Psychology can be a daunting subject for many first-time learners, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Psychology, or the study of the mind and behavior, can encompass all of the behavioral aspects of the mind and how that manifests in your daily life. Psychology courses typically start out broad and slowly narrow in on more specific behavioral issues and the treatment for them. We hope this article can serve as a bit of a guide for studying psychology for you.
Studying Psychology: What to Expect
Studying psychology is similar to learning any other field of science, but it can have some differences. In general, sciences take a lot of effort to understand the basics to fully comprehend any new research going on in the field, and psychology is no exception. At first, studying psychology can seem challenging, but if you stick with it and study a little every day, anyone can learn psychology.
One major difference between most sciences and psychology in a college setting is that psychology students are often required to participate in upper-level psychology studies as participants. You will likely be expected to sign up for a time slot and allow someone to watch you take a quiz or answer some questions. This is an excellent way for intro-level students to gain a better understanding of what psychology research can look like.
Even if you aren’t required to participate in a psychology study, offering to be a participant can be a great way to understand better what will be expected of you as an upper-level student. This can also help you connect with upper-level students who might be able to help you study or give you some tips and tricks that are specific to your school.
Why Study Psychology?
Psychology can be a challenging course for many people because of how complex of a subject it is, but it can also be gratifying. Psychology is the science of the mind and behavior, making it a multi-faceted subject with many real-life implications. Regardless of if you intend to become a psychologist post-college, studying psychology in college can be very rewarding.
Psychology, as with any science, is a continually evolving field. Research is always being conducted, meaning that what you learn in college will not be the same thing that someone learns in college in five years. This constant growth of the field is something that attracts a lot of people to psychology and other science fields.
Is Psychology Hard to Study?
Psychology, just like any field in the natural sciences, can be pretty exact and can be hard to study for many people. Just because a subject is hard to study doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to take it. Any subject can become easier to study if you develop good study habits and you have the right resources to help you through the course.
While this article isn’t a psychology study guide, it can offer you some psychology study tips that can help you get started studying psychology. If you want a taste of psychology, you could try to do some preliminary studying of psychology on your own, but we wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term way to learn psychology.
If you do want to study psychology on your own or to incorporate outside resources into your studying, there are some great resources out there to help you. There are some great YouTube channels such as Khan Academy and CrashCourse that can help you get started and can help you review for quizzes and tests.
How Do You Start Studying Psychology?
Psychology is not a subject that is offered at most high schools, but there are some classes to take in high school to help prepare you for psychology in college. The best place to start is with a good biology class. If you find that you love biology and learning about biological sciences, then psychology might be a good path for you. Other courses that are sometimes offered in high school that can be useful in studying psychology are neurobiology, biomedical science, and human anatomy and physiology.
Some high schools offer AP psychology, which is an excellent way for you to start to determine if this is something that you would like to study in college. If you are planning on taking AP Psychology or are currently taking AP Psychology, we have some articles that might be able to help you out with that course.
Once you get to college, you are typically able to start taking an intro to psychology course as early as your first semester. This is a great way to see if this is a major that you want to continue with or something that you would rather have as a minor. The best way to study psychology in college is by starting early in your college career. Many upper-level science courses have prerequisite courses that you need to take, so make sure you plan in advance.
How to Study Psychology Effectively?
There are tons of tips and tricks that we can give you to study psychology, but the biggest thing we can recommend is that you try all the tips and tricks and narrow in on the ones that work best for you, as with studying any challenging subject, learning how to study psychology can sometimes seem like a challenge on its own. With time and a little effort, it is possible to create a study schedule or develop some study habits that work for you.
Before you even start to think about how to begin studying psychology, make sure that you are both going to class, and are engaged during class. The best way to prepare for class is to read the chapter in your textbook that you will be covering before class. When we say ‘read the textbook’ we don’t mean just skim it. We mean actively read the textbook, take note of key topics, and jot down anything that is already standing out to you as confusing.
The next step is to go to class. Once you have prepared for class, make sure that you actually go to class and stay engaged. The best way to stay engaged during a lecture is to take active notes by hand. The act of writing things down by hand allows you to retain more information than you would if you were typing, so make sure you take notes by hand. Once you’re feeling good in class, you are ready to study.
The best way to study any subject is a little at a time. We recommend that you create a study schedule for yourself and block out a small amount of time each day, maybe 30 to 45 minutes, to study psychology each day. This will help prevent you from getting overwhelmed, and it will help keep you on top of your studying, so when an exam rolls around, you will be completely ready. If you would like some help creating a study schedule, we have an article that might be helpful for you.
Making a study schedule and sticking to it can help you feel prepared going into any quiz, test, or exam that might come up, but you will still need to increase your amount of studying in the week leading up to the test. We recommend that you start off studying on your own before you start studying with others. A great way to study is to rewrite your notes. Make a note of anything that still confuses you, and don’t be afraid to ask your professor or teacher.
A significantly underutilized resource in college is office hours. Take your list of things that are confusing you or that you don’t understand to your professor during their office hours and ask them about them. This does two things, not only does it clear up any confusion you might have, but it also lets your professor know that you are actively engaging with the material. Most professors will look upon this favorably and are more likely to help you out again down the line.
While office hours aren’t typically a thing in high school, most high school teachers are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. You could see if your teacher is available during lunch or after school to meet up and answer any questions you have. This is also a great way to get any questions cleared up by the person who will be both writing your test and grading your test, as opposed to some random person on the internet or another classmate.
Another great option for studying psychology is to study in a group. Finding a study group can be a great way to make studying more engaging, and you can learn from the other students in the group. Since everyone learns differently, studying with others will force you to study in a variety of ways.
Some universities have organized study groups for particular subjects, so it might be worth checking out if your school has a psychology study group. They might also offer a psychology tutor to help you out. A tutor is typically an upper-level student who did well in the course and can offer some guidance for you and can answer questions. Sometimes you can even get a study group that is led by a tutor, which is a great way to study with others and still stay focused.
Learning how to study effectively can be challenging, but just remember to take your time and don’t be too hard on yourself. Another small thing that can help make your studying seem more enjoyable is to study using a variety of the strategies that we’ve suggested. Mix up studying alone and studying with others to keep it interesting. Include a mix of quizzing yourself, drawing diagrams, and writing notes, so your brain stays engaged.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study Psychology
We hope that you find some of these tips helpful in studying psychology. The main thing to remember is that studying psychology will take time, so make sure you study a little bit every day, so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Try making yourself a study schedule that works for your study habits and your life. Sticking to a routine is a great way to make sure you are prepared for tests when they come along too.