Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience

Three Down, One to Go!

Today’s exam – Brain and Cognition – was pretty good, althought I completely messed up one question. The exam was split into two parts, firstly a 20Q multiple choice section with one point per question – which I blazed through in about 30s and am 100% confident on every answer I gave (It was pretty easy). The only question I was at all unsure about was to do with peptides and whether they are neurotransmitters, but I have since (thanks to google) found out that I gave the correct answer to that one too. The second part of the exam was ten “short paragraph” questions for 5 points each. This was harder, I will try to remember some of the questions…

  • What is inattentional blindness?
  • Compare and contrast surface, phonological, and deep dyslexia
  • What isvisual neglect, and what tests are used to diagnose it?
  • Describe double dissociation with an example
  • What is neural plasticity?
  • Describe three common symptoms of schizophrenia
  • What is lateral asymmetry?
  • What are split brain patients? What do they tell us about consciousness?
  • Describe the three components of long term memory, and give examples
  • What is change blindness?

The question I completely messed up was the dyslexia one. I am really annoyed at myself because someone explained this to me last night, and then I (reading from my notes) explained it to someone else an hour before the exam! But when I got into the exam my mind just went completely blank on this topic 😦 If only they had asked about the three types of antidepressants (Moanamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors), the stages of problem solving (Initial state, goal state, and rules of operation), or even the lobes and their functions (frontal – executive functioning, reasoning, planning; parietal – spatial representation, touch, attention; occipital – vision; temporal – memory, hearing). I learned soooo much for this exam, and pretty much the only thing I couldn’t learn came up in the exam. I even (kind of) finally got Double Dissociation which my brain has been absolutely unable to comprehend so far!

I know I will have passed, but as I was explaining to friends: Just “a pass” isn’t good enough for me. I know it’s only my first year, I know the grades from this year don’t count towards my degree classification. But the grades you get at the end of the first year won’t be that different from the grades you get at the start of the second year. If you can get high grades now, you know you can do it in the other years of your degree. If you don’t get high grades now – be it through lack of ability or, more likely, lack of effort – then don’t expect to do well later.

I’m hoping, no aiming for a First degree. I may not get it, but that is where I am aiming. That is why I do not judge myself against other students, or compare the amount of time I spend revising with others. It is simply a matter of doing the very best I can do and putting the most effort in that I can regardless of what anyone else is doing.

Next exam is Thursday, this one is Statistics. Not my strongest point, but I probably feel better about this one than I have about the others. We’ll see how I feel after my marathon revision session tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “Three Down, One to Go!

  1. Well done! I’m delighted you feel your first exam went well. It’s a great way to start and I hope this builds your confidence.

    I’ll be keeping my fingers, arms etc crossed for your other exams too.


  2. You so can do better in your second year than your first year. Don’t write yourself off just yet.

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