Writing samples:Biological

The following section includes annotated samples of responses to exam questions - as well as strategies for answering questions based on the command terms. The responses are not from the IB.  They are created specifically for the site.

There is no definitive list of questions for this curriculum - so the list of potential questions below is not exhaustive.  However, most of the questions will fall within the list that has been provided below. The questions are grouped by topic and include both SAQ and ERQ (essay) questions.

SAQs may be asked using the command terms explain, describe or outline.  In the following sections, all questions will be stated using "explain" to simplify this page.

ERQs may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate. All examples below will use the command term "discuss" to simplify this page.

For the ERQ responses, students should include two or more pieces of research. Only one piece of research should be used for responses to SAQs.

Potential exam questions: Generic

SAQs

  1. Explain the use of one research method in one study using the biological approach to understanding human behaviour. 
  2. Explain the use of one research method in one study of the brain and behaviour.
  3. Explain the use of one research method in one study of hormones or pheromones and behaviour.
  4. Explain the use of one research method in one study of genetics and behaviour.
  5. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study using a biological approach to understanding human behaviour.
  6. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study of the brain and behaviour.
  7. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study of hormones or pheromones and behaviour.
  8. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study of genetics and behaviour.

ERQs

  • Discuss the use of one or more research methods...
  • Discuss ethical considerations .....

Potential exam questions: the brain and behaviour

SAQs

  1. Explain one technique used to study the brain in relation to behaviour.
  2. Explain one study of localization of function.
  3. Explain one study of neuroplasticity.
  4. Explain neuroplasticity, making use of one study.
  5. Explain one effect of neurotransmission in human behaviour, making use of one study.
  6. Explain the formation of neural networks using one study.
  7. Explain the role of one agonist, making use of one study.
  8. Explain the role of one antagonist, making use of one study.
  9. Explain neural pruning, making use of one study.
  10. Explain how excitatory or inhibitory synapses play a role in one behaviour, making use of one study.

ERQs

  1. Discuss one or more techniques used to study the brain in relation to behaviour.
  2. Discuss one or more studies of localization of function.
  3. Discuss one or more studies of neuroplasticity.
  4. Discuss one or more studies of the role of neurotransmission on behaviour.

Potential exam questions: hormones, pheromones and behaviour

SAQs

  1. Explain the role of one hormone in human behaviour, making use of one study.
  2. Explain one study of the role of pheromones in human behaviour.

ERQs

  1. Discuss the role of hormones on behaviour, using one or more examples.
  2. Discuss the role of pheromones in human behaviour, using one or more examples.

Potential exam questions: genes and behaviour

SAQs

  1. Explain the role of one gene in human behaviour.
  2. Explain one evolutionary explanation of one behaviour.
  3. Explain the use of twin studies and/or kinship studies using one study.

ERQs

  1. Discuss the role of one or more genes in one behaviour.
  2. Evaluate one or more studies on the role of genes on behaviour.
  3. Discuss one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Potential exam questions: animal research (HL only)

Extension questions may only be asked as ERQs, never as SAQs.

  1. Discuss the value of animal models in research to provide insight into human behaviour.
  2. Discuss the value of animal models to provide insight into the role of the  brain and behaviour.
  3. Discuss the value of animal models to provide insight into the role of hormones and/or pheromones and behaviour
  4. Discuss the value of animal models to provide insight into the role of genes on behaviour.
  5. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research.
  6. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on the brain and behaviour.
  7. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on hormones and/or pheromones and behaviour.
  8. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on the role of genes on behaviour.
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