Thursday, 30 January 2014

Revision Tip of the Day!

Start your revision EARLY! 

There's nothing worse than glancing up at your calendar and finding that there's less than 48 hours 'til a make-or-break exam, so make sure you start your revision early, ideally at least 3 months before the big day. 

Starting early means that you can take each day one-at-a-time without any rush or stress. There's a lot to cover at A-Level so it's best to iron out any wrinkles early, rather than panicking last minute. 

Spending just an hour a day going over the stuff you did in September will help to refresh your memory. I know it's more fun to be playing Flappy Bird or paroozing Tumblr but in the long run you'll thank me. 

Good Luck!

One of the less reliable revision techniques.. 

Psychology A2 - Causes of Stress - Johansson

Within Causes of Stress there are three schools of thought which are accompanied by different studies. The first of these studies, conducted by Johansson, attributes stress to work.

Johansson 1978 - Measurement of Stress Response due to Work 

Aim - To measure the psychological (mental) and physiological (biological) responses to stress in two categories of employees.

Participants - All participants worked in a Swedish Sawmill. 

Risk Level
Job Type
High Risk
Complex job which required focus and knowledge of raw materials. 
Responsible for the whole teams wages. 
Had to work at a set pace which was governed by the production line. 
Low Risk (Control)
Consisted of maintenance workers and cleaners. 

Let's pretend this guy is Swedish... 

Methodology - No independent variable was manipulated due to the quasi nature of the study, making it an independent design. 

Data Collection - Data was collected through self-report and physiological tests. 
The self-report included self-rating scales which tested mood and alertness as well as caffeine and nicotine consumption.
Physiological data was collected 4 times a day through urine samples which tested for adrenaline, which is a hormonal response to stress. Body temperature was also recorded through-out the day. 

Results - Physiological data (urine) showed that, even before work, the high risk group had twice the level of adrenaline that the low risk group had. This continued to rise throughout the day. 
The high risk group self-reported a “rushed” feeling and high levels of irritation. They also rated their wellbeing as far lower than the control group. 

Conclusion - The repetitive, machine paced work of the high risk group contributed to their stress levels. 

Good Luck! 

English Language AS - Language and Gender (Part 2: Sexism in Language)

The second section of Language and Gender is to question whether the English Language is inherently sexist? While the majority of us are constantly striving for equality, are we inadvertently using sexist terms which are so ingrained into our every-day speech that they seem natural?

Marked Expressions

One feature of the English Language which could be considered sexist is the use of marked expressions to describe female roles as deviant to unmarked male expressions. 
A marked form is one which stands out as different or deviant from the norm, for example “priestess”. An unmarked form is the norm which marked lexical items are measured against, for example “priest”. 

There are two ways of showing markedness:
Covert marking is demonstrated through antonyms (opposites). An example of covert marking is young (unmarked) and old (marked). 
Overt marking is a more obvious form, which shows markedness through the modification of marked expression using affixation (pre-fixes and suffixes). The most common example of overt marking is the addition of the suffix “-ess”, for example “actor/actr-ess” to show deviation from the male norm

It is important to remember that sometimes marking is necessary to show biological difference, for example “lion/lioness”.

Another example of overt marking is modified nouns. Some roles, for example nursing, have stereotyped gender expectation and so to show deviation from the norm, the nouns are modified to show this difference.
e.g. FEMALE doctor, career WOMAN, MALE nurse, MALE prostitute. 

Notice that not all marking is aimed at “deviant" women, and that some examples of marking is aimed at “deviant" men. 

Male Nurse and Female Doctor are examples of modified nouns.

Generic Terms 

The use of masculine pronouns (“him/his/he”) as generic pronouns when the gender is non-specific is no longer considered acceptable as they suggest a male-centric world. Most people now seek to exclude these exclusive language choices with inclusive language such as “their”. 

Another example of generic terms being exclusive are phrases such as “mankind” and “manmade” which suggest an androcentric world (focused or centred on men). 


