Content changes: Options

The new curriculum is available on the OCC as of February 8th.  You will see that there are some significant changes to the content of the options, which are assessed on Paper 2.

First, there are no longer stated learning outcomes that will serve as exam questions.

Secondly, now one question must be asked from each section of each option.  This may open up the curriculum to a lot more flexibility.

Finally, the sports psychology option is no longer offered.

Remember, this will be for the students that will sit exams in May 2019.

Changes to abnormal psychology

  • There are now five disorders to choose from: anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma and stress-related disorders and eating disorders.  Students must study one disorder.

New content

  • Classificatory systems
  • The role of clinical biases in diagnosis
  • The role of culture in treatment

Content that will no longer be assessed

  • Eclectic approaches to treatment
  • Group therapy
  • The relationship between aetiology and therapeutic approach.

Changes to developmental psychology

New content

  • Role of peers and play
  • The role of poverty/socio-economic status
  • Gender identity and social roles
  • Development of empathy and theory of mind
  • Brain development

Content that will no longer be assessed

  • The limited focus on gender roles.
  • Cultural variations in gender roles
  • Theories of adolescence
  • The relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence.

Changes to health psychology

Students should focus on one health issue: stress, addiction, obesity, chronic pain, sexual health.

New content

  • Biopsychosocial model of health and well-being
  • Dispositional factors and health beliefs
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Prevalence rates of health problems.
  • The effectiveness of health promotion programs.

Content that will no longer be assessed

  • The word "strategies" is no longer used; students will evaluate specific health promotion programs.
  • Students will not be required to study stress, obesity and addiction. They will only focus on one area of health psychology.
  • Coping with stress
  • Prevention strategies and treatments

Changes to human relationships

New content

  • Cooperation and conflict
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Origins of conflict and conflict resolution
  • Promoting pro-social behaviour

Content that will no longer be assessed

  • Theories of altruism
  • Explanations of violence.
  • The effectiveness of strategies for reducing violence.
  • The effects of short-term and long-term exposure to violence.
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Comments 16

Sania Begum 24 January 2018 - 06:12

Dear John,
Am I correct in saying that each section you are choosing to teach is from Health, Abnormal and Human?
Could I choose to teach from 2 options? Therefore 2 sections? Will HLs still be writing 2 essays in paper 2 and SLs 1?

John Crane 25 January 2018 - 19:38

Dear Sania - yes, you could teach just 2 sections. I will teach 3 just to give my students more options. HL will be writing 2 essays - one from each option - and SL only one.

Sania Begum 28 January 2018 - 09:17

Thank you. This is a great change for teachers and students and I look forward to teaching this way.

Tarjei Holmefjord 14 June 2018 - 09:32

Hi John!
I am just wondering if it will suffice to cover two sections from any of the options to prepare for paper 2 rather than covering the entirety of one option?
All the best, Tarjei

John Crane 15 June 2018 - 04:41

Dear Tarjei,

Yes, that is totally fine.

Tarjei Holmefjord 20 June 2018 - 19:25

Thanks for your response, John!

Jeff Poulin 28 August 2018 - 11:30

Dear John,
Schizophrenia is not part of the list of five disorders for Abnormal Psychology. Does it mean it cannot be used and students would not be awarded marks?

Thank you.

John Crane 28 August 2018 - 16:56

Dear Jeff,

I am afraid that that is correct.

Sania Begum 1 September 2018 - 14:30

Dear John,

Any updates on the options? Structure of the exam? Please refer to my first message on this thread.

Thank you.

John Crane 1 September 2018 - 20:16

Dear Sania

There was a lengthy clarification posted on both MY IB and the Facebook page for IB Psychology teachers.

Sania Begum 2 September 2018 - 12:47

I have only just joined the Facebook page, awaiting admin to accept.

I could not find the update on MY IB.

John Crane 2 September 2018 - 15:45

Sania - you were accepted. If you just search for UPDATE you will find it on the Facebook page.

Sania Begum 3 September 2018 - 06:12

Got it. Thank you John.

Jill Cullis 20 September 2018 - 16:25

Hi John, just to clarify it is possible to teach just etiologies and treatments from Abnormal for example? I intend to teach 3 to most students but for those who need additional support the 2 would suffice?


John Crane 21 September 2018 - 05:31

Dear Jill,

Yes, that is fine. That is what I am doing as well.

Jill Cullis 21 September 2018 - 09:20

Thank you John!