My thoughts on preparing for second year – the survey


Last week we put out a survey to find out more about how fellow students prepared for second year studies, which got me thinking about my own preparation.

Studying psychology often feels like being in an avalanche of recommended reading. For every class (whether that’s a lecture, workshop, etc.), we have one or two corresponding bits of reading.

Often this is a chapter of a book that you can only access in its physical form. For example, in our developmental psychology module, the essential reading is frequently a chapter from the textbook How Children Develop. This was one of the essential textbooks in first year psychology, so fortunately I didn’t have to buy another book. Incidentally, I bought it second-hand (and half-price) as part of a bundle of the first-year psychology textbooks from a student who had switched to another course.

In our cognitive psychology module, however, this year’s suggested textbook is different from last year’s. I haven’t bought it yet, because almost all of the readings are online resources – links to either a chapter of a book or an article – which I have prioritised because the exam is largely based on them rather than on the textbook. Moreover, the textbook is accessible at the university library.

However, I am thinking about buying the suggested textbook (because during Christmas revision period I won’t be accessing the library) from the used section on Amazon, where I’ve bought countless books before, and where there are people selling used copies of the textbook for as little as £0.01 (and just £2.80 for postage). To buy it new, it’s £45.99, which is hard not to be put off by. The previous editions are cheaper; however, the chapters may be organised differently. Furthermore, in essays we’ll often get marks for referencing recently-conducted research, and sometimes research and perspectives can be outdated. Therefore, I would lean towards getting the most recent edition.

So far, I’ve found the online resource readings have sufficed, however for the revision period for the mid-year exams, I think it would help to have a textbook with an exhaustive view of the module, especially for critically evaluating topics which is an important part of the unseen essay questions we’ll get in the exam.

Tell us how you prepared for second year by taking our online survey, and you could win a £20 Amazon voucher and £50 worth of SAGE books! 

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