Stereotyping involves assigning a basic set of characteristics to represent a group as a whole. These may be positive or negative.
Stereotyping can lead people to believe that certain groups must conform to certain roles and behavioural expectations. 
There are many stereotypes about males and females, for example “Mother and Baby” classes, which suggest that women are sole carers for children, excluding fathers, grandparents and other carers. 

Stereotypes have evolved since this incredibly sexist advert was published. 

Semantic Derogation and Deterioration 

Semantic derogation is when lexical items have negative connotations and meanings associated with them. 
Semantic deterioration is when lexical items gradually develop negative connotations. 

Theorist, Sara Mills suggests that many female terms are marked and indicate sexual promiscuity (mistress, madam, hostess) whereas unmarked male terms such as “bachelor”  shows freedom and independence. Although they have identical meaning, when contrasted with “bachelor”, “spinster” has more negative connotations. 

A word which has experienced semantic deterioration is the lexical item “lady”, which now is used in terms such as “dinner-lady” and “cleaning lady”. You’d never hear someone describing a male-cleaner as a “cleaning-lord”, would you?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

English Language A2 - Developing Speech (Part 1: Stages of Language Development)

The Developing Speech section of the English Language A2 course is the longest section out of Speaking, Reading and Writing and so I've split it into 7 easy sections: 
- Basic Stages of Language Development
- Phonology 
- Lexis 
- Grammar 
- Pragmatics
- Child Directed Speech 
- Language Acquisition Debates

Stages of Language Development 

Speech is the first mode of communication that children learn to develop. There is a great deal to learn, and this learning takes place in logical steps, starting from learning the smallest unit of sounds (phonemes) to developing the subtleties of speech (pragmatics). 

Language development is an approximate timescale and each child develops at a different rate. 

The Pre-Verbal Stage 

Stage Features Approx. age (months)
Vegetative  Sounds of discomfort and reflexive actions. 0-4 months
Cooing Comfort sounds and vocal play using open mouthed vowel sounds. 4-7 months
Babbling Repeated patterns of consonant and vowel sounds. 6-12 months
Proto-Words Word like vocalisations which don’t match actual words but are used consistently, e.g. “mmm” meaning “give me”, which is understood by accompanying gestures.  9-12 months

Lexical and Grammatical Stage of Development 

Stage Features Approx. age (months)
Holophrastic One word utterances 12-18
Two-word Two word combinations 18-24
Telegraphic Three and more words combined 24-36
Post-telegraphic More grammatically complex combinations 36+

During the post-telegraphic stage reading and writing started to develop separately. 

English Language A2 - Child Language Acquisition: Speaking

Yet another fantastic MindNode Lite resource, outlining the Spoken Language theories from the Child Language Acquisition aspect of the A2 English Language exam. This one is pretty detailed, so right click and open image in new tab to get a good quality, printable version of the MindMap. 

This is a really good starting point for organising detailed notes and quickly skimming the key points of a topic. 

Good Luck! 

Revision Tip of the Day!

Post-It Notes and Highlighters are your FRIENDS!

 The best way for your brain to digest large amounts information isn't to wade through a 998 page essay on the American Civil War and expect it to all go into your mind, but instead to pick out the really important parts, highlight and commit them to memory. 

A great way to do this is to "Tweet" your need-to-know facts - If you don't want to look like a dork, you don't actually have to send them, but see if you can summarise a section of information in 140 characters or less! 

Tweet your revision notes! 

English Language AS - Language and Gender (Part 1 - Gender in Fiction)

Language and Gender is a fascinating topic, with loads to write about in an exam! However, there are several parts to Language and Gender and with that in mind I've broken the topic down into 3 sections: 

- Gender in the Written Mode
- English - The Sexist Language?
- Gender Approaches

Gender in the Written Mode

First, we must distinguish what is gender and what is sex.
- Sex is the biological bits-and-bobs a person is born with, being either male or female. 
- Gender, on the other hand, is more fluid. Some males identify more with "feminine" behaviours and roles, and some females identify more with "masculine" behaviours and roles. Gender is shaped by the socialisation process, in which "male" and "female" behaviours are conditioned and shaped by society. 

