Online Psychology Degree: Practical Study Tips

by SusanM

Practical tips for success in your online psychology degree.

An online psychology degree is hard work but very rewarding.

I finished my degree a few years ago and have moved on to postgraduate studies but found the online format for studying psychology to be great - as long as you are prepared for what it will require.

Understanding Online Study

As a mature aged student I had experience both with traditional and online university study before staring my online psychology degree. This gave me very useful knowledge about how to approach the online method and get great grades. So if you have not studied as an online student before it would be helpful to make sure you understand something about studying online before you start. There are a number of good books which can provide excellent study ideas and tips which can make things easier. 

Also make sure you know how to access and use resources like the online library databases and online student software. Orientation week is a good time to check out the online resources before you start.

These two study tips will help speed things up for you during your study semester and make sure gaps in your knowledge about this way of studying won't impact your grades unnecessarily.

Preparing for Online Study

Online Learning: A User-Friendly Approach for High School and College Students

Comprehensive approach to online study, includes advice for writing assignments and other papers as well as avoiding common mistakes as an online student.

R&L Education

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As an online student you do not always have the luxury of listening to lectures (although some online psychology degrees provide lectures as well as written material). This means that you may need to spend some extra time to make sure you know the key psychological terms used in your degree topics - both their meanings and correct pronunciations. If you do not have a good knowledge of psychological key terms you will be less likely to understand exam and assignment questions fully or be able to provide the professional information that is required.

The Essential Psychology Dictionary

The APA Dictionary of Psychology

At several hundred pages longer than other recent dictionaries of psychology, this volume casts a wide net over diverse subject areas within psychology's domain.

Amer Psychological Assn

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Stay Ahead in Your Psychology Reading

Online psychology degree students are usually provided with a total course outline well before the start of the university semester. (If not you can usually ask the lecturer in change of each topic for a reading list.) It's essential to start your reading before the semester starts and to stay ahead if you want the best grades possible. This avoids any issues with the unexpected during the semester and allows you to focus on exam study rather than reading during those important weeks before the exams.

What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?

Career Paths in Psychology: Where Your Degree Can Take You

Career Paths in Psychology is a must-have resource for students contemplating a career in psychology, for psychologists considering switching between areas of psychology, and ...

Amer Psychological Assn

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Online psychology degree assignments (if part of an accredited course) are no easier than the assignments for traditional courses. In fact as many degrees have both an on-campus and off-campus (online) option they are often exactly the same assignments for both groups of students. Psychology is a highly competitive area of study making it essential that you fully understand exactly what the assignment is asking you to do (students not reading the question properly is a common cause of underachievement). Underlining all the keywords in the assignment question is usually very useful and if in doubt ask your tutor or lecturer for more information. To give yourself time to do this it's also important not to leave things to the last moment.

Writing Psychology Papers

Writing Papers in Psychology

Full of hints and tips about writing pyschology papers that other books don't include.

Wadsworth Publishing

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The better the grade the earlier you normally need to start preparing for the exam. As mentioned earlier psychology is competitive and in accredited online psychology degree courses online-students compete directly with on-campus students for ranking.

Psychology exams test more than memorization of facts. For top marks you also usually need to be able to think in concepts and use the information in a practical way. This sort of understanding takes more time than simple memorization. So when you start the semester keep the exam in mind. Highlight important elements in the textbooks or make notes during your initial reading to save time and make exam study more efficient.

Updated: 09/03/2012, SusanM
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SusanM on 01/21/2013

I did my full degree as an external or off campus student. It's the same as the on campus degrees but with the online hookup. So much easier than trying to fit in classes at certain times. I'm actually doing postgraduate study in the same way. The internet really opens things up.

Psychology is an interesting and useful topic but gosh it would be hard to learn only by lectures.

Mira on 01/21/2013

I found some online courses through It was fun while it lasted. I managed to squeeze in some psychology classes, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But you're right, it's difficult without textbooks. You want more about certain concepts and their history, and you don't get that in the lecture. An online degree sounds like a great thing. There's a lot we can do online nowadays.

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