Topics in Psychology HL are divided into 3 sections: Part 1, 2 and 3. Both SL and HL students study all Part 1 topics. For Part 2, SL students choose one and HL students choose two topics to study. Only HL students study all topics in Part 3. Below is a summary of each topic:
Part 1 Topics: Core (both SL and HL)
- The biological level of analysis
- The brain and behaviour
- Hormones and behaviour
- Genetics and behaviour
- The role of animal research in understanding human behaviour (HL only)
- The cognitive level of analysis
- Cognitive processing
- Reliability of cognitive processes
- Emotion and cognition
- Cognitive processing in the digital world (HL only)
- The sociocultural level of analysis
- The individual and the group
- Cultural origins of behaviour and cognition
- Cultural influences on individual attitudes, identity and behaviours
- The influence of globalization on individual attitudes, identities and behaviour (HL only)
Part 2 Topics: Options (both SL and HL)
- Abnormal psychology
- Factors influencing diagnosis
- Etiology of abnormal psychology
- Treatment of disorders
- Developmental psychology
- Influences on cognitive and social development
- Developing an identity
- Developing as a learner
- Health psychology
- Determinants of health
- Health problems
- Promoting health
- Psychology of human relationships
- Personal relationships
- Group dynamics
- Social responsibility
Part 3 Topics: Approaches to researching behaviour (HL only)
- Research methods
- Elements of researching behaviour
- Analyzing data
- Evaluating research
- Drawing conclusions
All SL and HL students are required to write Paper 1 and 2. The HL paper 3 is longer and tests students on topics in Part 3. Sample specimen papers can be found here.
This paper consists of four questions out of 49 marks. Section A requires all three questions to be answered testing knowledge from topics in Part 1. Section B requires only one question to be answered testing knowledge from any topics found in Part 1 or 2. Students are given 2 hours to complete this paper.
SL: This paper consists of one question out of 22 marks. One topic from Part 2 is being tested on and students choose one question from that topic to answer. Students are given 1 hour to complete this paper.
HL: This paper consists of two questions of 44 marks. Two topics in Part 2 are being tested on and students choose one question from each topic to answer. Students are given 2 hours to complete this paper.
Paper 3 (HL only)
This paper is out of 24 marks. Knowledge from topics in Part 3 is being tested on and students must complete all questions. Students are given 1 hour to complete this paper.
The IA in Psychology SL / HL is a replication of a lab study studied in the course. Each year, the IBO releases the studies that are to be completed by students for the IA. In groups of 4 to 5, students complete these experimental studies, analyze the data obtained and report the findings for the formal assessment of the IA. The IA is out of 22 marks.
You may also like…
- Divyanshi’s Tips for Psychology HL.
- Learoy’s Secrets to Staying Motivated as an IB student.