Many adverts aid this socialisation process in promoting gender specific toys, however Sweden has recently gone gender-neutral in its toy adverts in order eliminate sexism and gender conditioning. 

Gender in Fiction 

The way that women and men are portrayed in fiction is often reflective of attitudes towards gender at the time of production. 

The first aspect of gender to look at in written texts is which verb process is used to demonstrate a characters actions. There are 3 verb processes which have varying levels of control and power associated with them: 

Material Processes
A material process, also known as a dynamic process, is a verb in which movement takes place. 
e.g. to run, to jump, to hit, to scream
Material processes are often used to show power in a text, showing that the actor has control over their actions. Those affected by these material processes could be seen as in a submissive or subordinate position.
Relational Processes
A relational process, also known as a stative provess, is a verb which shows a state of being. 
e.g. to be, to see, to become, to appear
Relational processes are often seen as less powerful than material, as they don’t show action or decision.
Mental Processes
A mental process is a verb which shows a perception or a thought. 
e.g. to imagine, to wish, to think, to question
Again, mental processes are seen as less powerful as they suggest that a character does not have the power to carry out their thoughts. 

Key Words: 
Actor/Subject - The individual responsible for the action of a verb process (e.g. HE hit her, with HE being the actor)
Affected/Object - The person affected by the action of a material verb process (e.g. he hit HER, with HER being the affected)

Another way of showing masculine power in literature is the use of prepositions which suggest dominance, for example "he locked his hands AROUND her wrists" shows not only the male actor completing a material process on the affected but also suggests full control through the act of encircling her wrists, shown by the preposition "around". The material verb process "locked" connotes handcuffs, which suggests ownership and control.
A second example of this is the preposition "over", for example "he towered OVER her", suggesting his position of physical and psychological power. 

Make sure you thoroughly annotate and analyse any fictional text you are given for processes and prepositions. The best piece of advice I've been given is to "write a lot about a little", making sure you analyse each word and phrase carefully! 

Good Luck!

English Language AS - Language and Gender MindMap

Yet another MindMap made on MindNode Lite, my saviour! 

This time is encompasses all of the important theorists and theories within the AS Language and Gender topic. These, of course, must be understood in greater detail, however I've found this mind-map a really useful revision tool just to get a grip on the basics! 

(Right Click and Open Image In New Tab to get a good quality, printable-size version)

Psychology G543 - Stress Overview

The Health and Clinical Psychology section of the G544 paper covers 4 topic areas
- Heathy Living 
- Stress
- Dysfunctional Behaviour 
- Disorders 

My school do not look at Healthy Living, focusing only on the latter 3 which will be covered in detail in further blog posts.

First, let's have a look at the topic of STRESS.


What is stress?
Stress is defined as a psychological and physiological response to stressors. 

What are some physiological symptoms of stress?
We respond physically to stress by producing adrenaline which prepares our bodies for fight or flight. This includes: 
- Increased heart rate and respiration - This is so that more blood can be carried to the brain, helping us to think more clearly and react more quickly. 
- Perspiration (sweating)
- Closing down non-essential bodily functions
- Dialating pupils - In order to make vision clearer

At a time like this, I've not doubt that you've been feeling the stress, however one of the most important psychological questions (and the first part of the stress topic) is what causes stress? 

The three studies OCR has cited for causes of stress are: 
Johansson - This study looks at the repetition and responsibility of work as a cause stress. 
- Kanner - Kanner compares two methods of stress scale, Hassles & Uplifts and Life Events, to see which causes more stress. 
- Geer and Maisel - This study looks at lack of control as a cause of stress. 

Another question asked by psychologists is what is the best way of measuring stress? As stress is a feeling and so it is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to accurately measure how stressed a person is feeling. 

The three studies OCR has cited for measuring stress are: 
- Physiological Measure - Geer and Maisel - The use of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) to measure conductivity of sweat caused by stress.
- Self Report Measures - Holmes and Rahe - The use of rating scales such as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale to measure how life events cause stress. 
- Combined Measures - Johansson - The use of both urine samples to test for adrenaline levels, and self-report measures such as caffeine and nicotine consumption and emotional wellbeing. 

