Writing samples: Cognitive

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 based on work done in-class by students, or they are created specifically for the site. Often the sample is designed to provide examples of common mistakes or in order to show something that should be done for higher marks. 

There is no definitive list of questions for this curriculum - so the list of potential questions below is not exhaustive.  However, I do believe that 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.

For the ERQ responses, students will need to include two or more pieces of research. In most cases, a single example will be asked for the SAQ questions.

Potential exam questions: Generic

SAQs

  1. Explain the use of one research method in one study of cognitive processes.
  2. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study of the reliability of cognitive processes.
  3. Explain the use of one research method in one study of emotion and cognition.

ERQs

  1. Discuss the use of one or more research methods using the cognitive approach to understand human  behaviour.
  2. Discuss ethical considerations relevant to using a cognitive approach to studying human behaviour.

Potential exam questions: Cognitive processes

SAQs

  • Explain one study related to schema theory.
  • Explain one model of memory.
  • Explain one study that supports one model of memory.
  • Explain one study of thinking and decision making.
  • Explain one theory of thinking and decision making.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  • Evaluate Schema theory.
  • Evaluate one model of memory.
  • Contrast two models of memory.
  • Discuss one theory of thinking and decision making.

Potential exam questions: Reliability of cognitive processes

SAQs

  • Explain one study of reconstructive memory.
  • Explain one study of one cognitive bias.
  • Explain one cognitive bias, making use of one study.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  • To what extent is one cognitive process reliable?
  • Evaluate research on reconstructive memory.
  • Discuss research on cognitive biases.

Potential exam questions: Emotion and cognition

SAQs

  • Explain one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process, using one study.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  • Evaluate one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process.

Potential exam questions: Cognitive processing in the digital world (HL only)

ERQS only

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  • Evaluate research on the influence of digital technology on cognitive processing.
  • To what extent is modern technology having a positive effect on cognitive processes?
  • To what extent is modern technology having a negative effect on cognitive processes?
  • Discuss research methods used to study the interaction between digital technology and cognitive processes.
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