How I Make Psychology Summaries

If you’re doing A Level psychology (or any psychology subject really), you’ll know there’s a lot of content to remember so having pages and pages of notes is not the best way to revise. Here’s how I split the studies up into simple sections which can (usually) be condensed into about 2 sides of A4.

For those of you that don’t know, my summaries look like this:

The first step in putting together a summary is breaking the study up into sections. I like to break it up into:

  • Background
  • Aim
  • Sample
  • Design/Method
  • Procedure
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • Evaluation (optional though)

You can separate these out by highlighting your class notes or you textbook (if possible), or even just putting in sticky tabs to show where they are.

You then need to figure out the key points for each section. This should be keywords and bullet points; the only time that I really use long and unabbreviated sentences is when I’m quoting something from the original study. For example, you don’t need to list every single word a participant was given, but write down one or two so that you have some to refer to in an exam. Similarly, don’t write out long words over and over again. Making up codes makes writing notes quicker and it also means you have to put more work into understanding it when you read them over later so you’re more likely to remember it. Some of my abbreviations are:

  • Btw = between
  • Pps = participants
  • Indp = independent
  • ∴ = therefore
  • ∵ / bc = because


The key to making a summary is focusing on what you NEED rather than condensing everything. Some courses will provide you with a very specific specification of what you need, whereas with others you may need to ask your teacher or look at the general patterns in exam questions. If your course provides you with a book for the studies then use that as a guide of what you’re expected to know, but you should still make sure you only pick out the important parts of that. You need to make it easy to revise as well; keeping the information in sections means you can use the summary for further notes or revision without having to spend hours searching a textbook for the exact piece of information that you want.

I hope this helped you or at least gave you some inspiration for your own summaries! I’m hopefully going to put together a template and that will be up on my printables page at some point soon!


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