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, psychologists want to know how people can reduce the stress they feel. This not only enhances wellbeing but also saves society the cost of health care and lost productivity! 

The three studies OCR has cited for managing stress are: 
- Cognitive - Meichenbaum - This approach seeks to correct faulty thinking patterns through the use of Stress Innoculation Therapy. 
- Behavioural - Budzynski - This approach uses biofeedback, a system which gives visible or audible feedback on the state of our body, in order to try and cure tension headaches. 
- Social - Waxler Morrison - This study investigates whether social networks, which reduce stress, improve the survival rate of breast-cancer sufferers. 

Good Luck!

Psychology G543 - Overview of Heath and Forensic Studies

MindMaps are fabulous because they help you break down what looks like a lot of indigestible information into simple sections which are easier to remember! 

The G543 paper has roughly 50 studies to remember, which can seem overwhelming, but fret not! When broken down into simple sections and sub-sections, patterns emerge that make revision much easier! 

Both of these MindMaps were made on a free programme called MindNode Lite which can be downloaded from the App Store - I've found it a complete life saver when it comes to revision! 

(Right Click and Open Image In New Tab gives a good quality printable-size version)

G543 Forensic Psychology MindMap 

G543 Health and Clinical Psychology MindMap 

Good Luck!

Wuthering Heights Family Tree

Anyone who has read Wuthering Heights will be well aware of the initial complexity of ever-intertwining family tree and although there are only a few main characters, Brontë's fondness for repeating names can lead to some confusion. Thankfully, a simple Wuthering Heights Family Tree can untangle the Linton/Earnshaw/Heathcliff mess in no time! 

(This picture is taken from the York Notes Wuthering Heights AS&A2 Revision book and does not belong to me.)

As you can see, the first generation consists of Mr & Mrs Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights and Mr & Mrs Linton of Thrushcross Grange. 
The second generation consists of Mr & Mrs Earnshaw's biological children Catherine and Hindley, along with Heathcliff, who was adopted by Mr. Earnshaw on a trip to Liverpool. The second generation also consists of Edgar and Isabelle, the biological children of Mr & Mrs Linton. 

Got it so far? This is where it starts to get confusing! 

Hindley Earnshaw returns from school with a wife, now named Francis Earnshaw.
Despite her love for Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw marries Edgar Linton, making her Mrs. Catherine Linton. 
After Catherine's marriage, Heathcliff and Isabelle Linton elope. This makes her Mrs. Isabelle Heathcliff. 

Still with me? Now for the children! 

Francis and Hindley Earnshaw have a child called Hareton, who after both of their deaths is "looked after" by Heathcliff. 
Edgar Linton and Catherine Linton (formerly Earnshaw) have a child who (unhelpfully) is also named Catherine Linton. 
Isabelle Heathcliff runs away from Heathcliff while pregnant, and gives birth to a son who (also unhelpfully) is named Linton Heathcliff.

Now some of the children get together! We're nearly there! 

In a ploy to inherit Edgar Linton's money, Heathcliff forces his son, Linton Heathcliff, to marry the young Catherine Linton. This very briefly makes her Catherine Heathcliff. 
After Linton Heathcliff's death, Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw (son of Frances and Hindley Earnshaw) unite. 

That's all folks! Read through this a couple of times and you'll get to know the Wuthering Heights Family Tree better than your own! 

Good Luck! 

Welcome to The Revision Ward!

Being a student is HARD! With deadlines and exams looming sometimes things can get a bit overwhelming but that's where The Revision Ward is here to help! Along with some helpful tips on revision techniques, relieving stress and managing your time effectively, I'll be posting helpful revision tools and notes on the AS and A2 subjects that I'm studying in order to make your revision as painless as possible! 

On this blog you can expect to see the following topics covered, as a way of helping us both to review the work we've already done: 
- A2 OCR Psychology: G543 and G544 
- AS AQA English Language
- A2 AQA English Language 
- A2 AQA English Literature: Wuthering Heights, The Bloody Chamber and Macbeth

Good Luck!