded of the material that I have studied.

Have I sold my textbooks before?  No - because I never know when I may need them one day.
Have I bought second-hand books before?  No - I just like them new, I just said it right? But if they are free, why not?
Have I ever used second-hand books?  Yes, definitely read and borrowed books from libraries and friends, but if I find that the book is so good that it is worth to keep, I will definitely get a copy myself.

I do not know why you may be selling your textbooks.  Maybe they are of not use to you any more, maybe you need the cash, maybe you know all the knowledge in the books, but definitely those books would be useful to you one day as a psychologist.
I am no one to judge your actions, simply because we are all different, and it is always your choice of whether you want to sell your textbooks or not.  For me, I still like looking at my mini-library, and  my expanding book lists.

SGPsychStud: Number of psychologists in Singapore??

This is not a common question that I get, but some people may ask this question. Is there a lot of psychologists in Singapore? or How many psychologists are there in Singapore?
With the knowledge that we have so many students doing psychology, both full-time and part-time, diplomas and degrees, local and private schools, and obviously a big batch of students graduating every year...But how many psychologists are out there in Singapore?

My answer: Many...Question is how many are truly registered in the Singapore Register of Psychologists?
(Please read the posts under the Registration label to have an understanding of registration).

Only after being registered and get yourself the title of "Registered Psychologist (Singapore)", should you then be able call yourself a psychologist (in my opinion). This is the similar situation in all other psychological countries of authority (US, UK, and Australia). However there are many "psychologists" out there in Singapore, regardless of having the qualifications and competence or not. If you do have them, why are you not registered yet?

To truly answer the question of the title in an accurate manner: There are only 199 Registered Psychologists currently in Singapore according to this list, as at 14 August 2012.
(Update: 227 registered psychologists as checked on 14 August 2013; and 236 registered psychologists as checked on 14 August 2014)

Question for psychologists out there: Are you competent enough in terms of "education, training, supervised experience and appropriate professional experience" to be a registered psychologist in Singapore? Why are you not registered? What is stopping you from registering in the SRP? Why do you choose not to be registered and given that recognition?

How to study for my psychology exams?? Part 1 - Introduction and Recognition

As psychology students, we should make what we study work for us too, and not just for our clients. If we can make these strategies work for us, they should work pretty well for them too. This is the same for studying. Let's not put what we have studied to waste.

So how should we study? This should work for all types of exams and not only psychology exams.

I presume everyone who did at least an Introduction to Psychology or Foundation Psychology would have come across the chapter of "Memory". In this chapter, one of the most practical methods of memory (in my opinion) is  Recognition and Recall.

What is recognition and recall??
Recognition is to come up with the answer when provided with a cue or other information related to the answer. Recall is to come up with the answer from the memory yourself.
In your brain, recognition involves a process of comparison of information with memory (familiarity). Recall involves a search of memory and then the comparison process once something is found (retrieval). There is a long story about the types of memory, interferences and effects (blah blah blah)..so keeping the long story short, let's move on the practical side of it.

Before doing your FINAL revision for exam, you must first have some basic understanding of your topic material; if you do NOT understand any of it or do NOT have any memory of learning it, please go through the topic material first.

Based on these two, I firstly assume that it will be easier for me to "pull out" this memory, if I "insert" it in a similar fashion - which is that if I require Recall to "pull out" chunks of memory, I will "insert" them in by remembering these chunks of information. Hence firstly, here is the way I classify the types of exam formats, based on recognition and recall:
Multiple choice questions (MCQ) - recognition, because cues or clues are usually given - just have to read properly and watch out for them
Short answers - recognition, for similar reasons as MCQ
Long answer / Essay - recall, because need to remember chunks of information

So if the exam format is MCQ or short answers, I will not go and memorise chunks of information, but instead try to do a chart where I can link up words or information that often appear together.
Example: Classical conditioning - Pavlov - dogs - UCS/CS/NS/UCR/CR - forward/simultaneous/backward conditioning. So when the word "classical conditioning" comes up, you will remember the other words as well.
Possible good methods to do it are to do mind maps or charts where associated words are linked up. The methods are up to you to make it interesting enough for yourself to remember; if it is interesting for you, it will be easier for you to remember.
Another way that I would recommend to improve recognition is to go through the material the way you will be tested. For the MCQ, the more times you go through similar methods of testing and similar questions, the easier to recall for your exams later. Hence for your revision, you can probably try out these methods.

Make sure you read Part 2 and 3 as well!!!