Psychology is about human behavior and the scientific study of an individual’s behavior. This study can be difficult, however, because there is no set-in-stone reason why each person acts the way they do. Studying psychology and learning how to understand an individual can be a long process and can involve thousands of theories to one simple problem.
How do you study for a psychology course effectively then? In math, you can repeat a similar style of problem over and over by following a simple set of rules. In a technical course, you can write an algorithm that will surely work. Even with writing and language courses, there’s always a set of rules that tell you what words go where, and how verbs are to be used!
Here are a few tips to study for a different kind of course; a social science course: Psychology.
1) Know the Terms
The first step is knowing the terms and their definitions. There are thousands of terms, theories, and mechanisms that try to explain human behavior. It can a long time to memorize each theory and it’s definition. Sometimes, after much time learning them, you still cannot get a grasp for what they’re saying. Apply the knowledge, or research examples of each term. If two terms seem eerily similar (which a lot will), compare and contrast to determine their difference.
2) Understand the Scientific Approach
We’ve been learning the scientific method since elementary school: Observation, hypothesis, experiment, analysis, etc. In psychology, though, you’ll really have to understand it. There is no formula and no straightforward answer in psychology. Above all, everyday somebody comes up with a new question about why somebody did this, or why somebody did that. A psychologists job is to use science to answer this question.
3) Understand the History
Look at past psychologists and notice their theories and the experiments they’ve done. Each past psychologist has a different viewpoint, and it’s important to understand each of them. This will also hopefully prevent you from sticking to one viewpoint on your own. It is important to think outside the box so you can explore all theories to a problem
One other benefit of studying past experiments is looking at the results of them. Years ago, psychologists were aloud to do more with their subjects, including things we may find very immoral today. Because we obviously can’t go back and repeat horrid experiments, we can learn from the records of them today.
4) Get Involved in Experiments
Be a subject. Watching others experiment you will let you experience what if feels like to be in the other person’s shoes. You can also think about how being experimented on can effect your state of mind. This will give you a benefit if you ever want to do your psychological experiment. From being studied for my psychology class, I know that a thorough understanding of the experiment before the test can result in less anxiety, and therefore produce better results.
Those are just four general study tips for anyone in a psychology course. Follow these tips to win in A in your elective course, or to major in psychology with flying colors!